Somalia native K’naan was a teenager when his family managed to escape the civil war- torn country in the early 1990s to settle in Canada.

But despite leaving that violence behind, memories of his home country’s strife were voiced in his songs as he pursued a music career.

His introduction to SMG / Rebel One’s Sol Guy opened doors for the artist, including a performance at the United Nations’ 50th anniversary concert in 1999. A collaboration and tour with Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour soon followed.

But K’naan’s career really took off after the 2009 release of Troubadour, which caught Coca Cola’s attention. The beverage manufacturer’s use of a remix of the album’s “Wavin’ Flag” as the anthem for this year’s FIFA World Cup in South African has brought K’naan’s blend of hip-hop, folk and Afrobeat to a global audience.

William Morris Endeavor’s Brian Edelman said he and co-agent Brian Ahern were intrigued by K’naan’s music and backstory.
“What really grabbed us was K’naan’s versatility. He is as unique as it gets. He is a poet, a singer, and a rapper with a wide array of songs,” Edelman told Pollstar. “He can write a deep, emotional song and then a club-banging pop hit. He has mass appeal and a real message that is rare in this world.”

K’naan wrapped up a two-year world tour Nov. 29 that took him to 82 countries and is currently back in the studio.


K’Naan has worked or toured with artists including Matisyahu, Will.i.am, Mos Def, Damian and Stephen Marley, The Roots, Dead Prez and Kirk Hammett.

The performer won songwriter and artist of the year at the 2010 Juno Awards.