Born in St. Louis, Missouri on April 16, 1973, Akon grew up in his home country Senegal until he was 7 years old when his family moved back to New Jersey. He spent some time in prison which influenced his music career.
His first single Locked Up was a worldwide hit after it was released from his debut album Trouble in 2004. His second album, Konvicted, received three Grammy Award nominations. He later had two more Grammy nominations to his credit.
He was also listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the number 1 selling artist for master ringtones in the world.
Outside music, Akon is also known for his philanthropic works which largely focuses on his home continent of Africa. His charity organization, the Konfidence Foundation was set up solely for underprivileged children.
In 2014, he launched the Akon Lighting Africa project whose aim is to provide electricity through solar energy in Africa. Together with Samba Bathily and Thione Niang, they provided electricity in 14 African countries including Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Benin and Sierra Leone. The project also employs over 5,000 young Africans who install and maintain the solar equipment.
Forbes ranked Akon 80th (Power Rank) in Forbes Celebrity 100 in 2010 and 5th in 40 Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa list, in 2011. Billboard ranked Akon No. 6 on the list of Top Digital Songs Artists of the decade.
To celebrate his birthday, Face2Face Africa shares with you 12 of his greatest hits. Scroll through to check them out in no particular order: