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Iyanya studio image-without logo.jpg
Iyanya in 2013
Background information
Iyanya Onoyom Mbuk
Born (1986-10-31) 31 October 1986 (age 32)[1]
Calabar, Nigeria
GenresAfropop, R&B
Singer, songwriter, performer

Iyanya Onoyom Mbuk (born 31 October 1986), known mononymously as Iyanya, is a Nigerian recording artist 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".[2][3] 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[4] after signing a management deal with Temple Management Company months before.[5] He first announced his intentions to leave Made Man Music Group in July 2016.[6]


Iyanya was born on Palm Street in Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.[7] His mother was a head mistress[8] 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.[7] Iyanya's grandfather was a clergyman. Iyanya used to sing in his church's choir and was the choir master for the children's choir at age 5.[9] Iyanya completed his primary, secondary, and university education in Calabar. He is a business management graduate from the University of Calabar.[10]

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.[2] Iyanya cited British singer Craig David and American hip hop artist R. Kelly as his key musical influences.[11] 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.[2] 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 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.[12] The album showed Iyanya's versatility as an R&B artist, particularly on the self-titled track "Iyanya" and "Love Truly".[2] Iyanya's debut album was a commercial failure due to problems with distribution and promotion.[13]

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 popularise the dance that originated in Calabar.[14][15][16] 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.[17][18] 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 commcercials.[19][20]

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 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.[21]

International appearances

On 25 November 2012, Iyanya performed at comedian AY Makun show held at the INDIGO2 arena.[22] 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.[23] On 14 June 2013, the Manchester concert commenced and featured performances from Emma Nyra and DRB Lasgidi.[24] 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.[25] He also performed at the African Muzik Magazine launch on 12 April 2013, which was held in Dallas, Texas.[26] 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.[27]

Films and television

Year Title Role Notes Ref
2013 Shuga (Season 3) Himself Cameo appearance [28]

Awards and nominations

Year Event Prize Recipient Result Ref
2014 City People Entertainment Awards Musician of the Year (Male) Himself Nominated [29]
African Muzik Magazine Awards Best Male West Africa Nominated [30]
Best Dance in a Video "Le Kwa Ukwu" Won [31]
World Music Awards World's Best Song "Away" Nominated [32]
"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 [33][34]
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)
Nominated [35]
Best Use of Choreography N/A [36]
Best Use of Visual Effects "Sexy Mama"
(Iyanya featuring Wizkid)
Nominated [36]
Soul Train Music Awards Best International Performance "Ur Waist"
(Iyanya featuring Emma Nyra)
Nominated [37]
Channel O Music Video Awards Most Gifted Male Video "Flavour" Nominated [38]
Nigeria Entertainment Awards Best Pop/R&B Artiste of the Year Himself Nominated [39]
Hottest Single of the Year "Kukere" Won [40]
Ghana Music Awards African Artiste of the Year Himself Nominated [41]
City People Entertainment Awards Musician of the Year (Male) Nominated [42]
Most Popular Song of the Year "Kukere" Nominated
2012 Nigeria Music Video Awards (NMVA) Best Contemporary Afro (Live Beats choice) Nominated [43]
The Headies Best Pop Single Won [44]
Song of the Year Nominated [45]


Iyanya discography
Iyanya vs desire concert performance-9764-2.jpg
Studio albums2
Music videos14
Promotional singles5

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: 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 - - - --


As lead artist
List of singles as lead artist, with selected chart positions
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)
2012 - - - -
"Kukere Remix"
(featuring D'banj)
- - - -
"Flavour" - - - -
"Sexy Mama"
(featuring Wizkid)
2013 - - - -
(featuring Flavour N'abania)
- - - -
"Head Swell"[46] - - - - TBA
"She Can Get It"[47] - - - -
"Le Kwa Ukwu"[48] - - - -
"Story Story"
(featuring Oritse Femi)[49]
2014 - - - -
"Mr Oreo" - - - - Applaudise
As featured artist
List of singles as featured artist, with selected chart positions
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
"Get Wild"[50]
(N6 featuring Iyanya)
2012 - - - - BiznessB4Pleasure
(Slim Joe featuring Iyanya)
- - - -- TBA
"Everything I Do"[52]
(featuring Iyanya)
- - - --
"Your Desire"[53]
(Sammy Lee featuring Iyanya)
2013 - - - --
"Koma Roll Remix"[54]
(Tillaman featuring Ice Prince, Iyanya, Burna Boy, Phyno and Trigga)
- - - --
"Coupe Decale Remix"[55]
(Minjin featuring Iyanya)
- - - --
(DJ Jimmy Jatt featuring Iyanya and 4×4)
- - - --
"Fi Mi Le"[57]
(Lola Rae featuring Iyanya)
- - - --
(Ajemina featuring Iyanya)
- - - --
"Fever"[59] 2016 - - - --
"Feel Alright"[60]
(Wizzboy featuring Iyanya)
- - - -- Testimoney
(Princeton featuring Iyanya)
- - - -- N/A

Promotional singles

List of promotional singles, with selected chart positions
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
"I'm the One"[62] 2010 - - - -- Non-album single
"In Love Again"[62] - - - --
"South Girl"[63]
(featuring Duncan Mighty)
2011 - - - --
(featuring Dammy Krane)
2013 - - - --
"Take It Inside"[64]
(Olamide featuring Iyanya)
- - - --

Music videos

As lead artist
List of music videos as lead artist, showing date released and directors[65]
Title Video release date Director(s) Ref
"Le Kwa Ukwu" 12 November 2013 Sesan [66]
"Head Swell" 1 August 2013 Mr. Moe Musa [67]
(featuring Flavour N'abania)
12 June 2013 Sesan [68]
"Sexy Mama"
(featuring Wizkid)
26 April 2013 [69]
"Flavour" 24 December 2012 Mr Moe Musa [70]
"Ur Waist"
(featuring Emma Nyra)
14 September 2012 Clarence Peters [71]
"Kukere" 24 March 2012 Patrick Ellis [72]
"Iyanya (My Story)" 7 March 2010
"Love Truly" 10 July 2009 [35]
As featured artist
List of music videos as featured artist, showing date released and directors[65]
Title Video release date Director(s) Ref
(featuring Iyanya)
17 June 2013 Don P Films [73]
"Coupe Decale Remix"
(Minjin featuring Iyanya)
12 June 2013 Unlimited LA [74]
"Koma Roll Remix"
(Tillaman featuring Ice Prince, Iyanya, Burna Boy, Phyno and Trigga)
2 May 2013 Patrick Elis [75]
"Everything I Do"
(Emma Nyra featuring Iyanya)
25 March 2013 Mr Moe Musa [76]
"Get Wild"
(N6 featuring Iyanya)
3 March 2013 Lanre Tyson [77]


  1. ^ "CHARITABLE: Iyanya Celebrates Birthday With Inmates At Ikoyi Prisons (Photos)". 360nobs. Retrieved 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "Celebrity Focus: Iyanya - The Many Flavours Stirring Controversies". Onobello. Retrieved 2013.
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  4. ^ Augoye, Jayne (1 November 2016). "INTERVIEW: Why I signed for Mavin Records -- Iyanya". Premium Times. Retrieved 2017.
  5. ^ Vwovwe, Egbo (28 July 2016). "Iyanya Singer signs with Temple Management Company". Pulse. Retrieved 2017.
  6. ^ Akan, Joey (12 July 2016). "Singer is leaving MMMG record label due to problems with Ubi Franklin". Pulse. Retrieved 2017.
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  8. ^ "Kukere crooner cries: They killed my parents, brother -Iyanya Mbuk". Express Nigeria. Retrieved 2013.
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  13. ^ "MTV NEWS | IYANYA: EXCLUSIVE CHAT". MtvBase. Retrieved 2013.
  14. ^ Adegunle, Adebukola. "Origin of Etighi Dance" (PDF). The Harmony. p. 5. Retrieved 2013.
  15. ^ "THE CALABAR DANCE (Etigi)". Imotrumpeta. Retrieved 2013.
  16. ^ "Etighi Dance:The Latest Naija Dance". Amebortalk. 7 February 2012. Retrieved 2013.
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  19. ^ "Iyanya signs multi million Naira endorsement deal with Zinox Computer". Daily Independent. Retrieved 2013.
  20. ^ "Winning: Iyanya signs $350,000 endorsement deal with Zinox Group". AmeyawDebrah. Retrieved 2013.
  21. ^ Iyanya (2012). Ndani TV: Iyanya talks about Yvonne Nelson// his new single and... (youtube). Nigeria: Youtube. Event occurs at 13:32. Retrieved 2013.
  22. ^ "VIDEO: Iyanya's Interview after AY Live in London on Factory78tv". 360nobs. Retrieved 2013.
  23. ^ "Kukere Storms the UK! All the Photos from Iyanya's London Concert". BellaNaija. Retrieved 2013.
  24. ^ "'Jombolo' out in Manchester! Check out the Photos from Iyanya's 2nd "Kukere Concert" in the UK". BellaNaija. Retrieved 2013.
  25. ^ "Iyanya at The Shrine, Chicago on Do312". Live Events. Retrieved 2013.
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  27. ^ "Iyanya Mbuk Biography (Nigerian Music Artist)". Nigerian Music Network. Retrieved 2013.
  28. ^ "Tiwa Savage, Ice Prince, Iyanya, Chris Attoh, others premiere Shuga". The Daily Independent. Retrieved 2014.
  29. ^ "Rita Dominic, Davido, Tiwa Savage, Majid Michel - 2014 City People Entertainment Awards Nominees". Bellanaija.com. 6 June 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  30. ^ "See Nominees for the African Muzik Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA) 2014". Bellanaija. 9 June 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  31. ^ "Sarkodie, Fuse ODG, DJ Black, others win at AFRIMMA Awards". Ghana Web. 27 July 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  32. ^ "D'banj, Tuface, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Davido, Kcee Nominated at World Music Awards". Channels Tv. 20 February 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  33. ^ "Headies Award 2013 and Full List of winners". Osun Defender. Retrieved 2013.
  34. ^ "#BaddestGuyEverLiveth: Olamide bags 8 nominations for the "Headies" - See full nomination list". YNaija.com. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  35. ^ a b "2013 Nigeria Music Video Awards Nominees List: Flavour, Tiwa Savage, D'banj, Goldie, Waje, Kcee & More". Bellanaija. Retrieved 2013.
  36. ^ a b "NIGERIA MUSIC VIDEO AWARDS (NMVA 2013) WINNERS LIST". tooxclusive. Retrieved 2013.
  37. ^ "2013 Soul Train Awards nominations". Rollingout. Retrieved 2013.
  38. ^ "2013 Channel O Music Video Awards: First Photos from the Nominees Announcement + Complete List of Nominees". Bellanaija. Retrieved 2013.
  39. ^ "Nigeria Entertainment Awards 2013 - View Full Nominees List". Notjustok. Retrieved 2013.
  40. ^ "Full List of Nigeria Entertainment Awards Winners". spyghana. Retrieved 2013.
  41. ^ "Vodafone Ghana Music Awards 2013 Nominations List Finally Out". ModernGhana. Retrieved 2013.
  42. ^ Aiki, Damilare (19 June 2013). "Ice Prince, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Sarkodie, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Yvonne Okoro, Tonto Dikeh & BellaNaija Nominated for the 2013 City People Entertainment Awards - See the Full List". Bellanaija. Retrieved 2013.
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  45. ^ "The Headies (Hip Hop World Awards 2012) Winners List". Hiphopworldmagazine. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  46. ^ "BN Video Premiere: Iyanya - Head Swell". Bellanaija. Retrieved 2013.
  47. ^ "Iyanya - She Can Get It (Prod. Gospel)". Notjustok. Retrieved 2013.
  48. ^ "PREMIERE: Iyanya - Le Kwa Ukwu". Notjustok. Retrieved 2013.
  49. ^ "Collabo Extra! Iyanya & Oritse Femi Combine In New Song - "Story Story"". Pulse Nigeria. Joey Akan. Retrieved 2014.
  50. ^ "VIDEO: N6 - Get Wild ft Iyanya". Notjustok. Retrieved 2013.
  51. ^ "New Music: Slimjoe Feat. Iyanya - Omoge". Bellanaija. Retrieved 2013.
  52. ^ "Everything I Do (Remix) [feat. Iyanya] - Single". iTunes. Retrieved 2013.
  53. ^ "SammyLee - Your Desire ft Iyanya (Prod by Laxio)". Ghanamotion. Retrieved 2013.
  54. ^ "New Video: Tillaman - Koma Roll Remix Ft. Ice Prince, Iyanya, Trigga, Phyno, Burna Boy". 360nobs. Retrieved 2013.
  55. ^ "VIDEO: Minjin ft Iyanya - Coupe Decale (Remix)". Notjustok. Retrieved 2013.
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  57. ^ "Lola Rae - Fi Mi Le ft. Iyanya". Notjustok. Retrieved 2013.
  58. ^ "New Video: Ajemina - Felele ft. Iyanya". 360nobs. Retrieved 2013.
  59. ^ "New Music Iyanya - 'Fever' ft. DJ Arafat, Xcellente". Pulse.ng. Retrieved 2016.
  60. ^ "Wizboyy ft Iyanya - Feel Alright | New Album "TESTIMONEY" OUT NOW!". Notjustok. Retrieved 2013.
  61. ^ "New Music Princeton - 'Flex' ft Iyanya, Pearl, Tossy Young". Pulse.ng. Retrieved 2016.
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  63. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Iyanya - South South Girl ft Duncan Mighty". Notjustok. Retrieved 2013.
  64. ^ "New Music: Olamide Feat. Iyanya - Take it Inside". Bellanaija. Retrieved 2013.
  65. ^ a b "Iyanya Video Archive". Afrobeat360. Retrieved 2013.
  66. ^ "VIDEO Premiere: Iyanya - Le Kwa Ukwu". Notjustok. 12 November 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  67. ^ "VIDEO: Iyanya - Head Swell | Rated 18+ (Adults Only)". Notjustok. Retrieved 2013.
  68. ^ "VIDEO: Iyanya - Jombolo ft Flavour". tooxlcusive. Retrieved 2013.
  69. ^ "VIDEO Premiere: Iyanya ft Wizkid - Sexy Mama". notjustok. Retrieved 2013.
  70. ^ "VIDEO: Iyanya - Flavour". Jaguda. Retrieved 2013.
  71. ^ "VIDEO: Iyanya - Ur Waist". tooxclusive. Retrieved 2013.
  72. ^ "VIDEO DOWNLOAD: Iyanya - Kukere". tooxclusive. Retrieved 2013.
  73. ^ "New Video: Ajemina - Felele ft. Iyanya". Jaguda. Retrieved 2013.
  74. ^ "Get Some Soukous Flavour! Kennis Music presents Minjin feat. Iyanya - Coupe Decale Remix". Bellanaija. Retrieved 2013.
  75. ^ "TILLAMAN - KOMA ROLL REMIX FT. ICE PRINCE, IYANYA, TRIGGA, PHYNO, BURNA BOY". African Muzik Magazine. Retrieved 2013.
  76. ^ "VIDEO:Emma Nyra- Everything I Do Feat. Iyanya". tooxclusive. Retrieved 2013.
  77. ^ "New Video: N6 - Get Wild ft Iyanya". 360nobs. Retrieved 2013.

External links

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