6 Nigerian celebrities with unbelievable grass-to-grace stories

While some celebrities were born into privileged families, others had to work their way up from scratch.


These stories serve as a source of inspiration for millions of Nigerians, empowering them to believe that, with hard work and perseverance, they too can attain greatness.

Hop in as we take a look at six Nigerian celebrities who have overcome difficult circumstances to become successful in their respective fields:

Unlike some other artists who were born into wealthy families and had a head start in their careers, Wizkid had to work his way up from the bottom.

Born Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, he began pursuing music at the young age of 11. In his early days, who used to be known as Lil Prinz, had to hustle and grind to make it in the industry. He spent countless hours in the studio in order to perfect his craft.

His early years were spent in Surulere and Ojuelegba, two neighbourhoods in Lagos known for their vibrant music scene.

His breakthrough moment came when he tweeted at Banky W, a renowned Nigerian musician. Banky W saw the tweet and was impressed by Wizkid’s talent, leading to a collaboration between the two.

Wizkid recorded with other top pop artists such as OJB Jezreel and Naeto C. In 2011, he released his debut studio album, ‘Superstar’, which quickly catapulted him to fame and success.

Since then, Wizkid has continued to soar to new heights, becoming one of Nigeria’s most successful musicians and gaining international recognition.

He has won several awards, including the BET Awards, MOBO Awards, and MTV Africa Music Awards, and has collaborated with several international artists, including Drake, Beyoncé, and Skepta.

Wizkid’s influence and impact on Nigerian music are unparalleled. He has helped to popularise Afrobeats, a genre of music that blends African rhythms and Western sounds and has taken Nigerian music to a global audience.

Today, Wizkid is a household name in Nigeria and beyond, with millions of fans around the world.

 Linda Ikeji

Linda Ikeji is a renowned Nigerian blogger, writer, social media influencer, model, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Her life journey has been a testament to the resilience of a woman who has overcome various challenges.

Her passion for writing started at the young age of 10 and only continued to grow. After graduating from the University of Lagos with a bachelor’s degree in English language, Ikeji embarked on a journey as a struggling entrepreneur and tried her hand at various businesses.

She began her modelling career in 1998 and even modelled for the ‘Rose of Sharon’ label owned by Nigerian billionaire and oil tycoon, Folorunsho Alakija.

It was not until 2006 that she found her true calling and established her blog, Linda Ikeji’s Blog. Though it was a slow start, her blog gained traction, and by 2010, Linda had become a household name, thanks to her popular blog, which now rakes in millions of dollars annually.

Today, she is the highest-paid blogger in Nigeria and is renowned worldwide for her blog.


Born and raised in Ajegunle, Lagos, he discovered his love for music at a young age, singing and playing the drums from the age of four. His passion for the bass guitar developed when he was 12 before he went on to study business management at Ambrose Alli University in Edo state.

Don Jazzy moved to London in 2000 to play the drums for a neighbourhood church, where he worked odd jobs, including at McDonald’s and as a security guard. Despite this, he never lost his love for music and continued to hone his craft, building on his knowledge of traditional and percussion instruments.

In 2002, Donjazzy burst onto the entertainment scene, collaborating with D’banj to form Mo’ Hits Records. His exceptional production skills were evident in hits like ‘No Long Thing’ and ‘Rundown’, and he became known for his unforgettable producer tag, “It’s Don Jazzy Again.”

He created Mavin Records in 2012, an entertainment powerhouse responsible for grooming some of the best artists in the Nigerian music industry; Rema, Tiwa Savage, Reekado Banks, Korede Bello, Johnny Drille, Ayra Starr, Boy Spyce, among others.

Today, Don Jazzy is one of the most influential producers in Nigeria, a testament to his hard work and consistency. His success story serves as an inspiration to anyone who dreams of making it big in the music industry.

Nollywood screen goddess Mercy Johnson Okojie [Instagram/MercyJohnsonOkojie]

Born in Okene, a small town in Kogi State, Nigeria, Mercy had a rough start in life. Despite facing numerous challenges, including living in an unfinished building and struggling to make ends meet, she remained steadfast in her pursuit of success.

In 2004, Johnson joined the Nigerian movie industry, also known as Nollywood. She worked hard to perfect her craft, and in 2005, her breakout role in the tragic movie ‘The Maid’ won her the award for Most Promising Actress in Nigeria at the 2005 Africa Movie Academy Awards.

Her ability to portray emotional characters with ease and authenticity quickly made her a fan favourite.

Over the years, she has continued to shine, winning numerous awards for her outstanding performances in films such as ‘Dumebi’. Her talent, hard work, and determination have made her one of the most successful actresses in Nollywood, and she has also ventured into other areas such as producing, cooking, and philanthropy.

Mercy Johnson, whose story changed for the better, has never forgotten her humble beginnings and remains a source of inspiration, showing that with hard work and determination, anything is possible.

Adekunle Gold

This is the success story of the “King of Photoshop”, who has since gone on to achieve great success as a globally celebrated musician.

Adekunle Almoruf Kosoko, professionally known by his stage name Adekunle Gold or AG Baby, is a singer and songwriter. His love for music led him to join his church choir at a young age, where he spent 11 years drawing inspiration from the likes of King Sunny Ade and Evangelist Ebenezer Obey.

His journey to the limelight began after the release of his cover of One Direction’s ‘Story of My Life’, titled “Sade.” He released his first official single titled ‘Orente’ through YBNL Nation after signing a music contract with the record label in 2015.

Aside from his music, he gained popularity online for his incredible, hilarious photoshopped pictures with celebrities.

He went on to release three more albums, with his fourth studio album titled ‘Catch Me If You Can’ which featured guest appearances from Davido, Fatoumata Diawara, Lucky Daye, Stefflon Don, Foushee, and TY Dolla $ign.

Adekunle’s album ‘Gold’ made it to the No. 7 spot on the Billboard World Album Chart for the week, and his music is frequently played on various TV stations. He has since worked with several A-list local and international singers, and his story remains an inspiration to up-and-coming musicians.

Patoranking (Instagram/PatorankingFIre)

Born Patrick Nnaemeka Okorie, the singer and songwriter has made a name for himself by infusing reggae and dancehall with a distinct Nigerian flavour. His stage name, “Patoranking,” was given to him by a Jamaican friend he met at Alpha Beach in Lagos.

He developed a love for reggae music at an early age, largely influenced by Bob Marley’s music, which he was exposed to as a child. Growing up in Ebute Metta, a neighbourhood in Lagos, Patoranking did all sorts of menial jobs just to survive, but his passion for music never died.

He started out as a street dancer, and he performed at street jams and carnivals before moving to Ghana to pursue his big dream of becoming a musician.

Patoranking’s success story is nothing short of remarkable. Despite growing up in the ghetto, he never let his circumstances hinder his aspirations. Instead, he used his background as a stepping stone to greatness.

His story truly took a turn for the better when he collaborated with one of Africa’s top dancehall acts, Timaya, to produce the single ‘Alubarika.’ This collaboration changed the game for him and opened doors he never thought possible.

Patoranking’s tenacity and dedication to his craft are qualities that have propelled him to the top of his field. He is a legend in his own right, and his legacy will continue to inspire generations to come.

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