Angélique Kidjo is a Grammy Award–winning singer/ songwriter and activist. She is noted for her diverse musical influences and songs like “Wombo Lombo”, “Afirika” and her version of “Malaika”.
She was born in Cotonou, Benin but relocated to Paris, France in 1983, due to the continued political conflicts in Benin that prevented her from being an independent artist in the country.
Angélique studied music at the CIM, a reputable Jazz school in Paris while doing various part time jobs. That is where she met and married musician and producer Jean Hebrail with whom she has composed most of her music.
She started out as a backup singer in local bands. In 1985, she became the front singer of a renowned Euro-African jazz/rock band, which sparked her international fame.
Her musical influences include Jimi Hendrix, Miriam Makeba and Carlos Santana.
She has also collaborated with among others, Alicia Keys, Carlos Santana and John Legend.
She has also been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2002 and she founded The Batonga Foundation, which supports girls’ education at secondary school and higher education to take lead in changing Africa. The foundation gives scholarships and builds secondary school among several roles.
Time Magazine has named her “Africa’s premier diva” while Forbes Magazine’s named her among the “The 40 Most Powerful Celebrities In Africa”.
She now resides in New York City, New York, in the United States.