On the grapevine: CELEBRITY CENTRAL: Akon

Akon was born Aliaune Daye Thiam, on Oct. 14, 1981 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.

Akon was born Aliaune Daye Thiam, on Oct. 14, 1981 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.

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 car theft 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. When he was released he immediately began recording his music and sending out demo tapes.

Akon’s unique blend of West African-style vocals and hip-hop lyricism eventually caught the ears of executives at Universal Records.

In 2004 he released his debut album ‘Trouble’.  The album included the hit singles “Locked Up (Remix),”  “Bananza (Belly Dancer)” and “Ghetto.

Throughout 2006, Akon worked on his debut album’s follow-up titled ‘Konvicted.’ In addition to his own hits, Akon is known for his ability to help turn songs by other artists into major hits with his own featured appearances.

He is one of the most in demand guest vocalists. His latest song “beautiful” has reached top at the charts worldwide.

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