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Singer, songwriter and producer Akon was born in Missouri, on April 16, 1973, to African parents. His family returned to Dakar, Senegal, in West Africa, when Akon was young and lived there until he was 7 years old, when they moved back to the United States. After growing up in Jersey City, New Jersey, Akon began singing and performing as a teenager. He attended Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia, for a semester before dropping out. Instead, he turned his attention to the music business, making home recordings and becoming friends with Wyclef Jean of the Fugees. In 2003, he received his own record deal.

Akon's debut album ‘Trouble’ was released in 2004. The album paired Akon's melodic, R&B-style vocals with hip-hop beats and produced several hit singles, including "Locked Up" and "Lonely." His second album, 2006's Konvicted, was an even bigger success. Several singles from the album became hits that topped the Billboard charts. Two of the singles featured guest appearances by famous hip-hop artists, with Eminem being featured on the single "Smack That" and Snoop Dogg being featured on the single "I Wanna Love You." His third album, Freedom (2008), was somewhat less of a sensation.

Akon still isn’t showing signs of slowing down. With a new album on deck for 2015, he has set his sights on breaking into Hollywood and is already well on his way to making his mark. In 2012, Akon made his acting debut in Jeta Amata’s stirring motion picture “Black November” alongside a stellar cast including Mickey Rourke, Kim Basinger, Anne Heche, and Vivica A. Fox. Most recently, he landed his first major movie role and will appear with costars Adrien Brody, Hayden Christensen and Jordana Brewster in the upcoming indie action thriller “American Heist”, a remake of the 1959 Steve McQueen movie “The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery.”

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