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.
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.
CAREER AND LIFE
In 2008, KCee from KCee 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. 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.
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.
According to the singer himself in an interview mentioned his interest in writing songs and performing were becoming low but he said his manager kind of force him to record the sinngle that brought him to limelight titled “KUKERE” in 2011 and he didnt even took the single much serious, it was after the recording of the song they noticed the song might become successful in the industry than the ones they have been recording before so they decided to give it few promotions and they got a great result after the song was massively accepted by fans, they couldn’t help but quickly make a music video for the song in which Iyanya revealed he had to sell his car to raise the money to make the music video and others. After uniquely inventing a new dance style attached to the song in the music video the song became much more accepted and the dance style trended a lot in Nigeria making the song an Anthem for Nigerians. The further release of more hits like; YOUR WAIST,FLAVOUR and more after his first hit single kukere gained him more fans and name during the period in wish was how endorsements came rolling in and more..
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. The concert started in London and ended in Manchester. The London concert was held at the INDIGO2 arena on 9 June 2013. The concert featured performances by Tonto Dikeh and Iyanya’s label mate Emma Nyra. On 14 June 2013, the Manchester concert commenced and featured performances by 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 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.
On 16 October 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. All these which made him one of the top earning artists in Nigeria in the year 2013.
It can also be said that the star the singer iyanya’s romance with the popular ghanaian actress Yvonne Nelson between 2012/2013 was also one of the things which boosted his career getting him more fans and followers from Nigeria and Ghana as their relationship was indeed a controversial one as they were been mentioned in the media too often, they became more controversial in 2013 after the sad breakup between the two love birds which actually left them on the negative sides of each other since then. Well, he has been mentioned in dating label artist Emma NYra which they actually debunked it as a rumor.
With the continuous release of unbeaten hits withing 2013/2014 Iyanya gained himself much of a respect,fame and success in the Nigeria Music industry as he won many awards and many shows alongside endorsement deals including much more fans in Nigeria and even internationally. Iyanya gets lots of features from artists on big hits in the industry. Also iyanya and his young and talented music producer Dtunes pathwayed in 2013 which made singer start using other music producers which actually didnt affect his music career. Iyanya earned himself the chance of even performing at Aso rock in Abuja for the presidency.
Singer Iyanya has also proved himself to be a humble and generous type after donating 1million naira for a sick co artist in the industry on behalf of him and manager, he was also said to have gotten himself and his manager a brand new S.U.V in 2013 and more..
AWARDS AND ENDORSEMENTS African Muzik Magazine Awards Best Dance in a Video “Le Kwa Ukwu” won 2014 The Headies Artist of the Year Won Nigeria Entertainment Award Hottest Single of the Year “Kukere” Nominated 2012 Nigeria Music Video Awards (NMVA) Best Contemporary Afro (Live Beats choice) And many more…
ENDORSEMENTS Was selected an ambassador for Solo Phones Nigeria deal is allegedly worth $220,000 (35 million naira) in 2013 Iyanya also signed a one year deal with Zinox Computers worth $300,000. He was also endorsed by telecom Giant MTN in 2013 after catching an endorsement of 45Million naira deal. And more..
RUMORS AND SCANDALS Was rumored to be dating label artist Emma Nyra, Was said to have lied about getting endorsement deal from Lenovo