AkonSinger / Music Producer
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri
Best known as: Senegalese-American singer of "Smack That"
Akon is the performing name of Senegalese-American singer Aliaune Thiam, whose 2004 debut album, Trouble, spawned the hit singles "Locked Up" and "Lonely." The son of jazz percussionist Mor Thiam, Akon spent his childhood in the U.S. and Senegal (Dakar), settling in New Jersey when he was a teenager. Out of high school, Akon turned to crime and was jailed for his part in a car theft ring. After his release he focused on making his own demo tapes and eventually landed a recording contract. His distinctive smooth and reedy voice was backed by production skills that made him a sought-after collaborator, and by the time of his second release, 2006's Konvicted, he had hits lined up with top stars, including Eminem ("Smack That"), Gwen Stefani ("The Sweet Escape") and Snoop Dogg ("I Wanna Love You"). He released his third album, Freedom, in 2009.
Extra credit: The song he does with Snoop Dogg, "I Wanna Love You," is really titled something a little naughtier... Akon is vague and cagey about his background, especially his actual date of birth, which many sources list as 14 October 1981... He has said his full name is Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Puru Nacka Badara Akon Thiam.
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