Timaya is a self-made musical behemoth!
Real name: Inetimi Alfred Odon Stage name: Timaya Date of birth: August 15, 1977 State of Origin: Bayelsa Nationality: Nigerian Genre: Dancehall, Ragga, Hip Hop, Afrobeat
Timaya is one of those rare breeds of artists who rose above humble beginnings to carve a niche for himself in the music industry, choosing to depend on no one but himself.
As a Nigerian singer and songwriter, the star began his solo career in 2005 with the release of the single Dem Mama and he gained international recognition with his third studio album De Rebirth.
Born in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Timaya grew up in a large family. He is the youngest of fifteen children and as a child, he and his siblings lived in Agip Estate, Port Harcourt.
He attended Assemblies of God Nursery and Primary School before proceeding to Nkpolu Oroworukwo for his secondary education.
Timaya would often go against his house rules to attend late-night music events and before he graduated from school, his mother arranged for him and his older brother and sister to travel to Lagos.
His move to the city saw him continue his secondary education at Ikeja Grammar School where he got his secondary school certificate.
He returned to Port Harcourt to study Banking and Finance at the tertiary level and had to drop out when he performed poorly after the first semester.
Returning to Lagos, he joined Eedris Abdulkareem’s hip hop group as a backup vocalist and left the group after three years to pursue a solo career.
Timaya then started to record collaborations with other artists (including the up-and-coming ones) and made his first cameo appearance in an unreleased music video by UDX, a rap group based in Lagos.
A meeting with producer Obaksolo in Oshodi led to the production of his first major hit track Dem Mama. Obaksolo produced the song after hearing him perform an acapella version.
In an interview posted in August 2013, Timaya said Dem Mama was the story of the 1999 destruction of Odi, a riverine community in the Niger Delta area in which the hunt for militants by soldiers led to the alleged killing of eight policemen. The village was razed to the ground and there were numerous other casualties.
Following the success of Dem Mama, Timaya decided to continue to work with producer K-Solo and recorded seven more songs for his first album titled True Story (released in 2007).
Later in 2007, the artist began working on a second album with producers Phyno, Jeggs, Spankie, Akeem D Beat, Obaksolo, and Terry G.
In 2008, True Story was released to stores nationwide and Timaya won two awards for it; Album of the Year at the Nigeria Music Awards and Best Reggae/Dancehall Album at the Headies Awards.
He also got the Best Reggae/Dancehall Album for Gift and Grace and Best Collaboration for Good or Bad (featuring J Martins) at the 2009 Headies.
2011 saw Timaya drop his third studio album De Rebirth with the successful lead single Plantain Boy. The production of the album was overseen by Akeem D Beat, Phyno, Flux, M-Yire, Jay Sleek, N.D., Jesse Jagz, and Obaksolo.
Collaborations on the album featured the likes of 2Baba, TJ 2Solo, Allenian, Konga, Lanre, M.I., TJ, and Wrecoba.
Timaya appeared on the song Kokoroko by the late female gospel artist Kefee which went on to win the Best Collaboration category at the 2010 Headies Awards.
In November 2011, LLNP (Long Life And Prosperity), a collaborative album with his crew Dem Mama Soldiers, was released. The second track on the album Dem No Like Me featured the legendary reggae singer Ras Kimono.
Timaya released a 14-track album titled Upgrade on June 25, 2012. It spawned notable hits like Bum Bum, Sexy Ladies, and Malonogede. Terry G and Vector were featured in the album.
He released his fifth album Epiphany in 2014. It has 20 tracks and produced global hits like Bum Bum Remix (featuring Sean Paul), Sanko, and Ukwu. It has guest appearances from 2Baba, Patoranking, Olamide, Sir Shina Peters, Deethi, Phyno, and Terry G.
Timaya performed in Nassau, Bahamas in 2017 where he headlined the first-ever Afro-Soca Concert.
After releasing other singles and touring he dropped an EP titled Chulo Vibes in 2019, collaborating with East African artist Alikiba, Trinidadian Soca Legend Machel Montano and Nigeria’s own Burna Boy.
Timaya’s influence in the entertainment is significant and his accolades (besides the aforementioned ones) include 2 AFRIMMA wins and an NEA Award.
He was appointed a Peace Ambassador by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP), with the body’s co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Haan Moon stating that he is “one of those individuals whose lives exemplify the ideal living for the sake of others, and who dedicate themselves to practices which promote the founding ideals of the IIFWP.”