Born and Raised:
Born: Aliaune Daye Thiam, on Oct. 14, 1981. Raised: Akon was born in St. Louis and raised in Senegal, Africa until he was 7. At age 7, he and his family moved to Union City, New Jersey to live in the United States full-time.
Akon, a Muslim, is the son of jazz percussionist Mor Thiam. While he was in high school, his parents moved to Atlanta and left Akon and his brother behind to finish school. Akon soon found himself taking advantage of his freedom and getting in trouble with both classmates and the legal system. Akon was jailed for three years for grand theft auto and during that time began working on music. Akon credits a love for music, and admiration of his father, for allowing him to turn his life around.
Upon release from prison, Akon began writing and recording tracks in a home studio. The tapes found their way to SRC/Universal, and the label released his debut album, Trouble, in June, 2004. The album included the hit singles "Locked Up (Remix)," (featuring the rapper Styles P), "Bananza (Belly Dancer)" and "Ghetto." "Locked Up" reached the top 10 on the Billboard singles chart in the U.S., as did the song "Lonely" which samples Bobby Vinton's classic song "Mr. Lonely."
Currently, Akon has his own record label, Konvict Muzik. His sophomore album, Konvicted, is scheduled for release on Dec. 12, 2006. In addition to the first single, "Smack That," which features the rapper Eminem, Konvicted also included collaborations with Snoop Dogg, Styles P and T-Pain.
The Final Word:
"I just don't advertise my age because in this industry you are as young as you sound. Other than that I’d be glad to tell you how old I am. Once you let people know your age in this business, that’s when the countdown begins. Matter of fact, they’ll put your deadline on blast for you. I don’t wanna be in that box so I don’t advertise it, period." -- Akon, to RapStation.com in August, 2004.
2004: Trouble, SRC/Universal.
2006: Konvicted, Konvict Muzik/UpFront/SRC/Universal Motown.
2008: Freedom, Konvict Muzik/Universal Motown.