Iyanya Onoyom Mbuk a.k.a Iyanya, who came into limelight after winning the first season of Project Fame West Africa in 2008, and is best known for his hit single "Kukere" has been missing from the spotlight in recent times.
Indeed, many of his fans have attributed this worrisome development to the 'Kukere' singer's inability to be consistent even when he insists that he's trying to be versatile. Here, he bares his mind on the direction of his music, his career and lifestyle, revealing why he cannot fall in love with a woman at the moment among other things.
You are a product of reality TV show. If you didn't participate in the first season of Project Fame West Africa, which you eventually won, would you have become what you are today?
Obviously, I don't know God's plans for me. But probably, I would have gone into business because I love money.
Have you thought of giving back to the platform that brought you into the limelight?
I set up the Iyanya Foundation which is my own little way of giving back to the society. Besides, there are other things I do which I don't want to make public.
One doubts if you have been able to make another great songs after your hit single, Kukere?
I have been making great songs since I won Project Fame. I never stopped.
But the songs never enjoyed massive acceptance like Kukere did?
That's what you think and that's what the people think. But all I know is that I have been making great hits after hit.
You just returned from your European tour for your Signature EP, how was the tour?
It was great and one of my best tours.
How can it be one of your best tours when you have gone back to your roots, which is RnB?
That what the people think. I am a musician; I am allowed to be versatile. I won a competition in 2008. While the competition lasted, I had 10 weeks to do RnB or rock. I had no time to settle down for one. I have people who love the guy that won the first season of Project Fame as well as people who love the Kukere singer. I always try to balance it but it's okay for everybody to have his or her opinion. I'm cool with it.
You also have a body of work out there, how is your Signature LP doing?
That's the reason I went on tour. I toured fourteen states in Europe. It was a great tour and I'm back to the country. All I can say is that it was a great outing for me. Apart from the money that I made digitally from the sales of Signature LP, I have also been blessed. I'm cool with it. I toured America and Europe. It's a blessing.
On your social media account, you posted some pictures of girls who went along the line. Are you implying that girls do go crazy for Iyanya?
I'm going to tag a guy called Henry. What I'm doing right now is that I would give him these videos so that I can post everything fans need to know about me. I don't want to be uploading pictures, showing places I have to perform. Everything you need to know about me is happening at a higher level. Don't judge me based on what I post or what I don't post. I'm blessed. It doesn't mean my life depends on my pictures or my videos that I post on my social media account. It is a social media world where everybody judges you based on what they see on your page. That's not my life. I have a life that is different from what you see me post on social media.
Do you feel that you are a better Iyanya now?
Every day of my life I get better in everything that I do; performing, singing and writing songs. I'm a better person. I don't know if you have had any interview with me before now. But I'm not that guy you used to know. I have grown in terms of the way I think, the way I understand things.
Would you say having a creative talent management in place like Temple Management company and also being signed to Mavin Records was what you needed to push your career forward?
Yes, Temple Management Company is a movement for me. They put money in my pocket when it comes to doing a job. The deliver 100%, I have no regrets joining the company. Mavin Records also is blessing so to say. I'm just happy that everything is working out well.
How do you feel when people say, you are no longer the Iyanya they used to know some years back?
What you think about me is not what is happening in my world. That's what you think. You gotta feel what you feel. But I'm fine, I'm blessed. I'm still touring the whole world and I'm still living my dreams.
But are you not missing being in the spotlight?
What do you mean by that? When I'm running away from being in the limelight. Even without music, do you think I wouldn't get girl friend? Check me out...
The recent video your dropped, you told a story about your late mum. What informed the story? That's me again trying to be versatile. I'm a musician, I'm trying to be versatile. There is nobody that will come into this industry and decide to limit himself. I won a competition and that means people voted for me to win that show. All these years that I make people dance, no one has taken time to drop out of a project. It's like R Kelly, will you tell me that when R Kelly drops a new album that he's not R Kelly anymore? If you check on R Kelly right now, he doesn't have up to a million followers. Would you say he's not R Kelly anymore? No! You can't judge people based on what you feel.
Are you not thinking in the direction of doing a collabo with your protege, Tekno?
That will happen someday. Everything is based on time. At the right time, it will happen. We don't want people to hurry us into doing something together now. This is because if we don't do it well, the same people will criticize us. At the right time, we will put out something good.
What will you consider as your happiest or saddest moment of your life?
The happiest day of my life was the day I won Project Fame. I don't have any sad day. I learn from my mistakes. Every day of my life is good no matter what happens, I take things in good faith. When things go bad I learn from it and move on.
Has Iyanya found love?
I'm not in love with anybody. I'm focusing on other things, but even when I fall in love, I'm not gonna reveal that to you guys. If somebody tells you guys this is my babe, the whole world will know about it. Over the years, I have learned to keep things to myself. I will show you guys my videos, I will show you guys my songs but I don't think I will want to show you my babe.
But what about Yvonne Nelson!
That's almost 10 years. She's probably married now. It's an old gist.