Inetimi Alfred Odon better known by his stage name, Timaya is a popular Nigerian singer, songwriter and recording artist. He is also referred to as Egberipapa 1 or Dem Mama soldier. The versatile singer is quite adept in Reggae, Hip-hop, dancehall, afrobeat, as well as afro hip-hop. His dynamic voice and energetic performances has made him stand out in the Nigerian music industry.
Early life and background of Timaya
Timaya was born on the 15th of August, 1977 in Port-Harcourt, Rivers state. He’s the youngest of fifteen children. The Dem mama soldier who hails from Bayelsa was born and bred in Port-Harcourt. His father was a banker and his mother was a trader. Timaya attended Assemblies of God Nursery And Primary School for his early education and Nkpolu Oroworukwo in Port Harcourt for his secondary school education.
During his early school days, he often broke house rules to attend late night music events. He completed his secondary school education at Lagos’ Ikeja Grammar School, where he eventually obtained a secondary school certificate. The energetic singer has had his fair share of failure. Timaya made attempt at studying Banking and Finance at the university in Port-Harcourt, he flunked in his examinations and dropped out after first semester. He once sold plantains in the streets of Mgbuosimini to make ends meet.
His Rise to Fame
Timaya worked with Eedris Abdulkareem as a backup vocalist for three years before departing from the group to focus on his solo career. The early days of his musical journey saw him collaborating with upcoming musicians; he made his first cameo appearance in an unreleased music video by UDX, a Lagos-based rap group. Namse Udosen was one of his early mentors in the music industry back in Lagos in the early 2000’s.
He rose to prominence with his first hit single “Dem mama” . This single focused on the destruction occurring in the oil-rich Delta region and the brutality accompanying the rot. This track led to him being nicknamed Egberi Papa 1 (the town crier of the people) of Bayelsa. “Dem mama” was a commercial success so he recorded seven more songs for his first album True Story, which was eventually released in 2007.
In 2008, he released his second debut studio album “Gift and Grace”. Two years later, Timaya released his third album, De Rebirth and its success-themed lead single “Plantain Boy“. He gained further visibility, international prominence and public recognitions through the album.
In 2010, he appeared on the song “Kokoroko” by female gospel artist Kefee, which went on to win in the “Best Collaboration” category at the 2010 Headies Awards. He got featured by Kcee in the single “Erima“. He collaborated with Dem Mama Soldiers on the release of his fourth debut studio album “Long Life N Prosperity” in November 2011.
On 25 June 2012, Timaya released a 14-track album titled Upgrade, which produced notable hits “Sexy Ladies”, “Bum Bum” and “Malonogede“. His biggest hit “Bum Bum” garnered over 16 million views.
In 2014, he released his fifth studio album, titled “EPIPHANY. The album was a 20-tracker, with global hits, such as “Bum Bum Remix” (featuring Dancehall A-Lister, Sean Paul), “Sanko“, and “Ukwu“. “Sanko” had over two million views while “Ukwu” had over 3 million views.
In 2017, Timaya headlined the first ever Afro-Soca Concert in Nassau, Bahamas.Timaya released an EP titled Chulo Vibes in 2019. This project featured collaborations from East African artist Alikiba, Trinidadian Soca Legend Machel Montano and Nigeria’s Burna Boy.
The budding singer has worked with several artists like 2baba, Patoranking, Olamide, Sir Shina Peters among a few. Timaya floated his record label, DM Records Limited, under which he groomed artistes such as Patoranking and Runtown.
In 2017, he signed young Dancehall/Afro-Fusion artiste, King Perry to the label.
Presently, Timaya has over 50 tracks to his name and has sold over 18 million album units worldwide between 2008 till now, from his 6 studio albums.
The single “Dem Mama” thrust Timaya into being recognised internationally as he was appointed as the Peace Ambassador in 2011 by the IIFWP (Inter-religious and International Federation for World Peace). He is viewed as a person who stand for a good course.
Timaya was once romantically linked to Nigerian film star, Empress Njamah. The relationship ended abruptly. Timaya admitted that it was an abusive relationship.
Timaya is currently in a relationship with Barbara with whom he has two daughters – Emmanuela and Grace.
Awards and nominations
He won award for the Album of the Year, True Story at the Nigeria Music Awards 2008. He also won award for Best Reggae/Dancehall Album, True Story at The Headies.
In 2009, he got awarded for the Best Reggae/Dancehall album and Best Collaboration, Good or Bad” (with J. Martins and P-Square) at the Headies.
He got nominated for the Artiste of the Year at the Headies.
He won award for the Best Collaboration, Kokoroko” (with Kefee) at The Headies 2010.
He clinched the award for Best Afro Dancehall song, ” Plantain Boy” at the Afrotainment-Museke Online African Music Awards 2011.
Timaya was nominated for the category of Indigenous Artist of the Year at the 2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards.
He was nominated for AFRIMMA awards for Best Dancehall Artist of the Year and Best Dancehall Act of the Year in 2015, 2016 and 2018. He bagged award for Dancehall act of the Year at the 2017 edition.
In 2018, the “sanko” crooner was nominated for Best Reggae Album at the Grammy.
Timaya’s Net Worth
With a mega endorsement deal with telecommunications, Glo and MTN worth N45 million, real estate investments, luxury cars and show booking charges between N2M – N4M; Timaya’s net worth stands at an impressive worth of $10.5 million.