Fast rising Nigerian singer, Inyanya Mbuk, considers himself to be a very lucky artiste. After winning the maiden edition of the MTN Project Fame Reality Show in 2008, the Cross- River State native became an overnight celebrity and had to adjust to being in the klieg light.
However, the singer with the ‘lover boy’ image says things were initially not as rosy as they appear 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 they 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.’
Luckily for him, the decision to visit his hometown, Calabar, after being away since the time he lost his father, turned out to be the turning point.
“During the visit, I discovered that a lot of people were dancing to Etighi – a traditional dance native to Akwa-Ibom and Cross-River states and it dawned on me to produce a song around that. But the truth is, I came up with Kukere to make money because Nigerians were not listening to RnB ,’’ he says.
Although Inyanya never imagined that the song would be a hit, he says just like his previous songs, he was very optimistic.
Since he released the single in December 2011, it has gone ahead to become a club banger and chart topper. For him, the highpoint is walking into a bank or restaurant and seeing total strangers singing and dancing along to the track.
He says, “I would be honest with you, my life has changed. I now go to places I used to visit and people jostle to take millions of photographs with me, when in fact I actually used to go to these same places in the past and people failed to notice me. When I look at myself, I see some guy that God has so blessed.’’
Although a reserved artiste, Inyanya would not readily agree to the fact that he has indeed been smiling to the bank. However, after much probing, he admits that one of the dividends of the new found fame is that he has moved into his own home in upscale Lekki, Lagos, and also taken delivery of a brand new Range Rover Sport.
Unlike some of his contemporaries, he says he is 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,’’ he says.
It has no doubt been a roller coaster ride for Inyanya. From his appearance to his appearance fees, he says it has been a 360 degree turn around. “I have come to realise that music is much more than the act, it is a business. So, the best thing any artiste can do for him or herself, is to continually reinvent. If I keep appearing or dressing the way I used to five years ago, my fans would be bored,’’ he reveals.
Last month, the tattoo loving singer became a trending topic after he was rumoured to be in a steamy romance with Ghanaian top actress, Yvonne Nelson. Although it was once a a hush-hush gist, after Nelson uploaded pictures of herself and the singer in suggestive positions on major social media networks to news of an impending engagement, trying to get words out of him in this regard can be likened to trying to squeeze water out of a rock.
‘’Since they say we are dating, and then we are dating. There is nothing I can say as far as that is concerned since people have already formed an impression. My answer is simply – no comment.’’
Having recently launched a new video titled Your Waist, Inyanya gives a note of warning to critics who are not impressed with the new track when compared to his last, Kukere.
‘’You should not expect me to keep doing songs that sound alike. An artiste should be versatile, and that is what I have tried to achieve in this new work,’’ he says.