From the soundproofed surfaces and ground to the huge couches and key pad shelves, there’s only one color within Akon’s state-of-the-art individual studio room–white. The multi-platinum producer says it makes thinking easier.The July release of his 4th studio record will mark almost a decade since the Senegalese-American performer’s 2004 hit “Trouble”, brought him to prominence.
Along the way, he’s also stirred up controversy. He has been criticized for glamourizing his criminal past and for sexually explicit performances. At around the age of 8, Akon moved from Senegal to New Jersey. The transition led to running with a bad crowd, involvement in car theft and prison at age 14.
Events earlier in his career have changed him profoundly. During a show in 2007, the music performer threw a 15-year-old boy off the stage, causing another young fan to suffer a concussion. He acknowledges that early in his career he did not represent Africa well. But on his latest effort Akon sings of being a changed man.
Looking forward, Akon says his objective is to give back to his continent. He’s set up Konfidence, a Senegalese foundation, to develop educational institutions and medical centers in the country. Rather than regret about his past, Akon is grateful that it has molded him into a better man. “I am going to keep improving, doing as much as I can, but I really want to create the greatest impact in Africa”, he says