From the year 2004 to 2008, there was at least one song in the trend with the name ‘Akon‘ in it.
He used to roll in Lamborghini but now he doesn’t even wear any jewelry. Some might call him a businessman, but I call him ‘the modern Buddha’, he is Akon.
Akon- The Modern Buddha
Known as one of the best R&B artists, his first album “Lockout” dropped in 2004. It was the start of his fame. People from all across the world loved his music, most of his songs were on top of the Billboard list of hot 100 songs. He has collaborated with many great musicians and has signed two of the game-changing artists as well.
But now, his name is not appearing in any of the latest releases. You can listen to his songs but just the old ones. It has been ages since he released a new song. From last seven years, his name has almost vanished from the music Industry. So where is Akon? What happened to Akon. But before that, have a look at from where he is who he become a musician.
Who is Akon?
Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Bongo Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam is his full name.
It is certainly a long name, which is why he uses ‘Akon’ as his stage name.
He founded multiple record labels, has released albums and singles to critical acclaim. But before all that, he was in jail. Akon grew up in the West African country of Senegal. He calls it as his hometown. His mother was a dancer, and his father worked as a projectionist. You can say, this guy got some talent in his blood.
At the age of 7 he moved out to Union City, New Jersey with his family. Later when he was in high school, his parents moved to Atlanta, Georgia. He always had difficulty getting along with other children. The reason is unknown, but he was locked up in jail for three years.
So, how did he become so famous?
Going to jail was a life-changing experience for him, getting locked up for three years, isolated from the outside world, nothing much to do. He had plenty of time to think about himself, and that’s the time when he found his inner talent.
During his jail time, he started to write lyrics and practiced singing. This ultimately led to the release of his first single “locked up.” It was released on April 13th 2004, which attracted a lot of street audience. His label decided to go with the same flow, instead of changing it to R&B. By doing so, the label wanted to build the street audience before stepping into the main steam of R&B, which was a smart move in order to build a strong foundation.
The track did make him popular by reaching to the #8 in the list of billboards hot 100. This made the Label to launch Akon’s first debut album “Trouble” on June 29 2004.
Though, it only able to sell 25,000 copies, which was too low by the way.
The label could have dropped him completely from their contract because of the bad sale but they knew this is something that they don’t want to miss.
Label stuck with Akon. Together they dropped another single “Ghetto” on December 21st 2004. Unfortunately, there was still time for his stars to shine and the track barely touched the list of billboards hot 100 by reaching the #92 position.
When stars finally favored Akon
The label didn’t worry much, they still believed in him. They knew that they have placed their bet in the right place. Then they released a follow-up single “Lonely” in February 21st 2005. I know you loved that song. You are not the only one, the entire world loved it. With the release of “locked up,” he kind of gained fame in America but “Lonely” got him his recognition all over the world.
The song went to #1 in seven countries including the UK and Germany. It was still at #4 in America, though. His first debut album that only managed to sell 25,000 copies in the first week of its release reached the mark of 2 million (double platinum) alone in America after the release of “Lonely”.
You can say this was the time he actually became Famous.
Akon signed another game changing artist
Seeing the success of reaching double platinum, Akon started his own record label company called Konvict Muzik, in which he signed Columbia/Epic records.
He didn’t release any new song in 2005. Fan’s were missing his music but when he came back, he came back with a surprise.
He had ended up finding a big artist, T-Pain.
Akon helped his new artist to release a debut album “Rapper turns singer.” With this, Akon also got the fame and appreciation alongside the main artist, T-Pain.
That was a rare scene to see. Usually, when an artist introduces new blood, the elder one starts fading from the limelight.
But not with them. Both Akon and T-Pain were on their big rise to become world-famous stars. If you go back and check the time between 2005 and 2008, you’ll see they both were ruling the world with their music albums at the same time.
In the year 2005, most of his fame was because of the success of T-Pain. Everyone regarded Akon as the person who introduced T-Pain. People were certainly paying respect to Akon.
But he couldn’t stay like this forever, could he?
So, in 2006, Akon got back to work on his music project, which was a sophomore studio album. Before the release of his new album, Akon surprised the audience by releasing his new single, “Smack That,” featuring Eminem.
It was bang on. Everyone loved it. The song was released on the September 5th 2006.
And went on to become his biggest charting single reaching #2 on the billboard hot 100 lists.
That’s was not it, he was back with a bang this time. Just after two weeks, he released another single “I wanna Love you,” on October 6th 2006. This time song was featuring Snoop Dogg and again it instantly became a hit.
If you are wondering why ‘Smack that’ didn’t reach the #1 on billboards list, well “I wanna love you” was the reason for that. This was the time when Akon’s name was on the #1 and #2 on the billboards list of hot 100.
You can call it the epic gala time of Akon’s life, when his own song was holding “Smack that,” from topping the charts. The artist was battling himself, as both the songs were worthy for #1 title. But, only one could stay there.
You can say, Akon was suffering from his success.
Based on the success of “Smack that” and “I wanna love you,” Akon released his second album Konvicted on September 14 2006. The album made a sale of 2,84,000 thousand copies within the first week of its release. And ended up selling 5 million copies all over the world.
By that time, he became a worldwide sensation, every hook had his name on it.
Akon Found Lady Gaga
After getting fame for his music in 2006, he introduced another artist to the industry- Lady Gaga, one of the biggest pop sensation.
After that, he stopped being a mogul and for the last time in 2008, Akon released his third studio album “Freedom.” Just like all other albums, this one also became a hit, reaching millions.
At that was the time when he started thinking about other things in life.
When things started to change
The release of “Freedom” was his last studio album release for the year 2008. For 2009, he didn’t work on his personal music, but he did a feature and collaborated with the other artists like David Guetta and PitBull.
In 2010 he again decided to release his album, and that’s when his life took a different turn. Before releasing his fourth studio album, he decided to release a single first. On September 17 2010, he released the song “Angel”. Sadly, it didn’t perform well. It could just reach the #52 on Hot 100 list of billboard.
So, he decided to put a hold on the release of “Stadium,” his 4th studio album. The album never got released. It’s 2019 and fans are still waiting.
Where is Akon and what’s he doing?
Currently, Akon is in Africa, trying to put his fame, power, and money to good use. Akon is one of my favorite artists and I know you love him too. He might not have released a new album, but at least he is doing something good.
He is busy trying to provide light to the entire African nation. I hope now you know where is Akon.
What made him realize that he needed to do something?
When he finally took a break from releasing music, he saw what he couldn’t see with all that bling. He might be rolling in Lambo, but he saw people who don’t even have a roof. He started seeing people who need help. And then, he understood that with the kind of money he had, he could do things that were needed to be done to make this world a better place.
All this awareness combined a feeling of guilt made him change the way he was living his life.
From rolling in expensive cars and wearing all those expensive jewelry, he went on to stripping it all down. You can only see him wearing a Rolex, which he said was a gift from a friend and can’t take it off.
The turning point of Akon’s life
In 2013, when he visited his grandma in Senegal, Africa. He saw the struggles of life that people of his hometown were facing. There was no light and no clean water to drink or to bath. After seeing all this, he couldn’t leave his grandma living in such a bad condition. Akon tried to take her with him back to America, to live a luxurious life. But his grandma didn’t move back with him.
So, he decided to at least make the place better for her grandma. As there was no light he asked to do something to light up the house.
But it was not that simple. To light up his grandma’s house, he had to at least light up the neighborhood. Realizing that so many people were living without light in 2013, made him take some power moves and solve it once and for all.
Akon is working to give light to Africa
As he didn’t have that much money to solve the entire problem himself, Akon used his power to get in touch with mass producers of solar energy in China. After hearing his idea, producers of solar energy were impressed by him. They decided to give him 1 billion credit in order to support his project.
Though the artist wasn’t able to do much with that amount but seeing the progress, China decided to loan him more money to develop rural areas of Africa.
He knows, he has to do more to help all those people who are in need. So, he has teamed up with Shell (one of the biggest fuel and energy producing companies in America). He even released a song teaming up with Shell it’s called “Tell me we are Okay.”
So, if you are still wondering where is Akon, then the answer is simple, he is busy helping other people in the world. Till December 2017, he has helped 75 million people over the world. His main focus is on the project “Akon Lighting Africa,” and he is been doing a pretty good job with it.
When I was a kid, his songs were my favorite, they are still my favorite. I know he is busy doing more important stuff, but I wish he releases a new album soon. But, I’m totally fine with what he is doing right now. At least someone is doing what every rich celebrity should have done.