Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun (born July 16, 1990) is a Nigerian music superstar who is known professionally as Wizkid or Starboy. He is considered to be one of the top three Afrobeats artists from the African continent due to his influence in growing the music culture over the years up. Formerly known by the stage name, Lil Prince, Wizkid became a national sensation after the release of Holla At Your Boy, the lead single in his chart-topping debut album, Superstar. He is also addressed as Big Wiz or Machala.
He rose to the international limelight in 2016 after he lent his vocals to Drake‘s award-winning song, One Dance, which was a global hit. The singer and songwriter dropped his fourth studio album, Made In Lagos, in October 2020, and since it has been released into the public domain, the project has gone on to win several laurels and set different records. One of the album’s top singles, Essence, became the first Nigerian song to chart on Billboard Hot 100.
Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun (born July 16, 1990) is a Nigerian music Megastar. He is known professional as Wizkid or Starboy, or Big Wiz. He came to the limelight after signing to Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E) in 2009 and releasing his hit single, Holla At Your Boy.
The song which won him millions of fans set the pace for Wizkid to drop commercially successful albums in the past twelve years. His latest album, Made In Lagos, has won him international acclaim as it reached number one on the Billboard World Album Chart.
One of the album’s singles, Essence featuring Tems, has become the first Nigerian song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. In addition, it was announced in February 2021 that Wizkid has attained the honor of being the most-streamed Nigerian artist on Spotify, amassing over 3.4 billion streams from all his works.
Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, who became popularized professionally with Wizkid is a 31 years old Nigerian singer, rapper, and songwriter whose present in the Nigerian industry is classified as a blessing.
Wizkid was born to the family of Mr. Ibrahim Balogun (father) and Mrs. Jane Dolapo Balogun (mother) on the 16th Of July 1990. He was born into an inter-faith household, where his father practiced the Muslim religion while his mother adhered to the Christian faith. His parents christened him Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun.
A native of Ogun State in the South West region of Nigeria, he comes from a large household – as he has twelve siblings, who are all females. He was raised in a polygamous household in the Ojuelegba district of Surulere City in Lagos State. His father is married to three wives.
He spent his formative years in Lagos City, which exposed him to the rich Nigerian music culture and helped foster his passion for the discipline. As a young boy, he attended church regularly with his mother and other siblings and immersed himself in activities relating to the choir unit of his local church.
By the age of eleven, he had co-founded a music group named Glorious Five, and they released an album before disbanding to pursue solo careers. During this period, he went by the stage name, Lil Prinz. His interest in music was fostered by listening to music legends like Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Bob Marley, Lucky Dube, King Sunny Ade.
As he advanced into teenagehood, he began visiting the recording studio of iconic Nigerian producer OJB Jezreel and became acquainted with the older artiste. OJB Jezreel acted as a mentor for Wizkid, advising him to wait till a year before he began recording and that he should use the period to fine-tune his sound. His path also crossed with rapper, Naeto C at the age of fifteen, and the two developed a mentor-mentee relationship. The pivotal moment of Wizkid‘s career occurred when he was discovered by music executive, talent manager, and singer Banky W.
Wizkid was born into a polygamous family on the 16th Of July 1990. He hails from the Yoruba tribe and was named Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun by his parents. His father is a Muslim, while his mom adheres to the Christian faith and attends a Pentecostal church in Nigeria.
He was born and bred in the Ojuelegba district of Surulere. Although born in Lagos State, He is a native of Ogun State. He grew up as the only son among twelve siblings, who are all females. His father, Mr. Balogun, married three wives. Despite being a polygamous family, the Baloguns lived in peace and harmony. And this gave room for Wizkid to pursue his music dreams without having to deal with family issues.
Wizkid‘s foray into music started at the young age of eleven when he formed a music group, Glorious Five, with his friends. These friends were his church members. Together, the group released a collaborative album before disbanding. Wizkid‘s initial stage name was Lil Prinz, and he switched to his present moniker in 2006.
As Wizkid advanced in years, he began meeting some big names in the music industry. He first met an ace music producer, OJB Jezreel, who advised him not to record any music for a year but focus instead on improving his songwriting ability. During this period, he paid a regular visit to OJB Jezreel‘s studio, which was located in his neighborhood, Ojuelegba. And this gave him the opportunity to watch artists like 2baba and Sound Sultan records songs.
He later came in contact with rapper, Naeto C, who he credits for being one of his mentors in the industry. Success finally fell on Wizkid‘s laps when his path crossed with Banky W, a singer, talent manager, and CEO of E.M.E Records. Banky W was taken to Wizkid immediately and began working with the younger artiste to refine his sound. As a result, Wizkid signed a record deal with E.M.E records in 2009.
Wizkid hailed from a financially comfortable family, which afforded him to be educated at top private schools in Surulere for his primary and secondary education.
He gained admission to Lagos State University but dropped out of the school in 2009. He later applied to Lead City University, Ibadan, and was offered admission, and managed to study for two academic sessions before withdrawing from the institution to face music squarely.
The Baloguns spared no expense in giving their son a quality education. Wizkid attended top private schools in Surulere for his primary and secondary school education.
After obtaining his West African School Certificate, he gained admission into Lagos State University. After that, however, he dropped out of the university.
Thereafter, he enrolled at Lead City University, Ibadan, to further his studies. But he left the institution after completing two sessions.
In 2009, Wizkid signed a record deal with Empire Mates Entertainment which was owned and managed by Banky W. He first gave the world a taste of his exceptional songwriting skill when he co-wrote the single, Omoge You Too Much, one of the songs of Banky W‘s album – The W Experience. That same year he began recording his debut album titled Superstar and released the project’s lead single, Holla At Your Boy, on the 2nd Of January 2010. The song was an instant hit, helping to skyrocket his fame in the music space and winning him the coveted Next Rated Artist award at The Headies in 2011.
The album’s second single, Tease Me/Bad Guys, was released into the public domain on the 2nd Of April 2010. While the project’s third single, Don’t Dull, was released as a Christmas jam on the 6th Of December 2010. After two years of recording and compiling the project, Superstar – which is a fusion of Afrobeats, Dancehall, R&B, and Reggae sounds- was finally released on the 12th Of June 2011 at a launch party held at Eko Hotel and Suites. The album racked up numerous nominations, going on to win the Best Album Of The Year at the 2012 Nigerian Entertainment Awards.
After releasing his first flagship project, Wizkid embarked on a tour in London alongside his label mates, Skales, Shaydee, Banky W, and Niyola. He also worked with his label mates to record E.M.E‘s compilation album titled, Empire Mates State Of The Mind, which was released in 2012.
By 2012, Wizkid had begun recording his second studio album, Ayo, which was completed and released in 2014. The album was a commercial success, thanks to the inputs of creative minds like Femi Kuti, Seyi Shay, Phyno, Tyga, Akon, Wale, Sarz, Shizzi, Legendury Beatz, Dokta Frabz, Maleek Berry, and Spellz. Earlier in May 2013, the album’s lead single, Jaiye Jaiye, had been released. The song had Afrobeat legend, Femi Kuti as a featured artist.
While in October 2013, he dropped On Top Your Matter, the album’s second single. The production credits for this single go to Del B. After the expiration of his contract with E.M.E, he left the record label to become an independent artist, founding his own record label.
At the start of the new year (January 2015), Wizkid released the song Ojuelegba, which speaks about the early days of his career and the hurdles he faced on the way to the top. After signing a record deal with RCA Records in March 2017, he dropped his highly anticipated third album, Sounds From The Other Side, in July 2017. The album contained notable works like African Bad Gyal featuring American singer, Chris Brown, Expensive Shit, Daddy Yo featuring Efya, Come Closer featuring Drake, and Sweet Love.
In 2016, Wizkid was guest featured on Drake‘s hit single, One Dance. The song helped him gain greater international exposure as it reached the number one position in Billboard Hot 100 chart, staying there for 10 non-consecutive weeks. The song also topped music charts in fifteen different countries. Due to his involvement with One Dance, he became the first Afrobeats artist to appear in the 2018 Guinness World Records.
Also, in 2018, leading international singers, Normani and Calvin Harris reached out to Wizkid to collaborate together. And the trio released the single, Checklist that year, which was a huge success. As the song rose to the number-one spot on the Billboard World Digital Song Sales chart. In 2019, he had the honor of being invited to work on Beyoncé‘s album, The Lion King: The Gift. He was featured on the single, Brown Skin Girl alongside SAINt JHN, Blue Ivy Carter, which went on to win the Grammy Award For Best Music Video in 2021.
In October 2021, he released his fourth studio album, Made In Lagos, which was a commercial success internationally, as the album found its way to the number-one position on Billboard World Album Chart. One of the project’s singles, Essence, featuring fellow Nigerian singer, Tems, became the first Nigerian song to appear on Billboard Hot 100. The song also made it to the top ten spots after the remix with Justin Bieber. In February 2021, he was the most-streamed Nigerian artist of all time on Spotify, garnering over 3.4 billion streams across the songs on his discography.
After he was signed to E.M.E records, Wizkid began working on his debut album, Superstar. The album, which is a mix of Afrobeats, R&B, and Reggae sounds, saw Wizkid work with talented producers such as Masterkraft, Samklef, Shizzi, Jay Sleek, and Q-Beats.
He released the first and lead single of the project in January 2010. The song titled Holla At Your Boy thrust Wizkid into the national limelight and made him the favorite artiste of many young Nigerians. In addition, the song is credited for helping him win the Next Rated Artiste award at The Headies 2011.
Wizkid released the second single of the album, Tease Me/Bad Guys, in April 2020. Like his first work, this song was also a commercial success. And the single was followed by Don’t Dull, which became the club jam and party song during the December Festive season. Superstar was released to critical acclaim on the 12th Of June 2011, and its launch party was held at Eko Hotel and Suites. The album secured a nomination for Album Of The Year at The Headies 2012.
In 2012, Wizkid worked with his label mates, Shaydee, Niyola, Skales, and Banky W, on the collaborative album: Empire Mates State Of The Mind. Upon the album’s release, he and other E.M.E acts toured the United States, performing at over two dozen cities.
After two years of working hard in the studio, he released his sophomore album, Ayo, which also did great numbers commercially. The album’s lead single, Jaiye Jaiye, was released on the 2nd of May, 2013. He featured music icon, Femi Kuti on the song. The second single of the album, On Top Your Matter, was dropped on the 26th Of October 2013. Again, he collaborated with ace producer, Del B on the song.
After the expiration of his five-year contract with E.M.E records, he chose not to renew his contract and left the label. Instead, he decided to set up his own music outfit, which he called Starboy Entertainment. Prior to leaving E.M.E, there had been speculations that Wizkid was having issues with the management due to the terms of agreement of his contract. And this was the reason given for his leaving the E.M.E mansion into his own house in February 2013. On the formation of Starboy Entertainment, he signed recording artists, Legendury Beatz and Maleek Berry to the label.
In January 2015, Wizkid released Ojuelegba, which spoke about his struggles during the early years of his career. After being featured on Drake‘s single, One Dance, he became the first Nigerian artist to be listed on Billboard Twitter’s Last 24 Hours chart. By May, the song had reached the Billboard Hot 100 chart earning Wizkid more accolades. Furthermore, due to his contribution to One Dance, he became the first Afrobeats artist to appear in the 2018 Guinness World Records.
He signed a record deal with the international music label, RCA Records in March 2017. Four months after, he released his third studio album titled Sounds From The Other Side. The album saw Wizkid collaborate with big names like Drake, Chris Brown, Sarz, Spellz, Del B, Major Lazer, Ty Dolla Sign, Efya, and DJ Mustard. Before the album’s release, he had released three hit singles; Daddy Yo, Sweet Love, and Come Closer.
In 2019, he was contacted by American diva, Beyonce and invited to work with her on the album: The Lion King: The Gift. As a result, he lent his vocals to the chart-topping song, Brown Skin Girl. The song helped him win his first Grammy Award for Best Music Video. Also, it earned him nominations at the BET Awards, NACCP Image Awards, and Soul Train Music Awards.
On the 30th Of October 2020, Wizkid released his fourth studio album titled, Made In Lagos. In 2021, Essence, one of the album’s singles, became the first Nigerian song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. The album has also amassed millions of streams, positioning him for many nominations. Due to the success of Essence, Justin Bieber reached out to Wizkid to work on a remix.
The Legendary Nigerian singer, Wizkid was formerly signed by Banky W to Empire Mate Entertainment (EME) in 2009 and rose to fame with “Holla At Your Boy,” a single off his Superstar Album. He left the label EME due to contract differences and started his own record label StarBoy.
In 2013, Wizkid became the first Nigerian artist to have one million followers on Twitter.
He currently has over 13.1 million followers on Instagram.
- Instagram handle – @wizkidayo
- Twitter handle – @wizkidayo
Wizkid is 31 years old at the moment. Despite being a father of three handsome sons – Boluwatife Balogun, Ayodeji Balogun, and Zion Balogun – he is believed to be single. However, rumor has it that the superstar is in a relationship with Jada Pollock, his manager, and the mother of his third son, Zion Balogun. Also, some blogs have fingered him to be dating Tems. Nevertheless, Wizkid dotes on his children, spending his free time with them whenever he isn’t making music in the studio or on tour.
Wizkid is a very successful artiste, both in terms of financial and music assets. He currently shuffles his time between his residences in Lagos and Accra. Asides from owning a fleet of luxurious cars, he also has choice properties across the world, with diverse business investments.
He is also a music executive as he had flagged off his own music imprint, Starboy Entertainment, in 2013, signing artists such as Maleek Berry and Legendury Beatz. Fast-rising singer, Starboy Terri is currently signed to the label.
He is an ambassador of Pepsi, signing his first deal with the multinational in 2012. He has also had brand partnership deals with companies like MTN Nigeria, Guinness Nigeria Plc, and the United Bank Of Africa (UBA).
He is currently being managed by Mr. Sunday Are. And he is also known by other nicknames like Starboy, Machala, Big Wiz, and Big W.
Wizkid is often considered as one of Africa’s top three artists. The others being Burna Boy and Davido. He also has the most substantial fanbase in Nigeria, who identify themselves as Wizkid FC. Wizkid is also known by the nicknames, Starboy or Big Wiz or Big W.
The Lagos-born singer is 31 years old. Although he is yet to be married, he has three sons from different women. His first child, Boluwatife, was born in 2011. He was just 21 years old at the time. He dotes on his children a lot and spends his free time vacationing with them or taking them out to lovely places.
He is currently rumored to be dating his manager, Jada P, who happens to be the mother of his third son, Zion Balogun. He also has another manager named Sunday Are. In addition, he announced the signing of singer, Terri, in 2018.
The singer, who is known for his iconic fashion style, has choice properties across the world. Presently, he spends his time between his houses in Lagos and Ghana.
Wizkid is a father of three;
- Boluwatife Balogun mothered by Oluwanisola Ogudugu
- Ayodeji Balogun mothered by Binta Diallo
- Zion Balogun mothered by Jada Pollock
All three mentioned above are his baby mamas and ex-girlfriends except Jada Pollock. Wizkid has also dated Tonto Dikeh, Tiwa Savage, and Seyi Shay in the past.
As one of Africa’s most significant artists and music executives, Wizkid is a very wealthy man. He earns a lot of royalties from his songs and makes money from organizing shows and performing at shows across the world.
Wizkid‘s net worth is estimated to be having a net worth of US30 million.
Wizkid’s official international recognition came in 2016 when Drake collaborated with him on “One Dance,” a chart-topping single in several countries including the United States, for which he is credited to be the writer. He also went ahead to feature Drake in Come Closer.
EPS & Albums
PS: Wizkid has an upcoming Album Made In Lagos dropping on the 15th of October 2020, the Album release was halted due to the End SARS protest in Nigeria. Other albums and projects by Wizkid are;
- Superstar (2011)
- Ayo (2014)
- Sounds from the Other Side (2017)
- Made In Lagos (2020)
EPs and Compilations
- Empire Mates State of Mind (with EME) (2012)
- Soundman Vol. 1 (2019)
- Made In Lagos
- Made In Lagos Deluxe
- Sounds From The Other Side
- Soundman Vol. 1