Akon (born Aliaune Badara Akon Thiam), (pronounced /ˈeɪkɒn/), is a Senegalese-American R&B singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer, businessman, and philanthropist. He rose to prominence in 2004 following the release of "Locked Up”, the first single from his debut album Trouble. His second album, Konvicted, earned him a Grammy Award nomination of the single "Smack That". He has since found two record labels, Konvict Muzik and Kon Live Distribution. He is known as one of the most successful and versatile R&B singers of the 21st century, grossing over 30 million dollars a year according to Forbes. Akon often sings hooks for other artists and is currently accredited with over 300 guest appearances and 40 Billboard Hot 100 songs. He is the first solo artist to hold both the number one and two spots simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 charts twice. He has had 6 Grammy Awards nominations and has produced many hits for artists such as Lady Gaga, Colby O'Donis and Leona Lewis. Lady Gaga and T-Pain are two artists who were given their chance at fame by Akon.