Aliaune Badara Akon Thiam,
better known by his middle and stage name Akon (
), is a Senegalese-American R&B
singer-songwriter, record producer, businessman, and
He rose to prominence in 2004 following the
release of "Locked Up
”, the first single
from his debut album Trouble
. His second album,
, earned him a Grammy Award
nomination of the single "Smack That
". He has since founded two record
labels, Konvict Muzik
and Kon Live Distribution
.He is known as
one of the most successful and versatile R&B singers of the
21st century, grossing over 30 million dollars a year according to
.Akon often sings hooks
for other artists and is currently
accredited with over 200 guest appearances and 36 Billboard Hot 100
songs. He is
the first solo artist to hold both the number one and two spots
simultaneously on the Billboard
Hot 100 charts twice. He
has had 6 Grammy Awards
and has produced many hits for artist such as Lady Gaga
, Leona Lewis
. He has had 19 top 20 hits world
Akon has claimed in interviews that his full name is Aliaune Damala
Bouga Time Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam although there is
some ambiguity and debate about Akon's legal name and birth date.
Akon is usually credited as Aliaune Thiam. In addition to the
longer form, Akon's full name has been reported both as Aliaune
Badara Thiam and Alioune Badara Thiam and About.com claims that
this middle name has never been independently verified.Nero, Mark
Edward. Akon Profile
. In regards to his
birth date, some media institutions have reported that Akon was
born in 1981. Other sources, including the AP
, have indicated that Akon was born in
1973 and was delivered by Senegalese doctor Magueye Seck.
Legal documents released by The Smoking
list Akon's name as Aliaune Damala Thiam and his date of
birth as 1973-04-30 or 1973-04-16, however the BBC
states he was born on 14 October 1981.
As the son of Senegalese percussionist Mor
, Akon was raised in a musical setting and taught to play
several instruments including the djembe
born in St.
Louis, Missouri, U.S., so that he would not have to go
through the immigration process, but he lived in Dakar, Senegal until the age of 7, split time between America and
Senegal until he was 15, then he moved permanently to Jersey
City, New Jersey.Bottomley, C. " Akon: Trouble No More", VH1.com,
During Akon's alleged time in jail for three years, he began to
understand his music abilities and developed an appreciation for
his musical background. Akon's unique blend of West-African-style,
skills and moves eventually caught the ears of executives at
Universal. Akon began writing and recording tracks in his home
studio. The tapes found their way to SRC
, which released
Akon's debut LP Trouble
in June 2004. The album is
a hybrid of Akon's silky, West African-styled vocals mixed with
East Coast and Southern beats. Most of Akon's songs begin with the
sound of the clank of a jail cell's door with him uttering the word
Personal life and allegations
Akon is a Muslim
, as he explains he has never
drunk alcohol due to his faith. He has also been rumored to have
three wives, however he has since revealed that he only has one,
named Tomeka. Akon claims he has six children with three different
women in an interview with Blender
. Akon claims to have great
relationships with all his children, and that he wishes to keep his
family protected from the public eye. He also states that his
religion made him a better person, and provides guidance to how he
acts among others in life.
He also has his own charity for underprivileged children in Africa
called Konfidence Foundation. Akon owns a diamond mine in South
Africa and denies the existence of blood
(also known as "conflict diamonds") saying, "I don't
even believe in conflict diamonds. That's just a movie. Think about
it. Ain't nobody thought about nothing about no conflict diamonds
until the movie came out." However, he has since stated that he
does accept that blood diamonds exist, and that he is partial-owner
of an African mine that is dedicated to avoiding use of blood
diamonds while also donating profits to local communities. He
allegedly had a previous occupation as a drug dealer but has stated
in interviews that he's never used drugs, though some of his lyrics
would suggest otherwise.
"The Smoking Gun
" reported in April
2008 that much of Akon's purported criminal and incarceration
history has been dramatically embellished. In particular, Akon's
claims to be part of an auto-theft ring and his claim to have spent
three years in prison were challenged with court records and
interviews with detectives involved in Akon's case.
According to "The Smoking Gun's" article, Akon was not convicted of
any crime and did not serve any time in prison from 1999 to 2002 as
previously claimed. He stated that "The Smoking Gun's" attempt to
“discredit” him “makes no sense as it is something he is trying to
forget.” Akon retorted that he never spent 3 years in prison
consecutively, but many shorter sentences that add up to three
years, and cites that as the mis-understanding by The Smoking Gun's
article Despite his alleged criminal history, Akon proclaims that
he has turned his life around.
2004–05: Debut: Trouble
Akon's solo debut album, Trouble
was released on June 29,
2004. It spawned the singles "Locked Up
", "Belly Dancer
", "Pot Of Gold
", and "Ghetto
." The album was the first release
of his new record label Konvict Music
inspiration for his debut single allegedly came from his three-year
stint in prison for ‘grand theft auto’. "Locked Up" reached the top
10 in the U.S. and the top five in the UK. "Ghetto" became a radio
hit when it was remixed
by DJ Green Lantern
to include verses from
and The Notorious B.I.G
In 2005, he released the single "Lonely" (which samples Bobby Vinton
"). The song reached the top five on the Billboard Hot 100
, and topped the
charts in Australia, the UK and Germany. His album also climbed to
number one in the UK in April, 2005. When music channel The Box
had a top ten weekly chart,
which was calculated by the amount of video requests, Akon's
"Lonely" became the longest running single on the top of the chart,
spanning over fifteen weeks. Akon then released another single
featuring with a New Zealand rapper, Savage
with the single Moonshine
, which had become a
success in both New Zealand and Australia, becoming number one in
the New Zealand charts. In 2005, He made his first critically
acclaimed guest appearance on Young
's debut album, Let's Get It: Thug Motivation
, with the song "Soul
." In December the same year his manager, Robert
Montanez was killed in a shooting after a dispute in New Jersey.
Akon performing with Gwen Stefani on
The Sweet Escape Tour.
Akon's second album, Konvicted
was released on November 14, 2006. It included collaborations with
, Snoop Dogg
and Styles P
. The first single "Smack That
" featuring Eminem was released in
August 2006 and peaked at number two on the Billboard
100 for five consecutive weeks. "I
Wanna Love You
," (featuring Snoop
) was the second single released in September, it would go
on to earn Akon his first number-one single on the
Hot 100, and Snoop's second. "I Wanna Love You"
topped the U.S. charts for two consecutive weeks. In January 2007,
a third single "Don't Matter
earned him his first solo number one and second consecutive Hot 100
chart topper was released. "Mama
" was released as a European single in July 2007, making
it the fourth overall single from the album reaching just 47 in the
To coincide with the release of the Platinum (deluxe) edition of
the album "Sorry, Blame It on
" was the album's fifth single, debuted in August 2007 on the
Hot 100 at number seven.
The deluxe version was fully released on August 28, 2007.
The final single was confirmed by Akon to be "Never Took the Time
debuted at number two on the Billboard 200
, selling 286,000 copies
in its first week.
After only six weeks, Konvicted
sold more than one million
records in the U.S. and more than 1.3 million worldwide.
The album was certified platinum after seven weeks, and after
sixteen weeks it was certified double platinum.
It stayed in the top twenty of the Billboard
200 for 28
consecutive weeks and peaked at number two on four different
On November 20, 2007, the RIAA certified the album ‘triple
platinum’ with 3 million units sold in the US.
It has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide.
On October 5, 2006, Akon broke a record on the Hot 100, as he
achieved the largest climb in the chart's 48-year-history with
"Smack That" jumping from number 95 to 7. The leap was fueled by
its number six debut on Hot Digital
with 67,000 downloads. The record has since been broken
several times. In December 2006, Akon's "Smack That" was nominated
at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards
lost to Justin Timberlake
's "My Love
Projects with other artists
- In 2006, Akon started his new record label Kon Live Distribution under Interscope Records. His first signed
artist was Ray Lavender.
- He was featured on Gwen Stefani's
latest album, The Sweet
Escape. He made an appearance on the title track and
second single, "The Sweet
Escape." Akon produced the song. On December 10, 2006, Akon and
Stefani appeared as musical guests on Saturday Night Live, however
they did not perform the song as Stefani had not yet learned the
lyrics. He performed the song live, however, on American Idol on March 28, 2007 due to
Gwen Stefani's appearance as a coach
the night before. "The Sweet Escape" has reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
- Akon collaborated with Chamillionaire on his mixtape, Mixtape
Messiah 2, featuring on the track “Ridin' Overseas” which he
also produced. The mixtape was available for download on
Chamillionaire's website from December 24, 2006.
- In 2006, after their 2005 Akon-produced single, "Soul Survivor," the duo said that there
is a lot more to expect from them in the future. The pair announced
there are currently plans for a collaborative album.
- Akon also appeared on Bone
Thugs-n-Harmony's album Strength and Loyalty and Three 6 Mafia's eighth studio album,
Last 2 Walk, We The Best by DJ
Khaled, Fabolous's album, From Nothin' to Somethin',
with 50 Cent on some tracks for Curtis, T.I.'s 5th album,
T.I. vs. T.I.P., Mario's third solo album Go!, and produced with Daddy Yankee" in the song called "Bring It On"
on the album called El
Cartel: The Big Boss which was released on June 5,
- On July 7, 2007 Akon performed at the American leg of Live Earth.
- In November 2007, Akon recorded a remix of "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'"
with Michael Jackson. In February
2008, the remix was released on the 25th
anniversary rerelease of Michael Jackson's Thriller. Akon produced the track
entitled "Echo" on Latin Boy band Menudo's
latest album, released in the spring of 2008.
- ‘Konvict Music’ would be responsible for the re-release of
Kat Deluna’s debut album 9 Lives which would feature Akon on the
single "Am I Dreaming."
- He was also in a song with Aventura ft.
Akon and Wisin Y Yandel called "All
up 2 you".
- In July 2008 a song called "Hold My Hand" circulated the
internet. The song is an R&B duet/collaboration between Michael
Jackson and Akon, composed by Claude
Kelly. There also exists another version featuring only Akon.
There is also no official mention of the recording on either
artists' websites although Akon has spoken about the track on
various other websites. It was not included in the track list for
Freedom as Akon previously stated. During an interview
with Tavis Smiley, Akon said that
Jackson had planned on a high-profile release including a music
video until the track had leaked. This is Jackson's last known song
before he died on June 25, 2009. In late July of that year a
Tribute song by Akon known as "Cry Out Of Joy" was leaked onto the
- Akon was also the executive producer of Kardinal Offishall's
fourth solo album Not 4 Sale,
released September 9, 2008. The promo single "Graveyard Shift"
features Akon as does the first single "Dangerous", which peaked
at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100, and won the award for
Single of the Year
at the 2009 Juno Awards.
- Akon co-wrote and recorded "Put It on My Tab" with New Kids on the Block for their 2008
reunion album The
- Akon co-wrote and produced Leona
Lewis' hit record Forgive Me, off her debut
- He is currently working with X
Factor 2008 winner Alexandra
Burke on her upcoming debut album.
- Akon co-produced Konvict Muzik
artist Lady Gaga's first studio album
The Fame and co-wrote
& produced the worldwide smash-hit "Just
Dance", which also featured Colby
O'Donis and earned a Grammy nomination at the 51st Grammy Awards. This was earned the
both young Konvict Muzik artists their
first Grammy Nominations and has reached #1
in more than 14 countries, including Australia, UK & the
- Flo Rida’s new album R.O.O.T.S. features Akon on the track
- Akon has recorded a song with E-40 titled
"Wake It Up" for E-40's album,
The Ball Street
Journal. Akon experiments with the auto-tune effect in the song.
- Rap singer Nelly confirmed that Akon, Pharrell, and T-Pain
have talked about forming a rap supergroup in 2009.
- Akon and Konvict Muzik are also
producing hip hop/rock group Flipsyde's
2009 release, State of Survival, which will be released
via Kon Live Distribution and
- Akon worked with Whitney Houston
for her 2009 comeback album I Look to
You. He appears on the track "Like I Never Left".
- Akon worked with bachata group Aventura
and Reggaeton duo Wisin y Yandel on All
Up 2 You the second single from Aventura's album The Last dropped in June.
- Akon recently signed Jayko, a Hispanic
R&B and Reggaeton artist, to his label
and is working with him on his debut album titled "Marcando Territorio"
- Sexy Bitch was released in July 2009,
a collaboration with French DJ David
- In August 2009, Akon released another version of Beautiful
featuring BoA, a popular and legendary Korean
singer. However, this version was for the Japanese market.
- Akon also sang in a song with Colby
O'Donis called "What You Got".
2007, Akon drew criticism for having a racy dance with Danah
(Deena) Alleyne, a preacher's daughter aged 15 at the time, at a
club in Trinidad and
Tobago, as part of a fake contest, despite the club's
claim to have a 21 years and over age limit.
was filmed by Akon's crew and later uploaded to the Internet. On
April 20, 2007 local media, channel TV6
aired the video clip publicly. Amid criticism on the radio,
television, and from the blogosphere
featuring Akon's songs. Verizon also decided not to sponsor
The Sweet Escape Tour
Akon was to be the opening act for Gwen
. However, Universal
did not take action against Akon, but rather simply
ordered the video clip be removed from video-sharing site YouTube
due to copyright infringement
commentator and Parents
called this "corporate irresponsibility."
Political commentators Michelle
, Laura Ingraham
Akon for "degrading women." Malkin uploaded commentary about Akon
, using footage from music videos
and the Trinidad concert, and Universal Music Group
then forced its
removal by issuing a DMCA
joined Malkin in contesting the removal as a misuse
of copyright law, citing fair use
. In May
2007, UMG rescinded its claim to the video, and the video returned
On June 3,
2007, at WSPK's
KFEST concert at the Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill, New York, a concert attendee threw an object towards Akon on
Akon asked the crowd to identify who threw the object
and that he be brought on stage. Security staff grabbed the young
man and took him up to the stage. Akon then pulled him up from the
crowd and hoisted him across his shoulders. The singer then tossed
the attendee back into the crowd from his shoulders. Video of the
incident was reviewed by Fishkill police. Akon has claimed that the
incident was staged and that he in fact used the act to set up for
the next record. Charges of endangering the welfare of a minor, a
misdemeanor, and second-degree harassment, a violation, were filed,
according to police Chief Donald F. Williams, and Akon was
arraigned the two charges on December 3, 2007 in the town of
Akon released his new album Freedom
on December 2, which
spawned four singles: "Right
", "I'm So Paid
(featuring Kardinal Offishall
) and "We Don't Care
", We Don't Care has
failed to chart significantly in many countries, only reaching 61
in the UK and 91 in Australia so far. The album has reached gold
status by selling over 600,000 units. . After the unexpected death
of The King Of Pop Michael Jackson
who Akon was working with in Jackson's last years. Akon released a
tribute song called "Cry Out Of Joy". Akon & Michael Jackson
were close friends near the end of Jackon's life.
Speaking of his relationship with Michael Jackson to noted UK
R&B writer Pete Lewis of the award-winning 'Blues & Soul'
in October 2008,Akon stated: "Mike is the King Of Pop, and I think
that it's a dream come true for ANY major
artist/songwriter/producer to be able to work with the best in the
business! You know, to work with someone like Mike – who's created
opportunities, opened doors for so many people, and achieved so
much in the music world, period – is just an experience which would
be enough to take home for ANYONE! I mean, when I first flew up to
Vegas and met him it was almost like we'd known each other for
YEARS! LITERALLY! 'Cause musically we were on the same exact page!
The chemistry was just INCREDIBLE! And, as a person, he was the
most cool, humble dude I've ever met! I mean, we even actually got
to go to the movies together – in broad daylight! Which was an
experience in itself!"
collaborated with Akon in
, a first house
track by Akon, and has been a "summer anthem"
across the globe. Reaching #1 in more than 5 countries, and
charting at 12 on the Billboard Hot 100
, it is
featured on Guetta's One Love
has made it his 19th Top 20 hit worldwide.
Akon's fourth studio album, Stadium Music
is set for a 2010
Television and film
Akon has confirmed that a reality television show is in the works.
It will be called "My Brother's Keeper" and the point is that
Akon's two nearly identical brothers will go around in Atlanta
posing as him fooling people into thinking that it is in fact Akon.
They will try to get VIP treatment, girls and free things. Akon has
claimed that people have mistaken his brothers for him many times
in Atlanta which is what the show is based on.
Akon is planning to work on a full-length movie
titled Illegal Alien
. The film is based
on some of the events of his life and actor Mekhi Phifer
is set to play him.Besides Akon
confirmed in August 2007, in the interview with Polish website
INTERIA.PL, that he works on a movie "Cocaine Cowboys," which tells
the story of Jon Roberts, the main pilot of Medellin Cartel
(Colombian drug traffickers).He was also featured on a Verizon Wireless
commercial and singing
along with Obie
on a CSI: Crime
episode named "Poppin' Tags."
On November 30, 2007, Akon entered the Big Brother house in
Brother Celebrity Edition 2
as a guest so the housemates
can meet him for only 100 seconds.
He also appeared on November 17, 2008 edition of WWE Raw
, with Santino
citing him in his speech. Because of Santino's Italian
Stereotyping, he mispronounced Akon's name to "Akorn".
On April 27, 2008, Akon appeared with Colby O'Donis
in Dance on Sunset
In February 2007, Akon launched his clothing line, Konvict
. It features urban streetwear including denim jeans,
hoodies, t-shirts and hats. Aliaune
is the upscale
version, or high-end line, for males and females, which includes
blazers, denim jeans and other items. Timothy Hodge appeared on
MTV's Direct Effect alongside Akon while promotioning the Konvict
Awards and nominations
Akon received four Grammy Award
nominations in 2008, including Best Pop Collaboration with
for "The Sweet Escape
with Gwen Stefani
, Best R&B
Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group
" with T-Pain
, Best Contemporary R&B
with "I Wanna Love
" with Snoop Dogg
. The only award
that Akon has received is Favorite Soul/R&B Male
from the American Music
in 2007. Overall, Akon has received one award from
American Music Awards
The American Music Awards
annual awards ceremony created by Dick
in 1973. Akon has received one award from three
Soul/R&B Male Artist
|Artist of the Year
|Favorite Pop/Rock Male
The Grammy Awards are awarded annually
by the National Academy
of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States. Akon has
received five nominations.
||"Smack That" (with Eminem)
||"The Sweet Escape" (with
Collaboration with Vocals
Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group
|"I Wanna Love You" (with
||Best Rap/Sung Collaboration
MTV Video Music Awards
The MTV Video Music Awards is
an annual awards ceremony established in 1984 by MTV. Akon has received four nominations.
||Male Artist of the
|"Smack That" (with Eminem)
|"The Sweet Escape" (with Gwen Stefani)
||Most Earthshattering Collaboration
- Ingolo.com: Pronunciation of Akon.
- Bronson, Fred. " Chart Beat", Billboard Magazine,
- Akon at The Ellen Degeneres Show and in other interviews
(January 7 2009).
- Rollingstones: Akon’s name “Rolling Stone
- ASCAP: Credited as Aliaune Thiam accessed April
- " Akon se rattrape à Iba Mar Diop", SenePortal,
- Akon profile About.com. Retrieved on 2009-03-23.
- Who Does Akon Think He Is? Blender,
September 19, 2007.
- Fraser McAlpine (7 February 2007) Ask Akon, And Answers Arrive! BBC
Radio 1 (BBC). Retrieved on 2009-04-23.
- Egere-Cooper, Matilda. Akon: So what if I own a diamond
- Akon's Con Job, The Smoking Gun,
- Tang, Melisa. Akon: The Good With The Bad, BallerStatus.com,
- Reid, Shaheem. Saga Of Young Jeezy, Akon Continues With Possible
Duet LP, MTV News, 2006-06-15.
- Petipas, Jolene. Young
Jeezy Teams With Akon For Collabo CD, SOHH,
- " My List: Akon". Rolling Stone,
- Cohen, Jonathan. " T.I. Stretches Out With Eminem, Timbaland,
Wyclef", Billboard, 2007-04-14.
- Rodriguez, Jayson. " Mario Gets Back To Making Music With Akon,
Timbaland, Neptunes", MTV.com, 2007-04-13.
- Cohen, Jonathan. " Daddy Yankee Drafts Fergie, Akon For New
Album", Billboard, 2007-04-03.
- MTV: Whitney & AKon Collab
- Telesford, Nigel. Akon 'cons' Trinidad, Trinidad
- Ramnarine, Kristy. Zen owner: for club, Trinidad Express,
- Leeds, Jeff. Verizon Drops Pop Singer From Ads, New York
- Bozell, L. Brent III. Rapper Not a "Perfect Gentleman",
- Malkin, Michelle. Look who’s promoting a vulgar misogynist,
- Pulse Report, SOHH.com,
- Malkin, Michelle. "Akon's record company abuses DMCA to stifle criticism on
YouTube", MichelleMalkin.com, 2007-05-03.
- "Malkin Fights Back Against Copyright Law Misuse by
Universal Music Group", Electronic Frontier
- Police: Akon investigation continues,
Poughkeepsie Journal, 2007-08-29.
- Akon Faces Charges, Poughkeepsie
- Akon interview by Pete Lewis, 'Blues & Soul'
- Akon Preps New Album. Vibe.
- Sawjani, Archna. Akon: Real Talk, AllHipHop.com,
- " Akon intensywnie", INTERIA.PL,
- Winning, Brolin. " Akon – Got It Locked", MP3.com,
- Akon comes to region. All Africa