His world is a megalopolis named Lagos, bustling economic capital of Nigeria. More than 20 million inhabitants live there in gigantic shantytowns or sleep in manors and apartments with rents even more expensive than in Paris. All know Wizkid, the stage name of Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun.
Star of the Nigerian Afro-pop
At the age of 26, he became the most successful artist in the new African music scene. No more a single DJ on the continent that can deprive itself of the tubes of the star of the Afro-pop Nigerian. His suave and crystalline voice, his refined rhythmic mixing afro-beat, hip-hop, dancehall and electro make the crowds dance. His style of African dandy hipster, as elegant in slim jeans as in a costume of a great couturier or a traditional boubou, makes the ladies crack and is worthy of the reviews of fashion magazines, whose online version of the American edition of Vogue .
On Instagram, where he has more than 3 million subscribers, he performs in studio in London or Los Angeles in hype outfits or with French fashion designer Christian Louboutin. Wizkid, a child prodigy of Lagos, has risen with grace to the rank of icon of an urban African youth and uninhibited compared to a West that no longer dreams.
Faced with this assumed and sophisticated africanity, Europe or the United States are no more than luxury supermarkets, for the wealthiest, and markets to conquer, for the more ambitious. And Wizkid demonstrates it brilliantly. With two albums and clips always careful, it has bewitched Africa in less than five years, crowned in October 2016 “artist of the year” and “best musician” at the MTV Africa Music Awards.
$ 1 million contract
But Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun sees further. ” We look forward to helping him conquer the world, ” said Adam Granite, president of the Europe and Africa division of Sony Music International. On March 1, the record company officially signed Wizkid, considered a ” priority for 2017 “. The amount of the contract remains confidential, but would exceed $ 1 million. ” The biggest deal ever signed by an African “, prides itself in the entourage of the artist.
Like to pay tribute to this Africa that made it famous, Wizkid released on the same day, his latest single, an ode to love called Sweet Love , already a hit. The accompanying clip is an anthology of his concerts and crowd baths, from Bamako to Freetown, from Dakar to Kigali. Perhaps this is a way of telling his continent fans that he will now concentrate on his new mission, which he defines as ” taking Africa to the rest of the world. “
Here is the child of the popular districts of Lagos, which it surveys in Lamborghini or in taxi-bus popular in its clips, courted by the biggest names of the hip-hop as the “rap-entrepreneur” Jay Z at the head of the label Roc Nation. When Wizkid collaborated with Canadian artist Drake, a hit, One Dance , was released in April 2016, and for several months it was the first place in the charts in France and the United States. ” The time has come for artists like Wizkid to internationalize, which is the beginning of an African cultural revolution ,” said Lagos director Michael Ugwu, Sony Music’s general manager for West Africa. Are already at the top in Africa and will be at the top of the world. “