by Rachel Ogbu
I’m cool with Yvonne. Apart from the fact that I mentioned her name in my song, she is a wonderful person. She is one of the nicest, coolest people that I know. The same with Tonto. They are two people I respect a lot.
There is one name on everybody’s lip this Christmas, no it’s not Tonto Dikeh, its Iyanya but Tonto Dikeh still finds a way of sliding into every conversation- even now.
Iyanya has had a good year, he can’t complain, if you are an avid listener of Nigerian songs, you would certainly be familiar with “Kukere” and “Your Waist” which have practically become anthems across every TV station, every radio frequency and every show in the country.
In one interview, Iyanya revealed at the time he released the hit “Kukere” he had only N1 000 in his pocket. Well look at him now, the RnB turned Afro pop singer has been cruising around in his Range Rover that reportedly cost N12 million.
Iyanya burst into the limelight in 2008 after winning the first edition of the reality TV show, Project Fame West Africa Season 1 and spent four years after that pursuing his career as an R&B singer. But after delving into Afro Pop with the release of his monster hits “Kukere” and “Your Waist”, he put his name at the top of the list of Nigeria’s hottest artistes.
His song “Kukere” recently broke the record for highest download of a single caller ringback tune to 3 million subscribers across Nigeria and won the award for Best Pop Single at the 2012 Headies. It became an even bigger hit after a remix with D’Banj was released. “D’Banj is a big brand. Working with him has not been as hard as people think it would be. As big as he is, he is very willing to listen to me. Everything that he did on the track, he wanted to have my own opinion, he wanted me to be comfortable with it. Working with him was a blessing and it really showed me a whole lot of things,” Iyanya said.
Iyanya also made his name being in the middle of a love triangle. Describing his alleged relationship with Ghanaian movie star, Yvonne Nelson and Nollywood actress, Tonto Dikeh, Iyanya said: “Yvonne is my hommie, we are cool people even till now as we speak. Tonto is my padi, we are cool. The media and people out there are just having fun.”
Iyanya says 2012 was good but 2013 would be better, he plans to release “Iyanya Versus Desire” in March 2013. Speaking in the third person, he said: “Iyanya is the guy you guys have made, the Kukere guy. Desire is the R&B guy. I’ve got a lot of songs recorded already. I’ve been working for the last one year. After Kukere, I realized that if I don’t put in the work, people would call me a one-hit wonder. I have a song with M.I, a song with Flavour and a whole lot more.”
See excerpts from a recent interview:
Why did you decide to start your own record label?
It helps you focus and when you own a record label, you make the decisions. When you attain success, you’d be grateful and appreciate your efforts and when failure comes, you’d also face it as a man. Also, I feel like I’ve been around for a while and it is only fair that I reap the fruits of my labour. I don’t want somebody from nowhere to tell me what to do.
Red Sheet Magazine recently called you the “Sexiest Man Alive” when you featured on the cover of its latest edition. How do you feel about the title?
I don’t even know what to say about that. Most people think I had a hand in it but I didn’t. It caused some kind of controversy. They didn’t tell me this was going to be the caption of the interview. I saw it for the first time when the magazine came out and I was like ‘Are you kidding me’? Why would they call me the sexiest man alive? What would they say about Tyson Beckford or George Clooney?
Tyson and George are not Nigerians. The magazine was probably zoning in on Nigerians.
Oh please! There are guys that are not even celebrities that are hotter and richer. But it’s already out there. People didn’t get that I had nothing to do with it. They just insult you and say all sorts of things. It’s the price you pay for being famous.
Some weeks ago, Ghanaian actress Yvonne Nelson tweeted about someone who cheated on her adding that she had broken up her relationship with the person. It was reported on several platforms that you were the one she was referring to. Is that true?
She didn’t mention my name so I don’t know anything about it. I’ve never told anyone that I was dating anybody. Whatever you are hearing out there, you didn’t hear from me so I have nothing to do with anything that is happening.
The media speculation of you being in a relationship with Yvonne was triggered by certain events. You’ve been seen around town with her and you used her name in one of your songs to mention a few.
I’m cool with Yvonne. Apart from the fact that I mentioned her name in my song, she is a wonderful person. She is one of the nicest, coolest people that I know. The same with Tonto. They are two people I respect a lot. I appreciate their hardwork and they are doing very well in their field.
Around that period, someone tweeted at you saying “You must be a fool for dumping Yvonne for Tonto” and your reply was “thanks”. It sort of implies that the person was right.
No, it didn’t imply that the person was right. It is unfortunate that whoever the person was does not even know the truth of the situation. Most of the people on Twitter don’t know the truth about things they hear. I just said “thanks” because I felt like “why would somebody say something like this when the person does not even know the truth?” It just means the person has so much pain so instead of me to start a fight with the person, I had to thank him or her. It could just be us having fun. It could just be the media having fun. Everything happening right now could just be a lie.
So if you aren’t dating either of them, who is the special lady in Iyanya’s life?
Nobody. It’s not like there can’t be anybody but my job would not allow it. And for my kind of person, it’s hard to find somebody that would be with you and actually take the pain, stand the rain. I feel like anyone I’ve tried to have a relationship with always says “no, I can’t”.
Awww. Don’t worry someone is coming along soon. What would you want her to be like? What characters should your ideal girl have?
I like classy women. When I say classy, I don’t mean you must have money, but at least know your self-worth and carry yourself well. I want a God fearing woman too because at the end of the day women have the deepest secrets. Women are fragile even when they act like they are bosses so if you mess up, there is a possibility that a woman will bring you down.
Looking back at the year 2012, what are you thankful for?
I’m thankful for 2012, to everybody that helped me, everybody that said no to me because it only made me work harder. Even when all this was happening on Twitter, some people still showed me love. They are the true fans and I want to say I love them for being there and I appreciate them.