What Happened to Akon? The Journey from a Great Singer to a Philanthropist

Photo credit: Al Bawaba

Aliaune Damala Badara Akon Thiam, also known as Akon is a Senegalese-American Singer. Akon was bought up in New Jersey, America, and became the most glorified singer of the 2000s to 2013s decade selling worldwide hits and winning billboard charts.

His Songs are childhood memories for many millennials and Gen Z. Once Akon’s song which ruled the music playlists and engrossed everyone into its melody disappeared after 2013. It was a sudden change in the music world that many were questioned about what happened to Akon.

This article brings the story of the greatest Singer who rose to Hollywood spotlights, recorded hits after hits, and took a significant decision in his career life.

Rising Story of Akon:

Akon was born on April 16, 1973, in St.Louis, Missouri. He spent his initial years of childhood in Senegal, Africa. At the age of 7 years, Akon and his family moved to New Jersey. His father Mor Thiam was a percussionist and his Mother Kine Gueye Thiam was a dancer. Akon learned to play five instruments, including drums, guitar, and djembe.

Akon then stayed at Newark in New Jersey where his parents left Akon and his elder brother as they reached High School and settled in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Akon attended William L. Dickinson High School in Jersey City. 

Discovery And Best of Akon:

During the year 2003-2004, Music mogul Devyne Stephens, the president of Upfront Megatainment, first heard about Akon when rapper Lil Zane brought him along to Stephens' rehearsal hall, and under the mentorship of Stephens Akon was groomed professionally in the music industry. 

The songs Akon recorded with Stephens were brought to the attention of Universal's imprint SRC Records. What caught the attention of Records was the song “Locked up” and “Lonely”, which became a hit in 2005 worldwide, leading his music career to boost.

His song Lonely, became the biggest hit worldwide entering Top 5 in Billboard Hot 100, Top one in Australia, the UK, Germany. His Album Locked Up climbed to no. 1 in April 2005 in the UK.  This song became one of the biggest hits running chart leaderboard for 15 weeks straight in many countries. 

In 2006 and ahead, Akon released other albums like Konvicted, Freedom in 2008, Stadium in 2010. Akon collaborated with Snoop Dogg on the song “I wanna Love you” which was another greatest hit in the USA for 2 consecutive weeks. In January 2007, a third single "Don't Matter" which earned him his first solo number one and second consecutive Hot 100 chart-topper was released.

Akon continued with releasing hits in singles and collaborations with other singers. A music career was the most loved phase by the fans of Akon worldwide. However, things changed after 2012 when Akon no longer created new albums and went off the spotlight.

The New Chapter:

During 2013-2018, Akon had completely disappeared from the music spotlight and few people knew about Akon’s next profession. Dusing this years Akon focussed his energy and wealth to empower Africa under the initiative “lightning Africa”.

Akon did social welfare and became an Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, using his money in supplying African people with basic needs like providing electricity, developing infrastructural facilities. Akon’s Lighting Africa initiative served 15 countries and launched his charity for underprivileged children in Africa called Konfidence Foundation. 

In 2018, Akon worked with the Senegal government to create his City, located 50 km from Dakar (capital of Senegal). Akon City will be a tourist city operating on a cryptocurrency economy. On January 13, 2020, Akon shared on Twitter that the agreements for the city have been finalized and the project is underway. 

He captioned a photo of himself with Senegal President Macky Sall "Looking forward to hosting you there in the future."

Akon’s later vision is more focused on developing African countries and is serving Charity for poor people in need. With Akon City, he brings tourism and development opportunities to people providing an economic boost to underdeveloped African nations.

Life forward: 

Akon’s music career was never as a singer, he recalls. His goal was to become a Philanthropist serving the African nations and he used his music as collateral to gain financing sources.

Akon still produces songs occasionally with the latest albums from 2018 like El Negretto, Akonda, Konnect and has developed bilingual vocals in his songs. Being on a billboard top 10 does not matter in this phase of life. His songs will always be adored by fans and his social services will always be praised by Africa.

Written by: Prajwal Barate