Akon, thanks to his financial stability, has been able to incorporate “a greater African influence” into his creative work.
The 50-year-old celebrity achieved significant success in the earlier phases of his career with various chart-topping singles like ‘Lonely’ and ‘Locked Up.’ Nevertheless, his musical style has evolved over time, and he no longer experiences the pressure to produce chart-toppers.
The artist, who was born in the United States but spent part of his childhood in Senegal, expressed to ‘BBC Newsbeat’: “Music no longer serves as my primary source of income; it has now taken a back seat, possibly ranking around tenth.”
Akon attributes his financial freedom to the capacity to “infuse more cultural elements” into his music.
He elaborated, saying, “I can now derive enjoyment from it without getting involved in the politics and the complexities of the music industry.”
Akon’s latest EP, ‘Afro Freaks,’ heavily embraces Afrobeats, a music genre that has gained global popularity in recent years thanks to artists like Wizkid and Burna Boy.
However, Akon recalls a time when US record executives dismissed the genre.
The musician, who has collaborated with artists such as Eminem and Snoop Dogg throughout his career, recounted, “I can still remember the early 2000s when I was attempting to promote Afrobeats in the United States; they mistakenly categorized it as Reggae music.
“It was quite frustrating trying to convey to them the significance of the African audience, and how this music would shape the future.
“Unfortunately, I encountered significant resistance.”
Akon believes that social media has played a pivotal role in the genre’s success.
He commented, “I think social media has had a substantial impact in expanding the influence of various music genres, as we did not have many platforms available at that time.”