Iyanya Onoyom Mbuk, popularly known by his stage name, Iyanya, is a Nigerian Afropop musician. He became well-known after taking home the top prize in Project Fame West Africa’s inaugural season, and his biggest hit is “Kukere.” In 2011, he and Ubi Franklin co-founded the record company Made Men Music Group. he won the Artist of the Year award at The Headies in 2013. He is currently signed to Mavin Records owned by Don Jazzy.
Iyanya Onoyom Mbuk
Iyanya (Formerly Lofty}
31 October 1986
Cross River State, Nigeria.
Cross River State, Nigeria.
BSc. Business Management
Early Life and Education
Iyanya was born on October 31st, 1986 on Palm Street, Calabar, Cross River State. His father was a forester, while his mother was a school headmistress. Iyanya has stated that his father was the kinder of the two, with his mother serving as the household’s disciplinarian. In 2008, his elder brother also passed away around the same time as his parents. Iyanya’s grandfather was a clergyman, and at the age of five, he participated in the children’s choir at his church and was privileged to lead other kids.
In Calabar, Iyanya concluded his primary, secondary, and university education. He received his degree in business management from the University of Calabar.
He worked in a hotel after earning his degree from the University of Calabar and sang karaoke in a neighbourhood bar that he oversaw. Iyanya started honing his vocal skills in neighbourhood clubs, including the West-Life club, Mirage Nite Club, and Fiesta Fries Bar. Iyanya listed American hip hop artist R. Kelly and British vocalist Craig David as two of his major musical influences. Iyanya was inspired to pursue a career in music after following the lifestyles of 2Face Idibia and Olu Maintain as celebrities. Iyanya, formerly known as “Lofty,” began her career as a rapper.
Iyanya rose to fame in Nigeria after taking home the first edition of the MTN Project Fame Reality TV competition in 2008. He agreed to participate in Project Fame West Africa’s inaugural season after being convinced by KCee. Iyanya eventually prevailed in the challenge after overcoming several opponents who also battled for the top prize.
He released his first music album in 2009 titled “My Story,” and he has gone on to release several other tracks. He popularised the Calabar “Etighi dance” in his song “Kukere”. Another of his songs is “Ur Waist,” which also features Emma Nyra on vocals, and it achieved global acceptance and success.
There is not much known about Iyanya’s marital life. It was once rumoured that he was in a romantic relationship with Tonto Dikeh.
However, Iyanya grew up with a foster father, who died in the same year (2008) as his mother. He was later raised by his grandfather.
- My Story – 2009
- Desire – 2013
- Applaudise – 2015
Iyanya has over the years released several songs, which tops from R&B to Afropop. The dome of his songs is below;
- Love Truly – 2009
- No Time (featuring Faze) – 2009
- Iyanya (My Story) – 2010
- Kukere – 2011
- Ur Waist (featuring Emma Nyra) – 2012
- Kukere Remix (featuring D’banj) – 2012
- Flavour – 2012
- Sexy Mama (featuring Wizkid) – 2013
- Jombolo (featuring Flavour N’abania) – 2013
- Head Swell – 2013
- She Can Get It – 2013
- Le Kwa Ukwu – 2013
- Story Story (featuring Oritse Femi) – 2014
- Mr Oreo – 2014
- Ijeoma – 2014
Awards and Nominations
- Nigeria Music Video Awards (NMVA) nominated him as the Best Contemporary Afro (Live Beats choice) – 2012
- The Headies award for Best Pop Single – 2012
- Song of the Year nominee at the Headies – 2012
- Soul Train Music Awards nominee for Best International Performance – 2013
- Channel O Music Video Awards nominee for the Most Gifted Male Video – 2013
- Nigeria Entertainment Awards nominee for Best Pop/R&B Artist of the Year – 2013
- Hottest Single of the Year at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards – 2013
- Ghana Music Awards nominee for African Artiste of the Year – 2013
- City People Entertainment Awards nominee for Musician of the Year (Male) – 2013
- Most Popular Song of the Year at the City People Entertainment Awards – 2013
- Nigeria Music Video Awards (NMVA) nominee for Best High Life Video – 2013
- Nominated for Best Use of Choreography at the Nigeria Music Video Awards (NMVA)–2013
- Best Use of Visual Effects nominee at the Nigeria Music Video Awards (NMVA) – 2013
- The Headies award for Artist of the Year – 2013
- Best R&B/Pop Album nominee at the Headies – 2013
- Album of the Year nominee at the Headies – 2013
- Best Pop Single nominee at the Headies – 2013
- Song of the Year nominee at The Headies – 2013
- The World Music Awards nominee for the World’s Best Song – 2014
- Nominated Le Kwa Ukwu for the World’s Best Video at the World Music Awards – 2014
- Iyanya was nominated for the World’s Best Male Artist at the World Music Awards – 2014.
- The World’s Best Live Act nominee at the World Music Awards – 2014
- Nominated as the World’s Best Entertainer of the Year at the World Music Awards—2014
- City People Entertainment Awards nominated Iyanya for the Musician of the Year (Male) – 2014
- African Muzik Magazine Awards nominee for Best Male West Africa – 2014
- Best Dance in a Video at the African Muzik Magazine Awards 2014
Iyanya has infused lots of wealth through several ambassadorial deals, notably that of MTN. He is estimated to be worth $5 million.
Social Media Handle
Iyanya is popularly known as the Nigerian music star with a well-chiseled body due to his physique and his good dance steps during stage performances and music videos. Not much has been heard from him in the music scene since his collaboration with Ayra Starr. We wish him well and hope to hear more from him.