Iconic artist Akon discusses his creative process and shares his will to push boundaries and not pigeonholed in a single musical genre, market or industry.
From countless international collaborations with the world’s top artists, to launching multiple genre-focused labels and building Akon City in West Africa, Akon opens up about his drive to push music further, shake up the music industry and bring change to the world.
Iconic Grammy Award-nominated multiplatinum artist, producer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Akon will take us behind the scenes of his multidimensional career and his music creative process.
With a career spanning over two decades, Akon has never ceased to push the boundaries of creativity by creating new sounds, producing some of the most iconic hits of the 2000s and collaborating with artist from all around the world.
2019 marks a strong comeback for Akon, with six new albums in the works, including “El Negreeto”, a Latin album with smash hits featuring Anitta, Becky G or Ozuna, and an afrobeats record, Akonda. These releases, and those planed for the coming months truly demonstrate Akon’s incredible diversity of inspirations and true international openness.
Long before establishing himself as one of his generation’s most recognizable and influential voices, Akon envisioned a career in music as a kid. However, for as much as he could see himself on stage, he understood the importance of the business first and foremost and actually endeavored to run a label someday.
That day happened in 2019 as the GRAMMY® Award-nominated multiplatinum artist, producer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist launched not one, but four artist labels with its own genre specialty under his Akonik Label Group—Akonda [Afro Beats], Akonik [U.S. and European Signings], Jamakon [Caribbean], and Ke Lo Ke [Latin America, Mexico, Puerto Rico].
His career built up towards this point. No stranger to making history, he holds the distinction of being “the first artist to simultaneously clinch the number one and number two spots on the Billboard Hot 100 twice,” among 35 entries on the respective chart.
Piling up achievements across the board, he landed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “#1-selling artist for master ringtones in the world.” Not to mention, he placed in the Top 10 of Billboard’s “Top Digital Songs Artists of the Decade,” achieved two multiplatinum albums, sold 35 million copies, and garnered five GRAMMY® Award nominations.
Meanwhile, his storied collaborations include everyone from Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Gwen Stefani, and Whitney Houston to Eminem, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Ozuna, and Daddy Yankee. At the same time, he exhibited the same level of talent behind-the-scenes, notably signing icons such as future Academy® Award winner Lady Gaga and game-changer T-Pain to production deals. With the experience of working with acts signed to him for production and different labels for recording, he desired to build one hub.
What is Midem Music Talks about?
Midem Music Talks helps you face the main challenges and key trends shaping the future of the international music business via exclusive content from the Midem Digital Edition programme.
Every month, our conference team presents visionary conversations with the most respected decision makers of the global music industry to share insightful business tips, case studies, and technical solutions.
Listen to this Midem Music Talks on Deezer, Spotify and Apple Podcasts!
Here’s a selection of the most insightful quotes or anecdotes from his talk:
“At the beginning when I started music, collaboration was a strategy for me. I was an African kid coming to the United States market, doing music that wasn’t really heard for. I had these African melodies over hip hop beats and it was really hard for the records to pop up.”
“I came up under a genre-less musical environment. When I see music, I hear it in different cultures, I hear it in different languages. I always wanted to be that artist that was never boxed in, and also was able to be in a position where I could share my music globally.”
“Africa has never been the first choice, and I think it’s time now for a lot of the African-Americans in America and Europe and diaspora, to start making more trips over there.”