Senegalese American vocalist Akon is known for his R&B-style vocals, which are featured in his own hit songs as well as collaborations with hip-hop artists.
Akon is a Senegalese American singer, songwriter, and record producer. He has released several hit albums that combine his R&B-style vocals with hip-hop beats, and he has collaborated with many other musicians, including Snoop Dogg, Gwen Stefani, Lionel Richie, and Michael Jackson. He has also faced controversy because of his exaggerated criminal history and his occasional provocative behavior on stage.
Singer, songwriter and producer Akon was born Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 16, 1973, to African parents. His family returned to Dakar, Senegal, in West Africa, when Akon was young and lived there until he was 7 years old when they moved back to the United States. Akon’s mother, Kine Thiam, is a dancer; his father, Mor Thiam, is a well-known jazz percussionist. Due to their influence, Akon heard and loved music from an early age.
After growing up in Jersey City, New Jersey, Akon began singing and performing as a teenager. He attended Clark
Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia, for a semester before dropping out. Instead, he turned his attention to the music business, making home recordings and becoming friends with Wyclef Jean of the Fugees. In 2003, he received his own record deal.
Akon has also faced numerous controversies and legal difficulties. In 2008, it was revealed that he had exaggerated his criminal background: he had not, as he often claimed in interviews, run a car-theft ring or written his first album during a three-year prison sentence. He had, in fact, only served a few months in jail for the possession of a stolen car in 1998, and he was released when the charges were dropped.
In 2007, Akon faced criminal charges after he threw a fan off the stage during a concert in Poughkeepsie, New York. The same year, he was widely criticized for inappropriate sexual behavior onstage with an underage girl in Trinidad and Tobago. He has also drawn fire for his decision to invest in an African diamond mine.