Iyanya Onoyom Mbuk (born October 31, 1986) is a Nigerian recording artist, singer, songwriter, and performer best known for winning the 2008 MTN Project Fame West Africa as well as for his song, “Kukere”. He sings in English and Efik.
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. Iyanya used to sing 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, KC from KC Presh group convinced Iyanya to partake in MTN’s first ever Project Fame singing competition. Iyanya emerged the winner of the competition after battling numerous people who had the same aspirations as him. The 2008 MTN 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, Iyanya began recording his debut album My Story. 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):”Kukere”
2012/2013: Iyanya vs. 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 followed with his second single entitled “Ur Waist”.
Endorsements On October 16, 2013, 360nobs reported that Iyanya became the new ambassador for Solo Phones Nigeria, a mobile phone company situated at Computer Village, Ikeja. The one year deal is allegedly worth $220,000 (35 million niara). In addition, Iyanya got a 2014 Toyota Prado from the deal.
In 2013, Daily Independent 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.
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 said he switched from R&B to Afrobeat because he wanted to make money and wanted fans to see his versatility.
International appearances On November 25, 2012, Iyanya performed at comedian AY Makun’s show held at the INDIGO2 arena. To promote his sophomore album in the UK, Iyanya headlined the Iyanya vs. Desire concert. The concert started in London and ended in Manchester. The London concert was held at the INDIGO2 arena on June 9, 2013. The concert featured performances by Tonto Dikeh and Iyanya’s label mate Emma Nyra.
On June 14, 2013, the Manchester concert commenced and featured performances by Emma Nyra and an up-and-coming act called 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 April 11, 2013. He also performed at the African Muzik Magazine launch on April 12, 2013 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.
Popular Nigerian DJ, Switch, has opened up on what happened in Lekki on Tuesday night.
Known as Obianuju Catherine Udeh, Switch said she counted 15 dead bodies during the shoot-out.
In a video she posted on her Instagram page, Switch asked the authorities not to insult the intelligence of Nigerians when giving their own account of what happened on that day.
According to her, the military aimed at endsars protesters as they fired gunshots. She also said that SARS officers came in after the military had left and also attacked them.
According to Switch she and others present counted over 15 bodies.
‘‘I just want to clear a few things that I have been seeing online. To our leaders, I urge you please do not minimize the suffering of families. Do not insult the grief of Nigerians, do not insult the intelligence of Nigerians. Do not insult the pains the families are facing.
People were falling left and right. Yes there were soldiers there. Another part that people are not talking about is that the police also came. The SARS people we are talking about, they also came, some maybe 40-45 minutes after the soldiers left.
We were teargassed. The teargass was like Cotonou pepper mixed with acid. We were running. We would run and we would come back and the only thing we fought with was our flags. We would sit on the floor and we would raise or hands up, raising our flags and singing the national anthem. That was all we had.
They put off the lights. Even if there was no power in that axis, there was always light at the tollgate. There was no lights. The street lights were off. It was pitch black.” she said
Speaking further, she said
”A boy jumped on me and was shouting cover her, cover her. I didn’t even understand why he did that. They shot that boy on my back. I fell and while the soldiers were picking their shells, we were running around and picking their shells too because we wanted proof.”
She showed photos of bullet shells picked from the ground. She showed the one that was fired close to her ears and the one that was removed from someone’s lap.
The military, they were there on Nigerian soil, killing Nigerian citizens. The police and their SARS like people came doing the same thing, aiming and shooting. They were pointing the gun at us and shooting live bullets. Who takes live bullets to a protest?
To our leaders, I urge you to please not insult the intelligence of Nigerians and the families.”
DJ Switch expressed regrets that she and others allowed the military to take the bodies of the deceased persons.
”Something I think of in hindsight I wish we hadn’t done it but we carried dead bodies and dropped at the feet of the soldiers so that they could see what they did to us. When I asked their unit commander why are you killing us? I wish we didn’t do that because they ended up throwing the bodies in their van. This was up until the next morning.” she said
She dissociated herself from the social media accounts claiming she said 78 persons died. She said she and others counted 15 dead bodies.
”I never said 78 people died. What I do know is that when I was doing the live, 7 people had died. When my phone died, we had counted about 15 people. I don’t know if it was more than that. We had a lot of people stray bullet wound, gunshot wounds, and all that.
People did die. It wasn’t photoshopped. I must be a tech genius to photoshop a live feed.” she said
She dismissed reports that her cousin died in the incident.
Thanking everyone for their prayers and support, DJ Switch said
”We must continue to move. We must continue. If we stop I fear it will probably be the next 60 years before we talk about this again. We must continue peacefully. I condemn any sort of violence. I condemn the burning of buses and peoples livelihood. ”
Popular music entertainer, Burna Boy has stated that if the recent end SARS protest by Nigerian youths doesn’t yield any positive result, then the future holds nothing for the teeming youths in the country.
The ‘On the low’ crooner stated this in an interview with foreign media, Sky News.
The interview comes two weeks after protests began, sparked by a video showing a man being beaten, apparently by police officers from SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad).
Burna Boy, who spoke to Sky News from London, said: “It is shocking when you see it happen in that place, in such a place, that was the landmark of everything.
“The Lekki Toll Gate, that was the most peaceful place to protest, the most peaceful venue in the whole country and then that is the place where [the shootings] happen. It is not something that you can just wrap your head around.”
The best-selling Afrobeats artist, who has mixed rap, funk and dancehall influences on international hits like On The Low and Ye, said nationwide protests against SARS have changed the nature of politics in his homeland.
“This is the most important moment in Nigeria’s history… that is what we are witnessing right now because if nothing changes after this, if this doesn’t work, then it is over.”
When asked what he meant by this, he replied: “Look at what is going on right now: the youth have come together, like something unexplainable (sic), something that no one man could have possibly organised or led, the youth of the largest black nation in the world came together, said enough is enough and this was triggered by police brutality.
“It’s not like it was triggered by all the other things that it should have been triggered by all these years.”