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Angelique Kidjo Biography, Personal life, Career, Albums, Songs, Books, Grammy Awards, and Recognition

Angelique Kidjo is a Beninese singer-composer, actress, and human rights activist. She is an ambassador at UNICEF International Goodwill, the first African woman named in 2002. Moreover, she has been crowned a fifth-time Grammy and one of the greatest artists in international music.

In total Kidjo has released thirteen albums, various singles, videos, and soundtrack for films, jingles, and documentaries.

Moreover, he is the co-founder of the Batonga Foundation. And as an activist, she defended women, health, peace, and other global issues, both as an individual and by various organizations, including Oxfam.

Angelique Kidjo’s background

Angelique Kidjo was born on July 14, 1960, in Ouidah, Benin to a nine family. Her father is of Fon descent and the mother of Yoruba origin. So because of her background, she is multilingual; They fluently in French, English, and three other African languages, including Fon and Yoruba. Moreover, her parents were involved in music; Her father was a musician, and her mother was a choreographer and theater director.

As a result, Kidjo has been presenting for more than 6 years, already with the theater troupe of the mother, allowing her to appreciate traditional music and dancing. In addition, she sang in her school tire, Les Sphinx and when she got older, she sang in her brother’s rhythm and blues band.

As a teenager, Kidjo was successful when her adaptation of Les Trois Z was played by Maria Makeba on National Radio. At the age of 20, she was already a professional singer.

Kidjo was inspired by music breeds of African artists, such as; Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Jimi Hendrix, Steve Wonder, Otis Redding, Fela Kuti, James Brown, and many others.

Angelique Kidjo Career

In 1983 she moved to Paris because of politics stirring in Benin prevented them that she was an independent artist in her own country.

First, she started as a backup singer in some local bands. Then, in 1985, she became the front singer for Jasper van’t Hof’s Jazz / Rock Outfit Pili Pili. Three albums were launched in Pili Pili; Jakko (1987), be in two spirits (1988), and Hotel Babo (1990). Moreover, she looked at CIM, a reputable jazz school where she studied music.

Then, in 1988, Angelique registered an album, beautiful. It was with a beautiful Cameronianian Cameronian producer and his brother Oscar. He counted on the songs “Ninive”, and “Gbe Agossi” a tribute to the singer Bella below, one of her models. The album became a success and therefore she made her tour in West Africa.

She then released the Album Solo Parakou in the 90s to the open jazz label. So based on his solo record and work with Pili Pili, she reached the attention of Chris Blackwell from the island that it has signed in 1991. In addition, she took four albums to the island until the Blackwell of the label departure. In 2000 she was signed by Columbia Records, New York, and registered two albums there.

She then started taking other successful albums.

angelique kidjo

Angelique Kidjo Personal Life

While in Paris, Angelique Jean Hebrial met. Jean is a musician and French producer who helped her with musical productions. Because of the strong chemistry among them, they were married in 1987. Then she gave birth to a daughter in 1993, Naimat Hebrial Kidjo.

Naimat is an actress, writer, and a source of inspiration for her mother.

Angelique Kigo albums

Angelique held various local and international concerts, such as; The Hall Carnegie, NYC, the UN General Meeting, the Nobel Prize Ceremony, and many others. She also performed for high profiled individuals in the world. They produced different albums, Hit singles, videos, and soundtracks for TV programs, films, and documentaries.

Include her albums;

  • Pretty, 1981
  • Parakou, 1989
  • Logozo, 1991
  • Aye, 1994
  • Fifa, 1996
  • Oremi, 1998
  • Black Ivory Soul, 2002
  • Oyaya, 2004
  • Djin Djin, 2007
  • Oyo, 2010
  • Spirit Rising, 2012
  • Eve, 2014
  • Sings with the Ochestre Philharmonique Du Luxemborg, 2015
  • Remain in Light, 2018
  • Celia, 2019

In addition to various other indications, herbons; Djin Djin, Eva, Sings and Celia won the Grammy Awards in 2008, 2015, 2016 and 2020


In 2014 she released her first book, a spirit of memories that rises: my life, my music. Moreover, she has released the book; La voix est le miroir de l’ame.

The Batonga Foundation

Angelique Kijo is an activist, passionate about women’s and girls’ education. In addition to being the ambassador of Unicef ​​International Goodwill and champion of different campaigns, she has coordinated the Batonga Foundation. The foundation was established in 2006 by Mary Louise Cohen and John R. Philips.

In short, young women and girls try to achieve in Benin with knowledge and skills that have to be agents of change in their own lives and communities. Supports primary, secondary, and superior settings for girls in Africa. Moreover, it offers stock subsidies, Built secondary schools, increases registration, improves educational patterns, offers school supplies, supports mentoring programs, researches models of alternative education, and proponents for Community consciousness about the value of girls.

The name Batonga came from one of the songs that are sung by Kidjo. Moreover, the initiative has various partner organizations that support its mission.

angelique kidjo

Awards And Recognition

Angelique Kidjo is a multi-award-winning singer-songwriter. She has received several local and international recognition.

Some of it include;

  • Prix Decouverte RFI SACEM, 1991
  • Octave RFI, 1992
  • Prix Afrique en Creation, 1992
  • Danish Music Awards, Best Female Singer, 1995
  • Kora Music Awards, Best African Female Artist, 1997
  • MOBO Awards, Best World Music Act, 2002
  • Medaille De Vermeil De La Ville De Paris, 2004
  • Africa-Festival Award, 2006
  • SAFDA African Pride Award, 2006
  • Crystal Award, World Economic Forum, 2015
  • Conscience Award, Amnesty International Ambassador, 2016
  • Antonio Carlos Jobim Award, 2007
  • N.A.A.C.P Image Award for Outstanding World Music Album, 2008
  • Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album, 2008
  • Go Global World Music Award, 2008
  • Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Republic, 2008
  • Commander of the National Order of Benin, 2008
  • National Council for Research on Women, 2009
  • Afropop Hall of Fame, 2009
  • New York Women’s Foundation, 2009
  • Premio Tenco Prize, 2009
  • Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, 2010
  • Grand Prix Des Musiques Du Monde De La Sacem, 2010
  • Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary World Music Album, 2011
  • Prix Special de la Francophonie, 2011
  • Champions of the Earth Award, 2011
  • Miroir Awards, World Music of the Festival d’ete de Quebec, 2012
  • Trophee Des Arts, FIAF French Institute, Alliance Francaise, 2012

Other Awards Also Include;

  • Keep A Child Alive’s Award for Outstanding Humanitarian Work with Oprah Winfrey, 2012
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from the African Diaspora Awards, 2012
  • Confederation Internationale des Societes d’Auteurs et Compositeurs (CISAC), 2013
  • Songlines Music Awards, Best Artist Category, 2013
  • The Dag Hammerskjold Fund, 2014
  • All African Music Awards, 2014
  • Arms Around the Child Award, 2014
  • Visionary Leadership Award, 2015
  • Grammy Award, Best Contemporary World Music Album, Sings, 2015
  • Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album, 2015
  • Mappie Award, 2015
  • David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award, 2015
  • Impact Award, Population Council Organization, 2015
  • All Africa Leadership Award, 2016
  • Ambassador of Conscience Award, Amnesty International, 2016
  • Officer of the Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, 2016
  • African Movie Academy Awards, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, 2017
  • Grand Prix Des Musiques Du Monde, 2017
  • Charles de Ferry de Fontnouvelle Award, 2018
  • Prix De L’Artiste Citoven, 2018
  • First World Pioneer Award, Songlines Magazine Music Awards, 2018
  • German Sustainability Award, 2018
  • Musicultura Unimarche Prize, Universities of Macerata and Camerino, 2019
  • Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, 2019
  • Distinguished Artist Award, International Society for the Performing Arts, 2020
  • Best World Music Album, 62 Annual Grammy Awards, 2020
  • Best Global Music Album, 64 Annual Grammy Award “Mother Nature, 2022


  • Africa’s premier Diva, Time Magazine, 2007
  • 50 Most Iconic figures on the continent, BBC Africa, 2010
  • First woman among the 40 Most powerful Celebrities in Africa, Forbes Magazine, 2011
  • One of the Top 100 Most Inspiring Women in art film, music and fashion The Guardian, 2011
  • The Undisputed Queen of African music, Daily Telegraph, 2012
  • Africa’s greatest living diva, National Public Radio (NPR), 2013
  • Most Influential Africans, New African Magazine & Jeune Afrique, 2014
  • 100 most influential women, Forbes Afrique, 2015

Honorary Doctorates Degree

The following institutions have honored Angelique Kidjo with an honorary doctorate degree;

  • Yale University
  • Berklee College of Music
  • Middlebury College
  • UCLouvain University

Angelique Kidjo Quotes

Your brain is your biggest weapon. Connect it to your heart, and you can go anywhere.”

“Everybody wins when children, and especially girls – have access to education. An educated girl is likely to increase her personal potential and prepare for a productive and satisfactory life, as well as reduce poverty throughout the community. Investing in education for Girls also helps to delay early marriage and paternity. Our growing economies in Africa need more engineers, teachers, and doctors to thrive and sustain growth. “

“You can not turn people into society if people are not part of the change.”

“It is proven that when women are educated, the country’s ability rises immediately.”

“From the moment you are clear in your vision and how you project this vision in your family, your community, and in the world, that’s all that matters.”

Frequently Asked Question About Angelique Kidjo

How old is Angelique Kidjo?

Angelique Kidjo is 62 years, Kidjo was born on July 14, 1960, in Ouidah, Benin into a family of nine.

Who is Angelique Kidjo husband?

Jean Hébrail is Angelique husband; Jean is a French musician and producer who assisted her with musical productions. Due to the strong chemistry between them, they got married in 1987.

Is Angelique Kidjo a Yoruba?

Kidjo was born in Ouidah, Benin. Her father is from the Fon people of Ouidah and her mother is from the Yoruba people.


Angelique Kidjo is a Beninese singer-composer, actress, and human rights, activist. She is an ambassador at UNICEF International Goodwill, the first African woman named in 2002. Moreover, she has crowned a fifth-time Grammy and one of the greatest artists in international music.