The Real Reason Gwen Stefani Didn't Want To Work With Akon

Three-time Grammy award-winning artist Gwen Stefani has had a lasting impact on the music industry (via Recording Academy). Her tenure as No Doubt's lead singer propelled her into musical stardom, per Screen Rant, and paved the way for her successful career as a songwriter and solo artist. Stefani's voice is instantly recognizable, and her energy on stage is unparalleled.

Stefani has been active since the '90s, and entertainment platform MEAWW points out that her influence even shows in her coaching style on NBC's singing competition show "The Voice." Vogue credits the singer-songwriter's eclectic style and female perspective in a male-dominated music industry for her former band's early success, showing how far her influence goes.

Stefani's solo career has been just as impactful and has spawned mega hits including "Hollaback Girl." Billboard reports that the "Used to Love You" singer's 3rd studio album release "This is What the Truth Feels Like" reached number one on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart. According to Rolling Stone, this gives her the legendary status of being one of five female performers to earn a chart-topping album both in a musical group and as a solo artist. Stefani's decades-long career is filled with catchy gems. But as popular as her music is today, some songs almost didn't come to fruition.

Gwen Stefani's hit single The Sweet Escape almost didn't happen

Gwen Stefani's 2007 collaboration with Akon was a smashing success and earned a Grammy nomination Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals (via Recording Academy). But Stefani told MTV that their collaboration almost didn't happen. "That was a totally unexpected track that I would never imagine I would have on this record," she explained. "People kept saying you have to work with this guy Akon, and I didn't know who he was. I was in my pregnancy bubble, and you don't really know what's going on in the outside world."

The "Cool" singer admitted that she ended up cancelling on Akon at first before being convinced that doing so would be a musical mistake. "I think I even canceled a session with him. The head of my label called me and he was like, 'You can cancel everything else in your life, but don't cancel this session.' I thought I was going in for this generic hip-hop, but it was really fresh and fun."

Though she initially hesitated, "The Sweet Escape" became the title track and an immediate fan-favorite, and its remastered music video has garnered over 160 million views on YouTube. Per Billboard, the smash single peaked at No. 2 on the Adult Pop Airplay chart and spent an impressive 33 weeks on the chart. The numbers don't lie — this was a musical match made in heaven.