Joeboy Biography: Facts, real name, early life, rise to fame, awards & more
Joseph Akinfenwa Donus is a Nigerian contemporary R&B singer who goes by the stage name, Joeboy. He has written his name in the Nigerian music history book although still a rising star. While Joeboy is still considered new to the music industry, his mastery of mixing Afro-pop and R&B has gained him lots of fans.
Joeboy has, since his rise to stardom, thrilled both fans and neutrals with scintillating sounds from his seemingly indispensable bank of ‘good songs’. Thus, while considering Joeboy’s biography, we will highlight the songs that announced him.
However, first, we give a brief breakdown of important facts about Joeboy. See a list of every vital information you should have about Joeboy. You may choose between either watching the video or reading the top 10 facts about the amazing Joeboy.
10 facts about Joeboy that everyone should know
- Joeboy’s real name is Joseph Akinfenwa Donus and he is a Nigerian from the Yoruba tribe.
- Joseph Akinfenwa Donus who is popularly called Joeboy was born on 21st May 1997. He is 23 years old on his birthday this May 2020.
- Joeboy was influenced by his father who played church keyboard and his brother who was a member of the choir.
- Joeboy is a student of Human Resource at the popular University of Lagos.
- The talented artiste started making music at the age of 17.
- Joeboy first became popular after his cover of Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You got large listenership worldwide which brought him to the attention of Mr Eazi.
- He was the first artiste to receive sponsorship from Mr Eazi under the philanthropic initiative, emPawa Africa.
- Joeboy mentions that he recorded his major hit track, Baby, under 45 minutes.
- He was the winner of the 2020 Soundcity MVP award for Best Pop artiste.
- Joseph Akinfenwa Donus who many know by his stage name, Joeboy, released his first EP, Love & Light in November 2019. The album contains five hit songs and features Mayorkun in one of the tracks.
Joeboy Biography: Early life
Joeboy’s full name is Joseph Akinfenwa Donus and he was born on 21st May 1997 to a very religious family. According to sources, his father played the keyboard in the church while his elder brother was a member of the choir.
Joseph Akinfenwa attended primary and secondary school in Lagos State. During his secondary school days, his peers nicknamed him ‘Joeboy’. This is likely the short form of his first name Joseph and the addition of ‘boy’ to it. The name grew with him.
After he completed secondary school, he went on to study Human Resources at the University of Lagos, popularly known as Unilag. The university is one of five first-generation universities in Nigeria and was founded in 1962. Joeboy s still a student of the university and s juggling music with his academic studies.
However, before entering university, his love for music had already matured. It was set in motion by some factors that we will point out in the next section.
Is Joeboy Ghanaian?
No, he is not a Ghanaian. Joeboy is a Nigerian and he is from the Yoruba tribe. Many people mistake him for a Ghanaian because he mixes some sounds from the country with his songs. Joeboy has addressed this saying he wants his song to sound as African as possible. We will shed more light on this in the section about his personal life.
Joeboy Biography: Early career
As we already disclosed, Joeboy had early music influences in the person of his father and elder brother. However, another major motivator was that his elder brother gave him the opportunity to meet with big Nigerian artistes at an early age.
He got to be in the studio with 9ice and ID Cabasa, who were some early pioneers of street Afro-pop in Nigeria. This likely showed him his career path early in life. According to him, he has been making music since he was 17 years old. Joeboy recorded a less known song titled “Gbeseyin” at around that time.
However, according to Joeboy, his career officially kicked off in 2017. At that time, he was 20 years old and had released a cover of Ed Sheeran’s song – Shape of You. The song garnered huge responses that set the singer on the right track. You can listen to one of the earliest original versions we found online here:
This cover also caught the attention of renowned Nigerian singer Mr Eazi, who pushed the Banku music narrative into mainstream music.
Mr Eazi signs Joeboy
Joeboy reveals in an interview with Pulse that when he did the Shape of You cover, he had only known of the song the previous day. He said, back then he listened to rap music than any other genre.
However, Mr Eazi got to hear of the song via an Instagram friend who Joeboy said he didn’t know at that time. He says:
“She didn’t know me, but she said she was going to send it to a bunch of artists. She sent it to Wizkid and so forth.”
Then, he revealed that while he was preparing for exams, he discovered that Mr Eazi had liked the video with his verified account. He also got a message that included the artiste’s phone number and a request to call Mr Eazi.
That was how Joeboy met Mr Eazi. The duo started working together after Mr Eazi agreed to mentor him, giving him the needed boost. Joeboy was the first artist to be signed under Mr Eazi’s emPawa Africa initiative.
Joeboy biography: Music career
Working with Mr Eazi, Joeboy began to officially release songs. The first song he dropped was Realest with contribution from Triple N. The song dropped in December 2017 and had a mixture of trap and R&B ingredients.
He also released Mind before collaborating with Mr Eazi himself in 2018 to release Faaji. Faaji was one of the first songs released under the emPawa Africa project, founded by Mr Eazi.
It was after Faaji dropped that Joeboy became much more experimental with his sound. This was what led to the production of Baby, Joeboy’s biggest hit to date.
According to Joeboy, he was scheduled for his 2019 debut with a Ghanian artiste named KiDi. KiDi is a Ghanaian highlife and Afrobeats singer-songwriter.
However, while the production was still on for his collaboration, he received a beat from BeatByKO, who was his official producer at the time. Dara The Boy had created the beat and was looking for an artiste that would do justice to it.
According to Joeboy, it took him about 45 minutes to record Baby. He said he himself had felt the hook he used was perfect but he sent it to Mr Eazi first. Eazi himself liked the song and previewed it on his Instagram Story and Twitter.
After people showed initial love for the song, Joeboy released it as an official single on 1st March 2019. He also dropped a visualiser, on YouTube, along with the single. Currently, the visualiser has over 26 million views on the video-sharing website.
Meanwhile, an official video for Baby was also published on YouTube in May 2019, which currently has over six million views on YouTube, less than a quarter of the visualiser version.
Some people have commented that the visualiser visual was better than that of the video. You can check both out to compare for yourself as we’ve embedded them in the article.
The song took Joeboy to the 2020 Soundcity MVP Awards under the Song of the Year category. While he lost out on that contest, he won the award for Best Pop artiste among many other nominations.
In August 2019, Joeboy served his listeners with another top tier song. The song titled Beginning also panders to the love tune that Baby had established. Beginning also sat well with music enthusiasts and helped further cement the artiste’s name as one who had come to stay and not a one time wonder.
Joeboy Love & Light EP and latest songs
In November 2019, Joeboy released his first major project, the Love & Light EP. It featured his two hit singles Baby and Beginning. It also served us the irresistible earworm, Don’t Call Me Back. There are five songs on the amazing project and the other two are titled All For You and Blessings.
Don’t Call Me Back
In collaboration with Mayourkun, Joeboy delivered exceptionally on the track Don’t Call Me back. It again tells a story of love, this time, about one that had gone sour.
It also panders Joeboy’s statement about the Nigerian audience likes to listen to love songs. The musician had told Pulse in July 2019:
“Yes, we actually do. We love love, we just like to form hard guy for each other.”
In March 2020, Joeboy, Mr Eazi and DJ Neptune came together on a track titled Nobody. This is Joeboy latest song at the time of writing.
You can listen to Nobody by Joeboy, Mr Eazi and DJ Neptune below:
Joeboy debut album “Somewhere Between Beauty & Magic”
On 4 February 2021, Joeboy released his debut album “Somewhere Between Beauty & Magic“. The album is built around the theme of love and the singer is the only vocalist on the project; he didn’t feature any other artist.
The award-winning afro-pop artiste shared the artwork and tracklist of the album on his Twitter page on Monday, 1 February 2021 while appreciating how his music has become a source of hope for the masses and how he is completely immersed in all music rhythm.
He wrote: “Having to create records that are life changing is one of life’s greatest gifts to humanity. I’ve lived in the music to a point where I found myself immersed in all of it’s rhythm.
“I present to you my Debut album ‘Somewhere Between Beauty and Magic’ #SBBM
The 14-track album was produced by Dera, Type A, BeatsByKO, MOG, Big Fish, Tempoe, Mex Flairz, E Kelly, Killertunes and Semzy, and was mixed by Oxygen Mix and mastered by E Kelly, Oxygen Mix and Air.
Joeboy use of visualisers
While speaking with Pulse in an interview, Joeboy explained why many of his songs first drop with visualisers. According to the singer, it boils down to the fact that visualisers are less expensive to make than videos and also because they encourage people to watch and engage with the songs.
His words: “It (visualizer) is helping young artists because it is less expensive than an actual video. That comic effects it brings make people want to watch it… I see videos of children watching visualizers and they’re trying to mimic the dance (on visualizers)… I won’t lie, it helped with ‘Baby’.
“They (music videos) will always be necessary (as a promotion tool). Dropping a song without a visual representation is like you have not actually dropped the song… I think there’s a lot of music out there that people won’t just download your music based on your artwork. They need to see something.”
While Joeboy is popularly seen as an Afrobeats singer who spots the trademark dreadlocks that many other artistes seem to favour, he still puts God first place in his life. In an interview with Chima Kelechi, published on Medium, Joeboy says his music inspirations come from God. He explains:
“Well I won’t say it’s God that’s the inspiration all the time, it could be a little child, it can be anything, it can be your mood, your environment but [in] the end it’s God that controls everything.”
He is also not a fan of being placed in a particular genre. To him, his music is basically African and must have “a spark of African teckno sound”.
Joeboy also mentions that when he chose to enter music fulltime, his family supported him without reservation.
Meanwhile, he acknowledges how big a contribution Mr Eazi’s emPawa Africa initiative has made to his musical development. He says:
“They helped me. That’s why I’m doing all the shakara I’m doing for labels that are offering me N5 million now. Before emPawa, omo, I will jump on it o.
“But… They helped with knowledge, platform and how we can promote our music through our phones – like the easiest way through social media; how to promote yourself by yourself… For starters, it actually really helped and they’re still supporting with knowledge and back up and connect.”
“For example in the music videos, you actually need a stylist to get you the right stuff cos most times the artists are usually busy recording and working on other stuff and tend to neglect their fashion style.”
He concedes that he likes how Luka Sabbat fashion sense. Luka Sabbat is an up-and-coming American actor.
In addition, Joeboy mentions that collaborations are very important as it allows for dedicated fans to crossover once in a while when there favourites work with another artiste.
Joeboy biography: Girlfriend and romantic relationship
While Joeboy has never stated publicly that he was in a relationship, many have speculated that he has a girlfriend. They make reference to one of his tweets where he posted a picture of himself and an unnamed lady.
Joeboy had posted on his official Twitter page:
Apanto peperenpe pic.twitter.com/Ewr9clAfWv
— JOEBOY (@joeboyofficial) February 5, 2020
However, it turns out that it was a scene from the music video for Nobody, which Joeboy collaborated on with Mr Eazi and DJ Neptune.
So, Joeboy appears to be single at the moment and if he has a girlfriend, is keeping her out of the public eyes at the moment.
Joeboy: Net worth
At this time, we are not sure how much Joeboy is worth. This is because there is no verifiable information on how much money he has at the moment. However, many online magazines like Nigerian Guide claims that Joeboy is worth over NGN30 million.
Since we are not sure about the validity of the claim, we advise that readers disregard this figure. It appears to be a wild guess.
Joeboy has become a popular name on the lips of everyone who loves African music. While the artiste has said that he wants to be as well known globally as Michael Jackson was, he has started on a good footing.
It is also impressive that Joeboy is juggling university education with his music career and doing both quite well. We cannot just wait for when he is actually done with his Bachelor’s degree and get to face his career squarely. Surely, the sky will be the limit for him.
Bonus Joeboy information
List of Joeboy songs
- Don’t Call Me Back
- All For You
Best Pop Artiste at 2020 Soundcity MVP Awards.