Singer who’s worked with both men weighs in on whether or not he believes the hype.
The Senegalese singer, who collaborated with the King of Pop on the song “Hold My Hand,” has also worked with Howard as both a musician and an executive, and said he’s always noticed a striking resemblance between the two.
“I’ve known B. for such a long time, and there’s always been this thing about how similar his mannerisms are and how close he resembles Michael Jackson,” Akon told BET.com. “From the speaking to everything, there was always that question there.”
The “Locked Up” singer added that no matter what’s revealed, he thinks the press Howard’s been getting is good for his career. “We don’t have full proof of everything just yet, but as it opens up, depending on conversations with B. Howard, we’ll determine [what he wants to reveal] at that moment,” noted Akon, concluding, “As for now, it works for him because it promotes him and then when the records come out, they’ll overshadow all the media attention with all the talent that he has.”
Meanwhile, Akon is focusing on his philanthropic endeavor “Akon Lighting Africa,” which he describes as “a call to the young generation’s entrepreneurs to come together and start building an infrastructure in Africa.”
“In order to build an infrastructure, we have to start with basic necessities, which is electricity. Electricity is one of the biggest problems that Africa has today mainly because of financial issues with the governments,” he said. “So we found a partner out in China called CJI, which is one of the leading solar energy companies, and we partnered with them. We started with nine countries in nine days and our goal is to light all of Africa.”
His next album, Stadium, is due out later this year, and, he said, it will actually be the springboard for a film, Duel. “My album will become the soundtrack for the film that I’m attaching to it,” he explained. “It’s co-directed by myself and [L.A.-bred music video director] Robby Starbuck.”
As far as his Konvict Muzik roster, he added, “I have a new artist named Harlee, who is really helping to strengthen my brand from an international standpoint, and her single ‘Warriors’ just premiered on Vevo, and then we got Joe Moses from the West Coast, who just dropped a mixtape called ‘JM HUHHH!’ and we’re also putting out his EP, which will have a mini-movie attached.”
Akon’s manager, Johnny Wright (who’s worked with acts like the Backstreet Boys, N’Sync and Britney Spears), will be helping him to guide the label and is giving him a boost of confidence, he said.
“What a lot of people have done in a lifetime, Johnny has done about three or four times,” Akon noted. “When you look at his profile — from Backstreet Boys to N’Sync to Justin Timberlake — he’s figured out a system that works, and when you pair up with someone that knows how it works like that, and then add my experience on the creative side, I don’t see how this thing couldn’t be successful.”