SPOTLIGHT: Timaya, Former Plantain Seller Bags Four Headies Awards



Nigerian singer and songwriter, Inetimi Alfred Odon popularly known as Timaya, is no doubt one of the biggest music stars in the continent today.

Born on 15th of August 1980 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Timaya founded the South-South hip hop group, Dem Mama Soldiers.

The ‘I Can’t Kill Myself’ singer kicked off his solo career in 2005 with the release of “Dem Mama”, which became a national sensation.

The song was featured on his debut album, ‘True Story’, released in 2006.

His second album, Gift and Grace, was released in 2008 but his third studio album, De Rebirth — released in partnership with Black Body Entertainment, and its lead single “Plantain Boy” — brought him a wider audience both locally and internationally.

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In 2012, Timaya released Upgrade, which spawned hits “Bum Bum”, “Sexy Ladies”, and “Malonogede”. To date, his work has earned him four Headies Awards, and one Nigeria Music Award.

The singer is the youngest of fifteen children, whose large family lived in Agip Estate, Port Harcourt.

Timaya’s father was a banker and his mother was a trader.

He attended Assemblies of God Nursery And Primary School, and his secondary school education began at Nkpolu Oroworukwo in Port Harcourt.

The singer, before he could finish secondary school, travelled with his older siblings to Lagos on his mother’s arrangement.

When he got to Lagos, he enrolled in Ikeja Grammar School, where he eventually obtained a secondary school certificate.

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However, he moved back to Port Harcourt to study Banking and Finance at tertiary-level but didn’t do well with his grades so he dropped out after the first semester and moved back to Lagos to join Eedris Abdulkareem’s hip-hop group as a backup vocalist.

He worked with Eedris for many years, before he exited the group to focus on his solo career.

He made his first appearance in an unreleased music video by UDX, a Lagos-based rap group and later met K-Solo,  producer in Mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos.

K-Solo produced his first major hit record “Dem Mama” after hearing him perform the a cappella version.

The singer said that “Dem Mama” was an account of the 1999 destruction of Odi, a riverside community in Niger Delta.

Timaya recorded seven more songs with K-Solo for his first album, True Story, which was eventually released in 2007 following the success of ‘Dem Mama’.

He later got to work with producers such as Phyno, Jeggs, Spankie, Akeem D Beat, K-Solo and Terry G – And in 2008, the album titled Gift and Grace was released.

He won two awards in 2008: “Album of the Year” at Nigeria Music Awards and “Best Reggae/Dancehall album” at the Headies Awards.

He also received two awards “Best Reggae/Dancehall album” for Gift and Grace and “Best Collaboration” for his feature on J Martins’ “Good or Bad (O Wey)” at the 2009 edition of The Headies.

He then released his third album, De Rebirth and a single “Plantain Boy”, which was no doubt a major hit.

The album’s production was handled by Akeem D Beat, Phyno, Flux, M-Yire, Jay Sleek, N.D, Jesse Jagz, and K-Solo. Timaya collaborated with guest artists, including 2face Idibia, TJ 2Solo, Allenian, Konga, Lanre, M.I, TJ, and Wrecoba. 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.

In 2011, Timaya was appointed a Peace Ambassador by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP). Dr. Hak Ja Haan Moon, co-founder of the IIFWP, stated that he is “one of those individuals whose lives exemplify the ideal of living for the sake of others, and who dedicate themselves to practices which promote the founding ideals of the IIFWP.”


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