RnB singer Akon coming to Zimbabwe
POPULAR Senegalese-American RnB singer, songwriter, rapper and record producer Alliuane Badara Thiam, known as Akon by his legion of fans, is coming to Zimbabwe in September. He is expected to hold a concert on September 4 at the National Sports Stadium. Blessing Nyambuya, the director of Zimswag, one of the organisers, confirmed the show.
“Akon is coming in September. Preparations for the show are at an advanced stage and what is left now is to secure the state-of- the-art equipment needed for the show, which we are currently doing.”
Nyambuya however, said they were yet to come up with a list of local musicians who will share the stage with the international artiste. A 25-member entourage that will include DJs and upcoming stars, would accompany the high profile singer, in an event that promises to be the biggest show in the arts sector in recent years.
Zimbabwe has, in the last few months, played host to other big names in the music industry that include Horace Brown, reggae artistes Maxi Priest and Sizzla, and the group Hill Song that was in the country in May with motivational speaker and evangelist, Joyce Meyer.
Born on October 14, 1981 in St Louis, Missouri, Akon was raised in Dakar, Senegal, as the son of jazz percussionist Mor Thiam. According to online reports, he grew up in Senegal until he was seven, split time between Senegal and the US until he was 15, then his family permanently moved to Jersey City, New Jersey.
In Jersey City he attended Snyder High School, where he discovered hip-hop music. His first song was entitled “Operations of Nature,” which he recorded at the age of 15. He was, however, jailed for armed robbery and drug distribution, and used his time in prison to work on his music.
On release, Akon began writing and recording tracks in his home studio. Akon’s solo debut album, Trouble, was released on June 29, 2004. It spawned the hit singles “Locked Up” and “Lonely,” as well as “Belly Dancer (Bananza),” “Pot Of Gold,” and “Ghetto.” “Locked Up” reached the top 10 in the US and the top five in the UK, and was written after Akon served time in jail.
When his manager Robert Montanez was shot to death following a dispute in New Jersey in December 2005, Akon released the song “Ghetto,” which became a radio hit when it was remixed to include verses from legendary rappers 2Pac and The Notorious B.I.G. In 2005, he released the single “Lonely”. 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 10 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 15 weeks. In 2005, Akon gained more popularity after being featured on Young Jeezy’s debut album, Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101, on the song “Soul Survivor” which became a top five hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
Akon released the album, Konvicted, on November 14, 2006. Konvicted included collaborations with Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Styles P. Late August 2006, he released the single “Smack That” featuring Eminem, from the album. This single peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained there for five weeks. In January 2007, Akon released his third single “Don’t Matter” which so far has reached number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Konvicted debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, selling 285 000 copies in its first week. After only six weeks, Konvicted sold more than one million records in the US and more than 1.3 million worldwide. The album has continued to stay in the top 20 of the Billboard 200 after 14 weeks, and it peaked on three consecutive weeks, not including its debut. Currently it has sold more than 1.5 million records in the US and 2.2 million worldwide.