As soon as you hear Akon's voice, you know it's him.
His shimmering, soulful voice has propelled countless hits across genres—from pop and R&B to hip hop and dance. In addition to his own chart-dominating singles "Smack That" and "I Wanna Love You", he's made a staggering 300 guest appearances for icons including Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefani, Lil Wayne, R. Kelly, and Eminem. With 35 million albums sold worldwide, five Grammy Award nominations, and 45 Billboard Hot 100 songs under his belt, he's simply unstoppable. Once Akon reached the top, he went even further landing on a global path set for fourth full-length album and opus 2012's Stadium.
"Locked Up" from the singer and producer's 2004 debut album, Trouble, made him a household name, and then Konvicted led to global superstardom. In the aftermath of the latter's 2007 release, Akon garnered the American Music Award for Favorite R&B Male Artist, Teen Choice Award for Breakout Male Artist, three World Music Awards in the categories of Best Selling R&B Male Artist, Best Selling African Artist and Best Selling Internet Artist, and the Billboard Music Award for Artist of the Year. He was listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the #1 selling artists for master ringtones in the world and became the first solo artist in history to lock down both the number one and number two spots on the Billboard Hot 100. Those are just his musical accolades though.
Never content to rest on his laurels, he was the visionary behind not one but two thriving record labels KonLive and Konvict. The imprints jump-started the careers of both Lady Gaga and T-Pain, with Akon recognizing their talent early on, producing, and collaborating with them.
Expanding further into other realms, Akon was recognized on Forbes Magazine's Celebrity 100 list in 2010, and Pepsi chose him to produce and record "Oh Africa" for the 2010 World Cup. For the first time in history, the event took place in Africa, the continent on which the artist was born. With a heart even bigger than his resume, Akon also created The Konfidence Foundation, a youth-centric charity that benefits underserved children in Africa and the U.S. Everything he does remains emblematic of his passion.
In the three-year period leading up to Stadium, Akon has continued to push the envelope. His duet with Michael Jackson, "Hold My Hand" was released as the first single on the Michael album, debuting internationally at #1. Plus, his hilarious collaboration with Saturday Night Live stalwarts The Lonely Island, "I Just Had Sex", set the internet ablaze, racking up over 170 million YouTube/VEVO views and being performed at the 2011 Comedy Awards and Primetime EMMY Awards.
Akon still isn't slowing down though. Stadium isn't just the next level for him. It's the next level for global pop and hip hop.