- NAME: Akon
- OCCUPATION: Songwriter, Music Producer, Singer
- BIRTH DATE: April 16, 1973 (Age: 40)
- Did You Know?: Senegalese-American vocalist Akon has collaborated with a wide range of performers, from Eminem, 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg to Whitney Houston, Lady Gaga and Michael Jackson.
- EDUCATION: Clark Atlanta University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: St. Louis, Missouri
- Full Name: Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam
- AKA: Akon
- AKA: Aliaume Thiam
- ZODIAC SIGN: Aries
Best Known For
Senegalese-American vocalist Akon is known for his R&B-style vocals, which are featured in his own hit songs as well as collaborations with hip-hop artists.
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Senegalese-American singer Akon was born Aliaume Thiam in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 16, 1973. He lived in Senegal, West Africa, as a child and attended high school in the United States. He has released several hit albums that combine his R&B-style vocals with hip-hop beats, and he has collaborated with many other musicians, including Snoop Dogg, Gwen Stefani,
"I've learned a lot along the way and I'm glad that I've never regretted to a point where I tried to change my past, because ultimately my past made me who I am today."
Singer, songwriter and producer Akon was born Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 16, 1973, to African parents. His family returned to Dakar, Senegal, in West Africa, when Akon was young and lived there until he was 7 years old, when they moved back to the United States. Akon’s mother, Kine Thiam, is a dancer; his father, Mor Thiam, is a well-known jazz percussionist. Thanks to their influence, Akon heard and loved music from an early age.
After growing up in Jersey City, New Jersey, Akon began singing and performing as a teenager. He attended Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia, for a semester before dropping out. Instead, he turned his attention to the music business, making home recordings and becoming friends with Wyclef Jean of the Fugees. In 2003, he received his own record deal.
Akon's debut album, Trouble, was released in 2004. The album paired Akon's melodic, R&B-style vocals with hip-hop beats and produced several hit singles, including "Knocked Up" and "Lonely." His second album, 2006's Konvicted, was an even bigger success. Several singles from the album became hits that topped the Billboard charts. Two of the singles featured guest appearances by famous hip-hop artists, with Eminem being featured on the single "Smack That" and Snoop Dogg being featured on the single "I Wanna Love You." His third album, Freedom (2008), was somewhat less of a sensation. A fourth album is slated for release in 2013.
Akon has also lent his vocals to records by musicians in a wide range of genres, including Whitney Houston, Gwen Stefani and Lionel Richie. He also sang with Michael Jackson on the duet "Hold My Hand," which was released in 2009 after Jackson's death. He co-wrote Lady Gaga’s hit song "Just Dance," in addition to producing records for a number of artists.
Beyond his work in music, Akon is the owner of two clothing lines—Konvict and Aliaune—and various real estate investments. He also founded the Konfidence Foundation with the mission of empowering disadvantaged youth in Africa and the United States.
Akon has also faced numerous controversies and legal difficulties. In 2008, it was revealed that he had exaggerated his criminal background: he had not, as he often claimed in interviews, run a car-theft ring or written his first album during a three-year prison sentence. He had, in fact, only served a few months in jail for the possession of a stolen car in 1998, and he was released when the charges were dropped.
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They make music with instruments they were born with - their voices. Gifted vocalists have entertained audiences across musical genres from the tour de force arias of Luciano Pavarotti to the classic crooning of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett to the soulful vocals of artists like Aretha Franklin and Mahalia Jackson. With their powerful lyricism, singers like Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Bruce Springsteen became poet laureates of American music while artists including Joan Baez and Joe Strummer used their voices to prompt social change while they entertained. Rockers from Elvis Presley to The Beatles to Kurt Cobain helped define their generations through their songs while icons like Michael Jackson, Cher and Whitney Houston shaped pop culture with their larger-than-life voices and personas. See these and more famous singers who have struck a chord in musical history.
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