Iyanya Onoyom Mbuk, known by his mononym Iyanya, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and performer. He was born on 31 October 1986 on Palm Street in Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.
His mother was a head mistress and his father was a forester. He 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. His elder brother died around the same time of his parents’ death. Iyanya’s grandfather was a clergyman. He used to sing in his church’s choir and was the choir master for the children’s choir at age 5.
He completed his primary, secondary, and university education in Calabar. He is a business management graduate from the University of Calabar.
After graduating from the University of Calabar, he worked in a hotel and sang karaoke at a local bar he managed. He began developing his vocal abilities at local bars which include: Fiesta Fries Bar, Mirage Nite Club, and West-Life. He cited British singer Craig David and American hip hop artist R. Kelly as his key musical influences. He was motivated to pursue music professionally after watching the celebrity lifestyle of 2 Face Idibia and Olu Maintain. His started as a rapper, going by the name “Lofty”.
In 2008, KCee from KC Presh convinced Iyanya to partake in the first season of Project Fame West Africa. He 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, his success had just begun.
After winning MTN’s Project Fame West Africa, he began recording his debut album My Story. It was released by CN Media Imprint. The album showed his 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.
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 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. He first announced his intentions to leave Made Man Music Group in July 2016.
As lead artist
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- Love Truly
- No Time (featuring Faze)
- Iyanya (My Story)
- Ur Waist (featuring Emma Nyra)
- Kukere Remix (featuring D’banj)
- Sexy Mama (featuring Wizkid)
- Jombolo (featuring Flavour N’abania)
- Head Swell
- She Can Get It
- Le Kwa Ukwu
- Story Story (featuring Oritse Femi)
- Mr Oreo
As featured artist
- Get Wild
- Everything I Do
- Your Desire
- Koma Roll Remix
- Coupe Decale Remix
- Fi Mi Le
- Feel Alright