Aliaune Damala Badara Akon Thiam (born April 16, 1973), professionally known as simply Akon, is a Senegalese American R&B and hip hop recording artist, songwriter, record producer and businessman. He rose to prominence in 2004 following the release of "Locked Up", the first single from his debut album Trouble. He has since founded two successful record labels, Konvict Muzik and Kon Live Distribution. His second album, "Konvicted" received three nominations for the Grammy Awards in two categories, Best Contemporary R&B Album for "Konvicted" album and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Smack That" and "I Wanna Love You". He is the first solo artist to hold both the number one and two spots simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 charts twice. Akon often sings hooks for other artists and is currently credited with over 300 guest appearances and more than 35 Billboard Hot 100 songs. He has worked with numerous performers such as Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Whitney Houston, Lil Wayne, 50 Cent, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Gwen Stefani and many more artists. He has had five Grammy Awards nominations and has produced many hits for artists such as Lady Gaga, Colby O'Donis, Kardinal Offishall and Leona Lewis. Lady Gaga and T-Pain are two artists who were given their chance at fame by Akon. 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.