Iyanya Onoyom Mbuk is a multi-award winning Nigerian singer, who is popularly known for his hit single Kukere. He was the winner of the Project Fame West Africa Season One. The award winning artiste co-founded the Made Men Music Group (MMMG).
Iyanya was born on the 31st of October 1986, in Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria. He was born to Mr Mbuk, a forester, and Mrs Mbuk, a school headmistress. He had his early education at Qubi Centre Nursery School Calabar. His primary school was at government primary school, Calabar.
For his secondary education, he attended government science school Calabar, where he obtained his Senior Secondary School Certificate (SSCE). He then studied Business Management at the University of Calabar (UNICAL). Iyanya lost his parents, and elder brother around the same time in 2008.
After Iyanya obtained his undergraduate degree, he got a job as a bar manager. He usually sang at Fiesta Fries Bar, Mirage Nite Club, and West-Life Night Club. Iyanya was inspired by Craig David, Bob Marley, West Life, Backstreet Boys, and R. Kelly. He decided it was time to do professional music after he watched a television programme which showcased the luxurious lifestyle of 2Face Idibia and Olu Maintain.
Iyanya gained popularity in Nigeria when he won the first edition of the MTN Project Fame Reality TV show in 2008. Afterwards, in 2009, he released his debut album – My Story. My Story was a commercial failure because of lack of proper distribution and promotion. Eventually, he came to limelight in the industry after he released Kukere in 2011.
Since then, he has been doing exploits, even though he has encountered numerous challenges.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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