Iyanya Onoyom Mbuk was born 31 October 1986 on Palm Street in Calabar, Cross River State better known by his stage name Iyanya, is a Nigerian Singer, recording artist and performer. He plays Afro pop and R&B kind of music. His mother was a head mistress and his father was a forester. Iyanya described his mother as the household disciplinarian, while his father was the gentler of the two.
His parents died in 2008, his mother, 42 years old, and his father, 50 years old. Iyanya’s elder brother also died around the same time of his parents’ death.
Iyanya rose to fame after winning the first season of Project Fame West Africa, and is best known for his hit single “Kukere”.
He co-founded the record label Made Men Music Group with Ubi Franklin in 2011. He released his debut studio album, My Story, in 2011. It was supported by the singles “No Time” and “Love Truly”. Desire, his second studio album, contained the singles “Kukere”, “Ur Waist”, “Flavour”, “Sexy Mama”, and “Jombolo”.
He won the Artist of the Year award at The Headies 2013. In October 2016, Iyanya announced via Instagram that he signed a record deal with Mavin Records after signing a management deal with Temple Management Company months before. He first announced his intentions to leave Made Man Music Group in July 2016.
Iyanya used to sing in his church’s choir and was the choir master for the children’s choir at age 5. After his elementary and secondary education, Iyanya proceeded to the university of Calabar where he had a bachelor’s degree in business management.
After graduating from the University of Calabar, he worked in a hotel and sang karaoke at a local bar he managed. Iyanya began developing his vocal abilities at local bars which include: Fiesta Fries Bar, Mirage Nite Club, and West-Life. Iyanya cited British singer Craig David and American hip hop artist R. Kelly as his key musical influences.
Iyanya was really influenced to pursue music professionally after watching the celebrity lifestyle of 2 Face Idibia and Olu Maintain. Iyanya started as a rapper, going by the name “Lofty”.
MTN Project Fame
We learnt that in 2008, KCee from KC Presh convinced Iyanya to partake in the first season of Project Fame West Africa. Iyanya emerged the winner of the competition after battling numerous people who had the same aspirations as him. The 2008 MTN-sponsored Project Fame competition was really the beginning of Iyanya’s musical career. Unlike many people who dwindle after a major competition, Iyanya built on the success he made after the MTN project fame.
2009: My Story (Iyanya’s Album)
After winning MTN’s Project Fame West Africa, Iyanya began recording his debut album My Story. It was released by CN Media Imprint. The album showed Iyanya’s versatility as an R&B artist, particularly on the self-titled track “Iyanya” and “Love Truly”.yanya’s debut album was a commercial failure due to problems with distribution and promotion.
After visiting his hometown of Calabar and seeing people’s affection for the Etighi dance, Iyanya decided to do a song that would popularise the dance that originated in Calabar. He then teamed up with producer DTunes and recorded “Kukere”, a single that achieved global success, particularly in Nigeria, Ghana and the United Kingdom. The song was succeeded by the album’s second single entitled “Ur Waist”, which features additional vocals from Emma Nyra.
On 16 October 2013, 360Nobs reported that Iyanya became an ambassador for Solo Phones Nigeria, a mobile phone company situated at Computer Village, Ikeja. The one-year deal was reportedly worth $220,000 (35 million naira).
In addition, Iyanya got a 2014 Toyota Prado from the deal. In 2013, the Daily Independent newspaper reported that Iyanya also signed a one-year deal with Zinox Computers (Nigeria’s first certified branded computers) worth $300,000. The deal featured Iyanya on Zinox billboards and in TV commercials.
Iyanya started performing ballads, particularly on his debut album My Story. In an interview with Toolz on Ndani TV, he said he wants to be a versatile artist and wants to be known for his R&B and Afrobeat abilities. In the same interview, he also said he switched from R&B to Afrobeat because he wanted to make money and wanted fans to see his versatility.
Iyanya featured prominently in international concerts. They include the following:
On 25 November 2012, Iyanya performed at comedian AY Makun show held at the INDIGO2 arena. To promote his second album in the UK, Iyanya headlined the Iyanya vs. Desire concert. It started in London and ended in Manchester.
The London concert was held at the INDIGO2 arena on 9 June 2013. It featured performances from Tonto Dikeh and Emma Nyra.
On 14 June 2013, the Manchester concert commenced and featured performances from Emma Nyra and DRB Lasgidi.
Iyanya and his label mate Emma Nyra went on a mini tour across the U.S and Canada in early 2013. Iyanya performed at the Shrine in Chicago on 11 April 2013. He also performed at the African Muzik Magazine launch on 12 April 2013, which was held in Dallas, Texas.
Iyanya serenaded Grammy Award nominee Melanie Fiona at the LTB Jean store in Solo, New York, and performed at the world-renowned New York Fashion Week.
Awards and nominations
This young talented Nigerian Artist, had many awards and nominations to his credit. These awards and nominations are tabulated below:
|2014||City People Entertainment Awards||Musician of the Year (Male)||Himself||Nominated|
|African Muzik Magazine Awards||Best Male West Africa||Nominated|
|Best Dance in a Video||“Le Kwa Ukwu”||Won|
|World Music Awards||World’s Best Song||“Away”||Nominated|
|“Le Kwa Ukwu”||Nominated|
|World’s Best Video||Nominated|
|World’s Best Male Artist||Himself||Nominated|
|World’s Best Live Act||Nominated|
|World’s Best Entertainer of The Year||Nominated|
|2013||The Headies||Artist of the Year||Won|
|Best R&B/Pop Album||Desire||Nominated|
|Album of the Year||Nominated|
|Best Pop Single||“Ur Waist”||Nominated|
|Song of the Year||Nominated|
|Nigeria Music Video Awards (NMVA)||Best High Life Video||“Jombolo”
(Iyanya featuringFlavour N’abania)
|Best Use of Choreography||N/A|
|Best Use of Visual Effects||“Sexy Mama”
|Soul Train Music Awards||Best International Performance||“Ur Waist”
(Iyanya featuring Emma Nyra)
|Channel O Music Video Awards||Most Gifted Male Video||“Flavour”||Nominated|
|Nigeria Entertainment Awards||Best Pop/R&B Artiste of the Year||Himself||Nominated|
|Hottest Single of the Year||“Kukere”||Won|
|Ghana Music Awards||African Artiste of the Year||Himself||Nominated|
|City People Entertainment Awards||Musician of the Year (Male)||Nominated|
|Most Popular Song of the Year||“Kukere”||Nominated|
|2012||Nigeria Music Video Awards (NMVA)||Best Contemporary Afro (Live Beats choice)||Nominated|
|The Headies||Best Pop Single||Won|
|Song of the Year||Nominated|
Iyanya’s Net Worth
Iyanya’s Net Worth is placed at over $10 million dollars. He is a lover of flashy cars and jeeps including magnificent buildings. Truly, Iyanya is a versatile young Nigerian artist to reckon with in recent time.