Akon: Why I’m a changed man

From the soundproofed walls and floor to the large sofas and keyboard racks, there’s only one prevailing color inside Akon’s state-of-the-art personal studio.

From the soundproofed walls and floor to the large sofas and keyboard racks, there’s only one prevailing color inside Akon’s state-of-the-art personal studio.

“It is all white,” says the multi-platinum selling artiste, of the studio where he has recorded and produced several of his R&B and Hip-hop hits. “It helps me think a lot easier,” he adds. “This is my place of creation -- I am self-engineered, I pretty much work everything in here myself.”

It’s also here where the Senegalese-American singer is putting the final touches to his fourth studio album, expected to be released in June, nearly 10 years after he first rose to fame with his 2004 debut offering “Trouble.”

Since then, Akon has sold millions of albums around the world and collaborated with countless pop and hip-hop icons such as Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Snoop Dog and Eminem.

Born in the United States to Senegalese parents, Akon, or Aliaune Damala Badara Thiam, spent his early years in the West African country.

“What I remember the most really was just running wild there,” he says. “Barefooted, swimming in dirty lakes, selling fruit, picking mango trees, hoping not to get caught because they don’t take kindly thieves in Africa,” he adds, laughing.

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