peoplepill id: iyanya
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Nigerian singer
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Nigerian singer
Is Songwriter
From Nigeria
Type Music
Gender male
Birth 31 October 1986, Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria
Age 34 years
Star sign Scorpio
University of Calabar
Afro pop music
The details (from wikipedia)


Iyanya Onoyom Mbuk (born 31 October 1986), known by his stage name Iyanya, is a Nigerian Musician and performer. He 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 five 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 on Instagram that he signed a record deal with Mavin Records. Few months prior, he signed a management deal with Temple Management Company. He first announced his intentions to leave Made Man Music Group in July 2016.


Iyanya was born on Palm Street in Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria. His mother was a head mistress and his father was a forester. Iyanya has 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 died around the same time of his parents' death. Iyanya's grandfather was a clergyman where Iyanya sang in his church's choir and was the choir master for the children's choir at age 5. Iyanya completed his primary, secondary, and university education in Calabar. He is a business management graduate from the University of Calabar.

Music career

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 motivated 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

In 2008, KCee from KC Presh convinced Iyanya to partake in the first season of Project Fame West Africa. Iyanya went on and 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 the beginning of Iyanya's musical career. Unlike many people who dwindle after a major competition, Iyanya's success had just begun.

2009: My Story

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". Iyanya's debut album was a commercial failure due to problems with distribution and promotion.

2012–13: Desire

After visiting his hometown of Calabar and seeing people's affection for the Etighi dance, Iyanya decided to do a song that would popularize the dance that originated in Calabar. He 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 will feature Iyanya on Zinox billboards and in TV commercials.

Musical style

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 Afrobeats 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.

International appearances

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 Soho, New York, and performed at the world-renowned New York Fashion Week.

Films and television

Year Title Role Notes Ref
2013 Shuga (Season 3) Himself Cameo appearance

Awards and nominations

Year Event Prize Recipient Result Ref
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 featuring Flavour N'abania)
Best Use of Choreography N/A
Best Use of Visual Effects "Sexy Mama"
(Iyanya featuring Wizkid)
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


The discography of Iyanya consists of two studio albums, twenty two singles (including ten as featured artist), five promotional singles, and fourteen music videos.

Studio albums

Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications Sales
My Story
  • Released: 2009
  • Label: CN. Media
  • Format: CD, digital download
  • Released: 6 February 2013
  • Label: Made Men Music Group
  • Format: CD, digital download
  • Released: 19 September 2015
  • Label: Made Men Music Group
  • Format: CD, digital download
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Compilation albums

Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications Sales
The Evolution
  • Released: 29 May 2014
  • Label: Made Men Music Group
  • Format: CD, digital download


As lead artist
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
"Love Truly" 2009 My Story
"No Time"
(featuring Faze)
"Iyanya (My Story)" 2010
"Kukere" 2011 Desire
"Ur Waist"
(featuring Emma Nyra)
"Kukere Remix"
(featuring D'banj)
"Sexy Mama"
(featuring Wizkid)
(featuring Flavour N'abania)
"Head Swell" TBA
"She Can Get It"
"Le Kwa Ukwu"
"Story Story"
(featuring Oritse Femi)
"Mr Oreo" Applaudise
“Ijeoma” (featuring peruzzi) 2019 - - - -
As featured artist
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
"Get Wild"
(N6 featuring Iyanya)
2012 BiznessB4Pleasure
(Slim Joe featuring Iyanya)
"Everything I Do"
(featuring Iyanya)
"Your Desire"
(Sammy Lee featuring Iyanya)
"Koma Roll Remix"
(Tillaman featuring Ice Prince, Iyanya, Burna Boy, Phyno and Trigga)
"Coupe Decale Remix"
(Minjin featuring Iyanya)
(DJ Jimmy Jatt featuring Iyanya and 4×4)
"Fi Mi Le"
(Lola Rae featuring Iyanya)
(Ajemina featuring Iyanya)
"Fever" 2016
"Feel Alright"
(Wizzboy featuring Iyanya)
(Princeton featuring Iyanya)

Promotional singles

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
"I'm the One" 2010 Non-album single
"In Love Again"
"South Girl"
(featuring Duncan Mighty)
(featuring Dammy Krane)
"Take It Inside"
(Olamide featuring Iyanya)

Music videos

As lead artist
Title Video release date Director(s) Ref
"Le Kwa Ukwu" 12 November 2013 Sesan
"Head Swell" 1 August 2013 Mr. Moe Musa
(featuring Flavour N'abania)
12 June 2013 Sesan
"Sexy Mama"
(featuring Wizkid)
26 April 2013
"Flavour" 24 December 2012 Mr Moe Musa
"Ur Waist"
(featuring Emma Nyra)
14 September 2012 Clarence Peters
"Kukere" 24 March 2012 Patrick Ellis
"Iyanya (My Story)" 7 March 2010
"Love Truly" 10 July 2009
As featured artist
Title Video release date Director(s) Ref
(featuring Iyanya)
17 June 2013 Don P Films
"Coupe Decale Remix"
(Minjin featuring Iyanya)
12 June 2013 Unlimited LA
"Koma Roll Remix"
(Tillaman featuring Ice Prince, Iyanya, Burna Boy, Phyno and Trigga)
2 May 2013 Patrick Elis
"Everything I Do"
(Emma Nyra featuring Iyanya)
25 March 2013 Mr Moe Musa
"Get Wild"
(N6 featuring Iyanya)
3 March 2013 Lanre Tyson
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 02 Jul 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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