Rave of the moment, Iyanya Mbuk, considers 2013 his best year ever. Besides sealing mouthwatering endorsement deals with MTN, Zinox Computers and Solo Phones, his appearance fees have also tripled.
When a headline recently screamed, ‘Iyanya Mbuk gets over N130m endorsements deals in 2013 alone’, the figure sounded exaggerated as far as some people are concerned. But in reality, it is not too far from the truth.
The muscular singer clearly lives a life of luxury, surrounded by all the trappings of stardom. Besides his appearance which has greatly improved, he has also earned a new accent, synonymous with ‘celebritydom.’
Pointing to the fleet of cars, neatly packed in his Lekki, Lagos home, the Reality TV product is quick to douse what he describes as false reports currently making the rounds.
“I didn’t buy four cars in one day o. I only bought just one which I posted on Instagram. So I don’t know where people got their own story from. We have four cars in this house. I also do not get it when people say we (artistes) show off on social media.
“I mean if God has blessed me, there is no reason to hide that. We are not showing off. After all, everyone knows Iyanya’s story. Whenever I post pictures of my cars or money on Instragram, the public should understand that it is just my own way of saying if God can do it for me, He can for you too.”
“I am not half as appreciated in Nigeria as I am overseas. I guess that is the many rewards that ‘Kukere’ has earned me within a short period of time. The track is the most requested of all my songs at home and abroad. The Soul Train nomination was the icing on the cake for me, I felt proud walking and sitting close to my role models at the award ceremony. It was a life-changing moment for me,” he says.
Judging by the manner in which he made mention of Kukere at any given opportunity, Inyanya explains that there is no way the track can be separated from his success story.
“The truth is that I came up with Kukere to make money because Nigerians were not listening to RnB. See where it has gotten me today,” he adds.
However, the singer with the ‘lover boy’ image says things were initially not as rosy as they appeared to be.
“I had to work harder because at some point things were not moving well or fast for me. So it took me five years to study the industry in order to understand what people really wanted or expected of me. I remember I would walk on the street and people would ask me what was going on, as regards my career, when in reality I was doing RnB music but people were not listening.”
Since he became the butt of jokes online after he was romantically linked to controversial actresses, Tonto Dikeh and Yvonne Nelson, the singer appears to have learnt his lesson. But is marriage in the cards for the star? “I’m treading softly. I don’t know what you are talking about o. I am not thinking about that for now. I may sing Ukwu or Your Waist, it is not because I am a bad boy. It is just what I am inspired to sing at the time, mind you. I draw my inspiration from God. Although I am known for the raunchy songs, I am in fact a very deep and well grounded musician,” he boasts.
Iyyanya admits that he never imagined that he would become a star in no time. But unlike some of his contemporaries, he is still not too comfortable talking about his assets.
“I come from a very humble background and have also struggled to be where I am. Since I achieved nothing by my own strength or might, I don’t think it is worth talking or boasting about.
“I am also looking into investing in the oil and gas sector in the New Year, because I feel investment is key. Artistes must learn to invest because the fame is temporary and sometimes a façade. Truth is you will not always be in the spotlight and you may become bankrupt if you are careless with funds.”
Projecting into the new year, Inyanya has very lofty dreams, saying, “My craft has no doubt gotten better with time. I plan to remain true to my culture and will also be releasing a single in my native Efik language soon. I desire to be one of Nigeria’s greatest music exports next year.”