Aliaune Damala Badara Akon Thiam (; born April 16, 1973), also known mononymously as Akon, is a Senegalese-American singer, rapper, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and actor from New Jersey. He rose to prominence in 2004 following the release of "Locked Up" (featuring Styles P), the first single from his debut album Trouble (2004), followed by the second single "Lonely."
He later founded two successful record labels, Konvict Muzik and KonLive Distribution. The labels served as home for many successful acts, such as Lady Gaga, T-Pain, R. City, Kardinal Offishall, Jeffree Star and Red Café, among others. His second album, Konvicted (2006), received three nominations for the Grammy Awards, Best Contemporary R&B Album and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Smack That" (featuring Eminem) and "I Wanna Love You" (featuring Snoop Dogg). Both singles became Billboard Hot 100 top ten hits, followed up by "Don't Matter" and "Sorry, Blame It on Me." His third studio album Freedom (2008) was led by the single "Right Now (Na Na Na)."
He is the first solo artist to hold both the number one and two spots simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 charts twice. Akon has had four songs certified as 3× platinum, three songs certified as 2× platinum, more than ten songs certified as 1× platinum and more than ten songs certified as gold in digital sales. Akon has sung songs in other languages including Hindi and Spanish. He was listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the number-one selling artist for master ringtones in the world.
Akon often provides vocals as a featured artist and is currently credited with over 300 guest appearances and more than 35 Billboard Hot 100 songs, resulting in five Grammy Awards nominations. He has released six solo albums and has handled the majority of production on his solo work and guest features. Alongside his recording career, Akon has a concurrent career in producing records mainly for artists on his respective labels, as well as for other mainstream acts such as Michael Jackson, Snoop Dogg, Lionel Richie, Leona Lewis, Sean Paul, and Whitney Houston.
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.