Angelique Kidjo Biography

In this post we will talk about the biography of Angélique Kpasseloko Hinto Hounsinou Kandjo Manta Zogbin Kidjo, commonly known as Angelique Kidjo, who is a Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and activist from Benin, West Africa.

She is known for blending traditional African music with contemporary styles and addressing social and political issues in her music. With over a dozen albums and collaborations with numerous artists, Kidjo has been recognized for her contributions to music and activism with awards such as the Polar Music Prize and three Grammy Awards.

  • Full Name: Angélique Kpasseloko Hinto Hounsinou Kandjo Manta Zogbin Kidjo
  • Date of Birth: July 14, 1960
  • Place of Birth: Ouidah, Benin
  • Occupation: Singer-songwriter, activist
  • Spouse: Jean Hebrail (married in 1987)
  • Net Worth: According to Celebrity Net Worth, Angelique Kidjo’s net worth is estimated at $10 million as of 2021. However, it is important to note that net worth estimates can vary and may not be entirely accurate.

Early Life

Angelique Kidjo was born on July 14, 1960, in the town of Ouidah, located on the coast of Benin, West Africa. She grew up in a large family with seven siblings and was raised primarily by her mother, who was a choreographer and theater director.

Kidjo’s family had a strong musical background, and she was exposed to various traditional African rhythms and styles from a young age. She often sang with her mother’s theater troupe and developed a passion for music early on.

Despite facing some opposition from her family, who believed that music was not a respectable career for a woman, Kidjo was determined to pursue her passion.

She started performing in local bands and singing backup for established artists while studying music at the University of Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire.


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Early career

Angelique Kidjo moved to Paris in 1983 at the age of 23 due to political unrest in Benin that made it difficult for her to pursue her music career independently in her home country.

After arriving in Paris, Kidjo initially worked as a backup singer for various local bands. In 1985, she became the lead singer for Jasper Van’t Hof’s Euro-African jazz/rock band, Pili Pili.

During her time with Pili Pili, the group released three albums: “Jakka” in 1987, “Be In Two Minds” in 1988, and “Hotel Babo” in 1990. Kidjo’s involvement in the group helped her gain experience as a performer and expand her musical horizons by exploring new genres and styles.

In 1988, Angelique Kidjo collaborated with Cameroonian music producer Ekambi Brilliant and her brother Oscar to record the album “Pretty.”

The album included a tribute to one of Kidjo’s musical influences, singer Bella Bellow, in the song “Ninive, Gbe Agossi.” Its release helped establish Kidjo as a prominent musician in Benin and other West African countries, and she began touring the region.

Since then, Kidjo has released thirteen albums and numerous hit songs, music videos, soundtracks for movies, jingles, and documentaries. She has continued to use her music as a tool to advocate for social justice and inspire change.

Personal life

Angelique Kidjo has been married to Jean Hebrail, a French musician, composer, and producer, since 1987.

The couple met in Paris when Kidjo was starting out as a musician and Hebrail was working as a sound engineer. They have two children together, a daughter named Naima and a son named Sam.

Despite her busy career, Kidjo prioritizes her family life and has spoken about the importance of balancing her personal and professional responsibilities. She has also been an advocate for women’s rights and has spoken out against gender-based violence and discrimination.


Studio albums

  1. Pretty (1980)
  2. Ewa Ka Djo (1985)
  3. Parakou (1990)
  4. Logozo (1991)
  5. Ayé (1994)
  6. Fifa (1996)
  7. Oremi (1998)
  8. Black Ivory Soul (2002)
  9. Oyaya! (2004)
  10. Djin Djin (2007)
  11. Oyo (2010)
  12. Spirit Rising (with various artists) (2012)
  13. Eve (2014)
  14. Sings (2015)
  15. Remain in Light (2018)
  16. Celia (2019)

Live Albums:

  1. Live at Montreux Jazz Festival 1993 (2003)
  2. Oyo Live (2011)
  3. Sings (Live at the 2015 Saint Lucia Jazz Festival) (2016)

Collaboration Albums:

  1. Logozo Remixes (1992)
  2. Fifa Remixes (1996)
  3. Keep on Moving: The Best of Angelique Kidjo (2001)
  4. Black Ivory Soul Remixes (2003)
  5. Djin Djin Remixes (2008)
  6. Õÿö (with Branford Marsalis) (2009)
  7. Oyo Remixes (2011)
  8. Sing to the Moon (with Laura Mvula) (2013)
  9. Red Hot + Fela (with various artists) (2013)
  10. Angélique Kidjo & the Philip Glass Ensemble: Ifé: Three Yorùbá Songs (2018)

Soundtrack Albums:

  1. Tché (1999)
  2. The Black Panther: Music from and Inspired By (2018)
  3. Mother Nature (2021)


  1. Malaika (2016)


  1. “Agolo” (1994)
  2. “Wombo Lombo” (1996)
  3. “Babalao” (1998)
  4. “Afirika” (1998)
  5. “Adouma” (1999)
  6. “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” (2002)
  7. “Lay, Lady, Lay” (2003)
  8. “Awan N’La” (2004)
  9. “Salala” (with Peter Gabriel) (2008)
  10. “Gimme Shelter” (2010)
  11. “Move On Up” (2010)
  12. “Mbube” (2011)
  13. “Lonlon (Ravel’s Bolero)” (2011)
  14. “Naima” (2011)
  15. “Crosseyed and Painless” (2018)
  16. “Once in a Lifetime” (2018)
  17. “Quimbara” (2019)
  18. “Dignity” (with Yemi Alade) (2020)
  19. “Africa, One of a Kind” (with Mr Eazi) (2021)

Music Videos:

  1. “Batonga” (1991)
  2. “Agolo” (1994)
  3. “Wombo Lombo” (1996)
  4. “Babalao” (1998)
  5. “Adouma” (1999)
  6. “Afirika” (1999)
  7. “Malaika” (2016)
  8. “Once in a Lifetime” (2018)
  9. “La Vida Es Un Carnaval” (2021).

Awards And Recognition

  • Grammy Awards (4 wins) – 2008, 2015, 2016, 2020
  • Polar Music Prize – 2019
  • BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards (2 wins) – 2007, 2011
  • Songlines Music Awards – 2014
  • African Women of Excellence Awards – 2009
  • Order of Arts and Letters of France (Chevalier, Officier, and Commandeur) – 1998, 2006, 2015, 2019
  • Crystal Award from the World Economic Forum – 2015
  • BET Awards – 2007
  • NAACP Image Awards – 2018
  • Image Award from the United Nations Development Programme – 2010
  • Ambassador of Conscience Award from Amnesty International – 2016
  • Women’s Refugee Commission Voice of Courage Award – 2011
  • African Achievement Awards – 2002
  • BET Humanitarian Award – 2015
  • Harvard Foundation Artist of the Year Award – 2015
  • German Africa Prize – 2011
  • African Diaspora Awards – 2016
  • All Africa Music Awards (2 wins) – 2015, 2016
  • Yves Montand Award from the City of Cannes – 2019
  • Commandeur de la Legion d’honneur (Senegal) – 2018
  • Honorary Doctorate degrees from Yale University, Berklee College of Music, Middlebury College, and Columbia University – 2015, 2018, 2019, 2020
  • Time 100 Most Influential People in the World – 2011
  • Forbes Africa 50 Most Powerful Women – 2015
  • Forbes Africa Person of the Year – 2016
  • BET Black Girls Rock! Star Power Award – 2016
  • United Nations Foundation Global Leadership Award – 2016
  • Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence – 2018
  • Glamour Woman of the Year Award – 2018
  • The Arts and Culture Prize from the Danish Crown Prince Couple’s Awards – 2020
  • Soundtrack Cologne Lifetime Achievement Award – 2021

Honorary Doctorates Degree

Angelique Kidjo has received several honorary doctorate degrees from prestigious institutions around the world in recognition of her contributions to music and social justice.

In 2018, Kidjo received an honorary doctorate from Yale University in the United States, where she was recognized for her advocacy work on behalf of women and girls in Africa.

In 2019, she received another honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, for her achievements as a musician and cultural ambassador.

Kidjo has also been awarded honorary degrees from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, the University of Nantes in France, and the University of Évora in Portugal. These accolades reflect her status as a global icon and her commitment to using her platform to create positive change.


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Angelique Kidjo Quotes

  1. “Music has no language. When it finds a willing heart and spirit, it will connect and unite the most unlikely souls.”
  2. “I don’t make music for myself alone. I make music that I want to share with people.”
  3. “Artists are the gatekeepers of truth. We are civilization’s radical voice.”
  4. “Women’s rights are human rights. We have to fight against violence, rape, and human trafficking.”
  5. “The beauty of Africa is not just in its physical attributes but in its soul, its spirit, and its people.”
  6. “My music is my weapon. It’s my way to fight for peace, unity, and equality.”
  7. “Music is a language that goes beyond words. It’s a way to connect people from different cultures, countries, and backgrounds.”
  8. “In Africa, music is not just entertainment. It’s a way of life, a way to communicate, a way to celebrate, and a way to mourn.”
  9. “The greatest gift that music gives us is the ability to express our emotions and connect with others on a deep level.”
  10. “I believe that music can change the world. It has the power to heal, to inspire, and to bring people together.”
  11. “Music is a universal language. It can touch your heart, your soul, and your mind.”
  12. “I’m not a politician. I’m an artist. But I believe that artists have a role to play in shaping the world we live in.”
  13. “Music is a way to express yourself without any restrictions. It’s a way to be free.”
  14. “The world needs more love, more understanding, and more compassion. And I believe that music can help us achieve that.”
  15. “As an artist, I have a responsibility to speak the truth and to stand up for what I believe in.”

Social Media Handles

  • Twitter: @angeliquekidjo
  • Instagram: @angeliquekidjo
  • Facebook: @angeliquekidjo
  • YouTube: Angelique Kidjo


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