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10 Interesting Facts About Wizkid You Didn’t Know


Wizkid, a prominent figure in the global Afrobeat scene, is a Nigerian singer and songwriter who has firmly established his place in the music industry. Known for his chart-topping hits, collaborations with international artists, and remarkable talent, he has become a household name. Yet, beyond the fame and success, there are facets of Wizkid’s life and career that provide a deeper insight into the artist.

1. He was born into an Interfaith household


Wizkid’s upbringing was a unique blend of influences. Born into an interfaith household, his mother practised Pentecostal Christianity while his father followed Islam. Not so many are aware of the fact that the Nigerian superstar came from a very humble beginning, within a household of 12 sisters. Wizkid, born Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, is the last child of his parents.

2. He began singing in a band named the ‘Glorious 5’

Before Wizkid became a household name in the music industry, he embarked on his musical journey as a member of a local gospel group called Glorious 5 at age 11. Glorious 5 was formed during Wizkid’s teenage years, a time when his passion for music was beginning to take shape. The group was comprised of Wizkid and four of his friends, all of whom shared a common interest in gospel music.

Wizkid, known then by his birth name Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, was an integral part of the group. His contributions included songwriting and vocals. The group primarily performed in their local church and at small community events, where they quickly gained a modest following.

The group’s debut album achieved significant success, selling 10,000 copies in Nigeria.

Before the world knew him as Wizkid, a teenage Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun started his musical foray under the moniker “Lil Prinz,” in Glorious 5.

3. He was initially mentored by late iconic producer, OJB Jezreel

Fate intervened when Wizkid met the legendary record producer OJB Jezreel. This encounter wasn’t just about mentorship; it exposed Wizkid to the creative process firsthand. During his frequent visits to OJB Jezreel’s Point Beat Studios, Wizkid wasn’t just hanging around. He had a front-row seat to history in the making.  He witnessed 2Face Idibia laying down tracks for his iconic album “Grass 2 Grace,” and even got a glimpse into the creative process behind Sound Sultan’s debut album “Jagbajantis.

4. He gained mass international appeal at a young age

Collaborations with international artists like Akon on the remix of “Don’t Dull” were more than just chart-toppers; they were bridges.  These collaborations introduced Wizkid’s sound and Afrobeats, in general, to a wider audience. Tracks like “Azonto” garnered recognition beyond Africa,  being featured by as one of the top non-American songs of 2013.

In 2016, Wizkid’s career catapulted to new heights when he collaborated with Canadian rapper Drake on the international hit “One Dance.” The song topped the charts worldwide, introducing Wizkid’s sound to a global audience and ushering in a new era for Afrobeat’s international recognition. This collaboration, though commercially successful, sparked debates among some Afrobeat purists who questioned the fusion elements within the song.

Wizkid  received an ASCAP plaque  for his songwriting contribution to “One Dance.” This award acknowledges songwriters whose work achieves significant commercial success.

The track earned Wizkid a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records, previously reigning as Spotify’s most-streamed song.

5. He dropped out of School

Balancing academics and a burgeoning music career proved challenging for Wizkid. Despite enrolling at Lead City University to study International Relations, his passion for music took precedence. In his third year, he made the difficult decision to prioritize his artistic aspirations, putting his studies on hold. This decision, though risky, ultimately paved the way for his musical success.

6. The Royal Albert record breaker

In 2018, Wizkid etched his name in history by becoming the first African pop star to sell out a show at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London.  This wasn’t just a concert; it was a coronation.  Selling out such a historic venue wasn’t just a personal achievement; it was a moment of pride for Afrobeats and Africa as a whole.

Wizkid in Milan Fashion Week
Wizkid in Milan Fashion Week

7. He’s also had his fair share of paternity controversy

In August 2011, Nigerian Entertainment Today (NET) ignited a media firestorm by reporting that Wizkid, then 21 years old, had fathered a child. The report named Sola Ogudugu, a university student at the time, as the mother.  NET claimed to have conducted a thorough investigation to reach this conclusion.

Understandably, the news caused a stir. Close associates of Wizkid remained tight-lipped, citing pending DNA tests.  Wizkid himself initially denied the allegations in interviews with NET and other publications. He expressed his desire to avoid “that peculiar situation,” hinting at the complexities surrounding the situation.

For over a year, the controversy simmered.  In December 2012, Wizkid continued to deny the reports in an interview with The Punch.  However, in October 2013, a photo on Wizkid’s Instagram account featuring him and his then-two-year-old son, Boluwatife Balogun,  silenced the doubts.  The picture served as an implicit confirmation of the 2011 NET report, drawing a close to the year-long paternity controversy.

8. First Nigerian musician to hit 1 million Twitter-follower count

In February 2014, Wizkid became the first ever Nigerian musician to have over 1 million followers on Twitter.  He broke new ground again in 2017, reaching the 3 million follower mark on the same platform.  Wizkid’s dominance extends to YouTube as well, where he holds the record for the first Nigerian musician to achieve millions of views within 24 hours of uploading a video.

9. His dad inspired his love for fashion

Wizkid’s influence extends far beyond music.  He is a trendsetter, known for his distinctive fashion sense.

During an interview in 2020, Wizkid exclusively stated that he was inspired by his dad’s fashion sense from an early age, just by seeing him rock fashionable regalia. He stated that he always admired his father whenever he was dressed up for certain occasions.

Often sporting designer labels and setting trends with his unique style,  Wizkid has become a fashion icon.  His ability to seamlessly blend streetwear with high fashion has garnered him a dedicated following in the fashion world.  For Wizkid, fashion is more than just clothes; it’s a form of self-expression,  a way to showcase his personality and creativity beyond the confines of music.

In a February 2015 interview with Alex Frank for Vogue magazine. He confessed to embracing a stylish blend of streetwear and traditional Nigerian attire, showcasing his appreciation for both aesthetics.  Pharrell Williams, a fashion icon in his own right, was credited as a major influence on Wizkid’s personal style.

In August 2018, he launched his very own clothing line – Starboy. He unveiled a pop-up store for his Starboy clothing line in the heart of New York City.

10. He is a silent philanthropist

Wizkid is not just known for his catchy tunes and global recognition, but also for his philanthropic efforts.

In 2018, Wizkid wasn’t just performing at the Global Citizen Festival, a charity concert focused on alleviating global poverty. He was also an ambassador for the cause, urging his home state, Lagos, to join the fight against poverty through education. This highlights his commitment to using his platform for social good on a global scale.

While his collaboration with Nike in 2023 to build schools in Africa leveraged Nike’s established philanthropic efforts, it wasn’t his first foray into personal giving. This initiative demonstrated his dedication to improving educational opportunities, particularly in his home continent.

Most recently, in December 2023, Wizkid donated 100 million Naira to children in his hometown neighbourhood of Surulere, Lagos, in honour of his late mother. This act of charity showcased his commitment to supporting his community, especially the youth.

The singer also currently oversees the scholarship of a certain number of kids after pledging to send them to school a few years ago.