Iyanya Biography: Age, Wife, Children & Net Worth

Iyanya – Kukere

Stage Name: Iyanya
Real Name: Iyanya Onoyom Mbuk
Occupation: Musician
Date Of Birth/Age: 31st October, 1986 (38 years old)
State of Origin: Cross River State
Gender: Male
Nationality: Nigerian
Marital Status: Not Married
Education: University of Calabar
Known for: Kukere

Born on October 31, 1986, in Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria, Iyanya Onoyom Mbuk, popularly known as Iyanya, has left an indelible mark on the Nigerian music scene. A talented singer and songwriter, Iyanya rose to prominence after winning the first season of Project Fame West Africa and is celebrated for his hit single “Kukere.”

Early Life and Education

Iyanya’s roots trace back to Palm Street in Calabar, where he was born to a headmistress mother and a forestry-working father. Growing up, Iyanya’s mother was the strict disciplinarian, while his father provided a gentler touch. Tragically, both parents passed away in 2008, and around the same time, he lost his older brother. Iyanya’s early exposure to music came from his grandfather, a clergyman, where he sang in the church choir and even became the choir master for the children’s choir at the tender age of five.

Despite facing personal challenges, Iyanya completed his primary, secondary, and university education in Calabar, graduating with a degree in business management from the University of Calabar.

Career Beginnings

Post-graduation, Iyanya didn’t jump straight into the music scene. Instead, he worked in a hotel and managed a local bar where he sang karaoke. It was in these local bars, including Fiesta Fries Bar, Mirage Nite Club, and West-Life, that Iyanya honed his vocal skills. Influenced by British singer Craig David and American hip-hop artist R. Kelly, Iyanya was inspired to pursue a musical career after witnessing the lifestyles of 2 Face Idibia and Olu Maintain. Initially, he started as a rapper under the name “Lofty.”

MTN Project Fame

In 2008, KCee from KC Presh persuaded Iyanya to participate in the first season of Project Fame West Africa. Despite facing stiff competition, Iyanya emerged victorious, marking the inception of his musical journey. Unlike many winners who fade away, Iyanya’s success was just beginning.

Debut Album “My Story”

Following his Project Fame win, Iyanya wasted no time and began working on his debut album, “My Story,” released in 2009 under CN Media Imprint. The album showcased Iyanya’s versatility as an R&B artist, featuring tracks like “Iyanya” and “Love Truly.” However, it faced commercial challenges due to distribution and promotional issues.

Global Success with “Kukere”

Iyanya’s breakthrough came with his second studio album, “Desire,” released in February 2013. Motivated by the Etighi dance from his hometown, he collaborated with producer DTunes to create the chart-topping single “Kukere.” The song became a global sensation, not only popularizing the dance but also solidifying Iyanya’s status as a music icon. Other successful singles from the album included “Ur Waist,” “Flavour,” “Sexy Mama,” and “Jombolo.”

Ventures and Endorsements

In 2011, Iyanya co-founded the record label Made Men Music Group with Ubi Franklin. His entrepreneurial spirit extended to endorsements, as he became an ambassador for Solo Phones Nigeria in 2013, reportedly signing a deal worth $220,000. Additionally, he inked a $300,000 deal with Zinox Computers the same year.

Musical Evolution and Style

Iyanya’s musical journey has seen him evolve from performing ballads, as showcased in his debut album, to embracing a fusion of R&B and Afrobeats. In an interview, he expressed his desire to be recognized for his versatility, citing the shift from R&B to Afrobeat as a strategic move to reach a broader audience and make a mark in the industry.

International Recognition

Iyanya’s talent transcended borders, leading to international performances and collaborations. He graced the stage at comedian AY Makun‘s show at the INDIGO2 arena in 2012 and headlined the “Iyanya vs. Desire” concert in the UK in 2013. His international tours included stops in the US and Canada, where he serenaded Grammy Award nominee Melanie Fiona and performed at the New York Fashion Week.

Films and Television Appearances

Beyond music, Iyanya made cameo appearances in the third season of the television series “Shuga” in 2013, showcasing his versatility across entertainment mediums.

Awards and Nominations

Iyanya’s impact on the music scene has been recognized with several awards and nominations. Notably, he won the Artist of the Year award at The Headies in 2013 and the Hottest Single of the Year for “Kukere” at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards in the same year.


Iyanya’s discography boasts three studio albums, including “My Story” (2009), “Desire” (2013), and “Applaudise” (2015). His musical journey also includes multiple singles, music videos, and promotional releases, showcasing his diverse talent and contribution to the Nigerian music industry.

Wife and Kids

He is currently single and has no kids.

Net Worth

Iyanya Onoyom Mbuk, the Nigerian singer and songwriter known as Iyanya, has achieved considerable success in the music industry, accumulating a net worth of over 2 million dollars. You can find him on Instagram.