Singer/songwriter Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun (aka Wizkid) is one of Nigeria's biggest R&B crossover acts, having worked with Drake, Skepta, and Chris Brown, among others. He first found regional success in 2011 with the massively popular single "Holla at Your Boy," which appeared on his debut album Superstar. He went global in 2016 after his collaboration with Drake, "One Dance," soared to number one in 15 countries, resulting in a multi-album deal with RCA, which issued his Caribbean-influenced major-label debut, Sounds from the Other Side, in 2017.
Balogun began his career in music when he was just 11 years old. His first record, Lil Prinz, was recorded in 2001 in collaboration with Glorious Five, a group consisting of Balogun and his friends from church. In 2006, he started pursuing music full-time, at first collaborating with various Nigerian pop acts including OJB Jezreel, Naeto C, and Banky W. By 2011 he was ready to record his debut studio album as a solo artist; Superstar was released via Empire Mates Entertainment (EME for short) to great critical and public acclaim across Africa, propelling him to stardom in his home country. After multiple delays and label disagreements, Balogun released his sophomore album, Ayo, in 2014. His second studio album featured a multitude of guest appearances, including a spot from Femi Kuti. It also featured Balogun's global breakthrough track "Ojuelegba." Not only did the single cement his status as one of Nigeria's biggest pop acts, it was also picked up and remixed by Drake and Skepta, thrusting Wizkid into the international spotlight. In return, Wizkid appeared on Drake's 2016 smash single "One Dance." In March 2017, it was announced that Wizkid had signed a major deal with RCA and Sony International, which would release his third LP, Sound from the Other Side, later that year. A handful of singles appeared in advance of the album, including "Sweet Love" and the Drake-assisted "Come Closer." October 2018 saw Wizkid issue a pair of singles, "Master Groove" and "Fever," to mark Nigeria's Independence Day. The following year, he joined Beyoncé and Saint Jhn for The Lion King: The Gift track "Brown Skin Girl" and issued his own single, "Joro." The EP Soundman, Vol.1, was released via Balogun's Starboy Entertainment imprint in 2019. ~ Liam Martin