Akon has been out of the spotlight for a few years, but he’s coming back – in a big way.
Grammy-nominated singer, rapper and producer, Akon is set to embark on his Canadian Promo tour for the highly-anticipated release of his newest album collection, Stadium. He’ll be performing here at Evergreen Hall on September 19.
Akon is breaking new ground with his plans for Stadium. It will be not one, but five albums, in five different genres.
“Through travelling and touring all around the world, I’ve found that my different styles of music are successful with different people,” Akon explains in a conversation last week with The Progress.
Fans of his pop music often haven’t heard his urban side, he explains, and vice versa among all of his styles as a versatile artist.
“I realized that there’s a major opportunity there,” he says. The new set of Stadium albums will allow fans to explore every facet of Akon’s artistic abilities.
Since releasing Freedom in 2008, fans were expecting Stadium to come out in 2010. After being delayed several times, Akon had plenty of time to get to know his audience, which shaped Stadium into the ambitious project that it’s become.
Stadium’s five genres will be: Pop, Euro, Urban, Island, and World. To get a sense for the various styles, Akon has released one song off of each album.
Stadium will be released in an app format. One album will be available to start with, while the other four albums will be “unlocked” over time, depending on user engagement. The more that fans listen to the music, the faster they will get new music.
“This is the first time something like this has ever been done, or even attempted,” Akon explains regarding Stadium’s app release.
Expanding into new territory is something that Akon practises outside of music as well.
The Promo tour supports Akon’s humanitarian initiative, Akon Lighting Africa (ALA), which aims to electrify rural areas in Africa. From childhood to age seven, Akon didn’t have electricity at his home in Senegal. While visiting home in 2013, he decided that “something had to be done.”
The goal is to create a sustainable solar economy. Through ALA’s various partnerships, the program provides an average $75,000 investment per village. In addition to providing infrastructure, the program empowers locals by “providing jobs and training to allow them to build and maintain solar energy,” Akon explains.
Rural electricity not only improves access to personal amenities, it also stimulates economic growth by allowing local businesses to have access to the night market.
Today, ALA has brought electricity to more than one million homes in 14 African countries, and they are continuing to grow.
After a busy tour promoting both the album and the ALA program, Akon will perform his last date here in Chilliwack, at Evergreen Hall on September 19. In comparison to the other dates in major Canadian cities, this performance will be “small and intimate, it’s going to create a little ripple for the super fans,” Akon says.
“The entire tour will build the excitement for the album release and other special surprises” to be announced at the show, Akon adds.
Akon will be on stage “hosting a massive party” with Karl Wolf in new band, BAE (Be All Equal), along with Peter Jackson and many other performers.
Tickets $55 at Prospera Centre (45323 Hodgins Ave) or at prosperacentre.com, VIP tickets are also available.