Aliane Damala Badara Akon Thiam is better-known as the artist Akon. He is a singer, record producer, songwriter, actor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He began his career in 2003 and has since become one of the most successful male solo artists in the world. In fact, he now has an estimated personal net worth of $80 million. So, how did this talented performer become so rich?
Akon was born April 16, 1973, in St. Louis, Missouri, although he spent a lot of his childhood living in Senegal. His parents were also entertainers, so performing runs in his blood. From a young age, Akon showed musical talent and could play the djembe, the guitar, and drums.
His teens were a troubled period of his life and it is believed that he spent some time in jail. This is possibly the reason why he did not begin his career in the music industry until 2003. His first entry into music came when rapper L’il Zane took him along to a rehearsal at the music hall of music mogul Dwayne Stephens. Initially, Stephens and Akon became friends, but their relationship developed into one of mentorship.
Eventually, Stephens signed Akon to his label and they began recording. Akon released his solo debut album ‘Trouble’ in 2004. The album included the singles, ‘Locked Up’, ‘Ghetto’, ‘Pot of Gold’, ‘Lonely’, and ‘Belly Dancer (Bananza)’. He released ‘Lonely’ as a single in 2005 and it reached the top five on The Billboard Hot 100’ and number one in the UK charts. Akon then recorded some collaborative work in the early years of his career and this work was also successful.
2006 was a busy year for this artist as he launched his second album ‘Konvict’ and launched his record label ‘Kon Live Distribution’ under Interscope records. His album debuted at number 2 on the Billboard 200 and was certified triple platinum after a year of sales. This was his first Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping single and it topped the charts for two weeks.
His third album, ‘Freedom’ was released in 2008. From this album, he released four successful singles. Over the next two years, Akon focused on his role as a record producer and collaborated with many artists alongside his solo career.
From 2010, he took a three-year hiatus from solo work and concentrated on writing music for others and producing music. He didn’t release another single until 2013 when he released ‘Dirty Work’. Unfortunately, this was not as successful as his previous singles and it peaked at just 31 on the Rhythmic Billboard charts. He then announced in 2015 that he was releasing his fourth album ‘Stadium’ in four versions. Later, he postponed the release of this album and it is still not released to this day.
Although the money he has earned through his work in the music industry has contributed to the majority of his personal net worth of $80 million, this is not the only way that Akon has earned money.
In February 2007, he launched his own clothing line, called ‘Konvict Clothing’. His range includes hoodies, denim jeans, hats, and T-shirts. His brand has an upscale line called ‘Aliaune’, which has both men’s and women’s clothing. His other business venture is the diamond mine he owns in Africa.
Akon has also ventured into film and television. He has worked in a production capacity on several films and television series. He made his acting debut in the 2012 film ‘Black November’. This is a Nigerian-American action drama film. He has also appeared in the 2014 action movie ‘American Heist’. Akon has also taken part in several reality shows, including Big Brother in 2007, and has made many television appearances.
In his personal life, Akon has never married. However, he has six children with three different women and claims that he has a good relationship with them all. He prefers to keep his personal life out of the public eye to protect his children from unwanted attention. He focuses a lot of time away from work on ‘Konfidence Foundation’. This is a charity he founded to support underprivileged children in Africa as this is a cause that is close to his heart having lived in Africa for much of his childhood.