The real name of Akon is Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam. He spent his childhood in Senegal, the home country of his father.
His father was a percussionist and taught him to play several instruments, including the djembe.
Akon played basketball in high school, and he was good, averaging 25 points per game his senior year. He earned a full athletic scholarship to Georgia Tech, but couldn't take advantage of it after a random locker search turned up guns, knives and test answers. Akon was expelled from school and banned from competing in NCAA Division I Basketball.
Akon was introduced to the music industry while in high school by the then unknown Wyclef Jean. In an interview for VH1 he described the experience: "I used to work at a barber shop in Newark and Clef used to come get his hair cut. At the time he didn't have a deal. We used to go in my basement outside of Newark and just create music. I was one of the original members of the Refugee Camp."
Akon can definitely be called a pop star collaborator. As a songwriter, producer or performer, he has worked with Michael Jackson, R. Kelly, Quincy Jones, Eminem, Snoop Dogg and many others. Some of his more popular projects include Gwen Stefani's "The Sweet Escape
," Lady Gaga's "Just Dance
," and David Guetta's "Sexy Bitch
At the age of 18, Akon was arrested and put in jail for being part of a car theft ring. It was during his time in jail that he realized his music abilities. He saw in his musical talent a way to start a new life. Many of Akon's songs begin with the sound of the clank of a jail cell's door with him uttering the word "Konvict."
Akon has founded two record labels, Konvict Muzik and Kon Live Distribution. He has produced many hits for artists such as Lady Gaga, Colby O'Donis, Leona Lewis, T-Pain.
Akon started his own clothing line, Konvict Clothing, which sells urban streetwear like denim jeans, hoodies, T-shirts and hats. Akon also has an upscale apparel collection called Aliaune, which consists of more stylish and sophisticated collections covering blazers, denim jeans and other items.
He started his own charity organization for underprivileged children in Africa called the Konfidence Foundation.
Akon founded a solar energy company in Africa in 2014. Akon Lighting Africa employs around 5,000 mainly young people who install and maintain solar equipment.