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Timaya Biography: Early life, education, facts, controversies, personal life and awards

Timaya is the stage name of a Nigerian singer and songwriter who is popular for his dancehall style of music. He is also nicknamed ‘Don Dada’ and ‘Egberi Papa 1 of Bayelsa’, which are common adlibs that feature in many of his songs. This biography of Timaya will provide new insights into the life and career of the singer.

The singer has had a long career in the music industry and this article will include a discography covering all his songs. Also, look out for the list of awards that Timaya has won at the end of this informative piece. To get the ball rolling, we provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Timaya in the section below.

Top 10 important facts about Timaya

  1. His full name is Inetimi Timaya Odon and he was born on 15th August 1977 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State; however, he is an indigene of Bayelsa State. The singer was the last child in a family of 15 children.
  2. Timaya had tried studying for a degree in banking and finance at the university but he dropped out of the school after performing woefully in his first examination.
  3. He started his career as a member of Eedris ‘Idris’ Abdulkareem’s hip hop group as a backup vocalist in 2001/2002. He left to strike out on his own in 2004/2005.
  4. The singer released his official debut single “Dem Mama” in 2005, produced by K-Solo, a producer who was fresh out of secondary school.
  5. In 2007, Timaya dropped his debut album, “True Story”, which was released and distributed by Danco Music International. Since then, he has released seven major projects including five studio albums, one collaborative album and an EP.
  6. He is the founder and CEO of Dem Mama Records and in 2014, he changed the company’s name to DM Records. Artists that have been signed under the record label include TJ 2solo, Wrecoba, Allenian, Runtown and Patoranking.
  7. Timaya is unmarried but he has four children, Emma, Gracey, Emmanuel and Maya, from three different women.
  8. Timaya is widely awarded as a reggae and dancehall singer; in 2018, he was nominated for a Grammy award for his contribution to Morgan Heritage’s new Avrekedabra album in the Best Reggae Album category.
  9. Timaya won the Best Collaboration Award at The Headies two consecutive times, in 2009 and 2010, a feat that had not been achieved before at the ceremony.
  10. He has worked with some of the biggest brands in Nigeria and abroad including MTN, Globacom, Hennessey, and others.

Also read: Flavour Biography: Early life, music career, discography, marriage and facts

Timaya Biography: Early life and education

The singer was born as Inetimi Timaya Odon on 15th August 1977 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State; however, he is an indigene of Bayelsa State. His real name is actually Timaya and not just some made-up name. Many have asked, “Who is the father of Timaya?”

According to sources, Timaya’s father was a banker while his mother engaged in trading. However, Timaya was the youngest child in a large family of about 15 children. It seems that the singer’s father had more than one wife. His family lived in Agip Estate, Port Harcourt. He grew up in the capital city and started his early education there.

Timaya attended Assemblies of God Nursery and Primary School for his primary education and Nkpolu Oroworukwo for his secondary school education. However, he was reportedly notorious as a child. He revealed that he would break house curfew to attend late-night music events. He also ran away from home sometimes.

Thus, his mother, believing that a change of environment will solve the problem, asked his older brother and older sister to take him with them to Lagos. When Timaya first got to Lagos, he was enrolled at the Ikeja Grammar School from where he sat for and obtained a secondary school certificate.

Also, it appeared that he established music connections during his stay in Lagos. He returned to Port Harcourt to study banking and finance at the university but he dropped out of the school after performing woefully in his first examination.

Early music career

Timaya developed a keen interest in music right from an early stage. This was why he broke house rules to attend events even when he was still a teenager. His short stay in Lagos had also helped him to link with some music-minded people.

This was why after failing at the university, he returned to Lagos in 2001/2002 and joined Eedris ‘Idris’ Abdulkareem’s hip hop group as a backup vocalist. At the time, he was an unknown singer with a good melody and singing voice. He left Abdulkareem’s group after three years and struck out as a solo artist.

The three years had been valuable because it helped Timaya understand the Nigerian audience better. Besides, he likely made important contacts through Eedris ‘Idris’ Abdulkareem, who was a big star during the early 2000s.

Timaya Biography: Music career

Dem Mama (2005)

The singer officially started making music in 2005 as a solo artist. He worked with many underground artists in Lagos State and they recorded several collaborations. Timaya made a cameo appearance in a music video by UDX, a rap group based in Lagos.

After several attempts, he met K-Solo, a producer based in Mafoluku, Lagos State. K-Solo produced Timaya’s debut single “Dem Mama” in 2005 and it became a big song. The producer had allegedly heard Timaya perform the a cappella version of the song and liked it.

Timaya later explained in 2013 that “Dem Mama” was about the 1999 Odi massacre. “[It] was an account of the 1999 destruction of Odi, a riverside community in Niger Delta. Soldiers were hunting down militants they alleged killed eight policemen. The village was burnt down and numerous people killed. I bravely tackled the issue years later and won instant street credibility for my boldness,” the singer said in an interview.

True Story (2007)

Emboldened by the success of “Dem Mama”, Timaya and K-Solo continued to work together. The duo recorded seven more songs together. Timaya also featured an old-time rapper Namse Udosen, who is popularly called Menthol X, on a track titled “Pomporo”.

In 2007, Timaya released his official studio album titled “True Story”. It contains 11 tracks including the aforementioned “Dem Mama” and “Pomporo”. “True Story” also includes the timeless “Ogologomma” song. It was released and distributed by Danco Music International.

Danco Music International was the first record label that Timaya joined. In an interview published by Vanguard in 2012, Timaya revealed that the label bought the rights for NGN500,000 and later gifted him a rover car in appreciation of how well the album sold.

Dem Mama Records

After the release of his debut album, Timaya started his own record label, which he called Dem Mama Records. This was in reference to his debut hit song. In the beginning, he signed TJ 2solo, Wrecoba and Allenian as artists.

K-Solo started as Dem Mama Records’ in-house producer and Young D later replaced him as the label’s official producer.

Later, Timaya signed Nigerian superstars Runtown and Patoranking to his record label. He is recognised as being instrumental to their success as he groomed them for the Nigerian music industry.

In 2014, Timaya announced via his Twitter handle that he has changed the name of Dem Mama Records to DM Records. He tweeted:

Gift and Grace (2008)

Timaya started working on his second album while production was still going on for his first one. At the time, he enlisted the production skills of Phyno, Jeggs, Spankie, Akeem D Beat, Terry and K-Solo. By then, he had founded his own record label known as Dem Mama Records (now DM Records).

Dem Mama Records officially released “Gift and Grace” in 2008 and it contains 14 tracks including hit songs such as “I Don Blow”, “Yankulu Ya (Dem Mama Remix)” and “Ogologomma (Remix)”. The project won Album of the Year at the Nigeria Music Awards in 2008 and Best Reggae/Dancehall album at The Headies in 2009.

It earmarked Timaya as the next big thing in the Nigerian music space as he brought a unique combination of reggae sounds to Afrobeats. His dancehall style was also behind his success and breakthrough. Nigerian singer J Martins featured him on the “Good or Bad (O Wey)” single and the song won the Best Collaboration award at The Headies in 2009.

De rebirth (2011)

In 2009, Timaya released “Plantain Boy” and it is arguably the biggest song in the singer’s career. It enjoyed massive airplay and became a street anthem thanks to its theme about his struggles and rough childhood.

Fans were anticipating his next album with the release of “Plantain Boy” but the rapper’s next major highlight was a collaboration.

The late popular gospel singer Kefee featured Timaya on her 2009 single “Kokoroko”. The song became so big that it earned the Port Harcourt born singer his second consecutive Best Collaboration award at The Headies in 2010.

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“De Rebirth”, Timaya’s third studio album, was released on 28th May 2010 under Dem Mama Records. Akeem D Beat, Phyno, Flux, M-Yire, Jay Sleek, N.D, Jesse Jagz and Obaksolo (K-Solo) produced the 18 tracks on the album.

Timaya also had vocal contributions from fellow singers such as 2face Idibia (now 2Baba), TJ 2Solo, Allenian, Konga, Lanre, M.I, TJ and Wrecoba.

LLNP (Long Life And Prosperity) (2011)

Timaya worked with artists signed under Dem Mama Records called Dem Mama Soljas to release a collaborative album in 2011. The album was titled “LLNP (Long Life And Prosperity)” and contains 20 tracks.

The late legendary reggae singer Ras Kimono was featured on the album’s second track titled “Dem No Like Me”. Timaya owns 11 of the songs off of the album while the remaining songs were distributed among TJ 2solo, Wrecoba and Allenian – the other artists that completed the Dem Mama Soljas. Young D and Phyno are among the producers of this lesser-known Timaya project.

Upgrade (2012)

The “Dem Mama” crooner returned with his fourth solo album titled “Upgrade” on 25th June 2012. “Upgrade” was released by Timaya’s Dem Mama Records and houses 14 tracks. Some of its notable songs include “Bum Bum”, “Sexy Ladies”, and “Malonogede”.

“Bum Bum” and “Sexy Ladies” were already hit singles before Timaya announced Upgrade’s release. The singer, who also uses the moniker ‘Egberi Papa 1 of Bayelsa’, featured Nigerian artists like Attitude, Terry G and Vector. “Malonogede” (with Terry G) and “Illuminati” were released as singles off of the album.

Yung D (Young D) was the sole producer credited on the album and he handled the production of all 14 tracks. TooXclusive criticised the album for sounding monotonous and said it recycled the same club beats and rants that Timaya is known for.

The singer was also featured on Duncan Mighty’s “I Know I Know Dat”, a single that was part of the latter’s “Footprints” album. “I Know I Know Dat” leaked on the internet just before Duncan Mighty released his album.

Epiphany (2014)

Timaya returned in 2014 with his fifth studio album titled “Epiphany”. It was released under DM Records (the new name of Dem Mama Records). The album contains 20 tracks and owes its success to big hits such as “Bum Bum Remix” (with Dancehall A-Lister, Sean Paul), “Sanko” and “Ukwu”.

On “Epiphany”, Timaya featured a wide range of Nigerian singers such as 2baba, Patoranking, Olamide, Sir Shina Peters, Deettii, Phyno and Terry G. It has other notable songs like “Hold Me Now”, “Girls Dem” and “Bow Down”.

Production credits for the “Epiphany” album went to Young D, Orbeat, Sarz, Kenny, Drey Beatz, Popito, Masterkraft, T Spice and Jez Blenda. Young D was specially credited for mixing and mastering most of the tracks.

Commenting on the album, Echezonachukwu Nduka of Praxis Magazine wrote: “On the whole, “Epiphany” scales above average and affirms Timaya’s talent and professionalism.”

“I Concur” (2015), “Telli Person” (2018) and Chulo Vibes (2019)

After his fifth studio album, Timaya took some time off making full-length projects and stuck to dropping singles. In 2015, he featured Don Jazzy on the trend-setting mainstream single “I Concur”. As of December 2020, the music video for the song has 12.6 million views.

The next year he released “I Like The Way”, “Bang Bang” and “Money” (with Flavour N’abania). Then he collaborated with rappers Olamide and Phyno to drop the catchy “Telli Person” single. Kenny Wonder produced the track that was generally perceived as a diss aimed at arrested Nigerian fraudster Hushpuppi.

Timaya also released “Ah Blem Blem”, another popular hit single in 2018. Then he made a comeback to a major project making in 2019. Timaya released a nine-track EP titled Chulo Vibes in February 2019. It contains previously released singles “Balance” and “I Can’t Kill Myself”.

On the Chulo Vibes EP, Timaya featured Nigeria’s Burna Boy, Tanzania’s Alikaba, and Trinidadian Machel Montano. The singer later released a music video for “I Can’t Kill Myself” in May 2019.

In a review, Ehis Ohunyon of Pulse wrote; “Ultimately, ‘Chulo Vibes’ makes for a fun and easy listen, collection of finely crafted singles and packed with summer breeze type catchy dance-hall anthems sprinkled with spots of lyrical moments.”

Timaya’s Grammy nomination (2018)

In 2018, Timaya was nominated for a Grammy Award for his contribution on Morgan Heritage’s Avrekedabra album. He was featured alongside Stonebwoy, Chubb Rock, Stylo G, Bunji Garlin, Dre Zion & Jaheil. The project was nominated in the Best Reggae Album category.

Timaya Biography: Personal life

Personality

What sort of person is Timaya? Well, while speaking to a media house in 2012, Timaya revealed that many people wrongly view him as a violent person because of his appearance and the way he sings. He said that he is actually the opposite. The singer also claimed that he would be the first person to run away should a war break out.

Selling plantain and living with an older woman

There are many interesting facts from Timaya’s personal life. One popular question that people ask is, “Did Timaya really sell plantain?”

The answer is yes, the singer has confirmed this in interviews. Thus, it was not just something he used to sell his song.

Also, he mentioned that when he was still trying to make it in the music industry, his landlord threw him out. He had to live with an older woman in Port Harcourt who accommodated him. In his words, Timaya said:

“The woman accommodated me after I was thrown out by my landlord. And all through my stay, she fed me. Of course, she handed me rules and regulations. I must be in the house by 7 pm and she slept with me whenever she wanted, whether I liked it or not.”

Is Timaya married?

No, Timaya is not married. However, he has many baby mamas. He first started dating Barbara Nwokolo, a graduate of the Benson Idahosa University, at the beginning of his career. They had their first child in May 2012 and the second in July 2015.

The two children that Barbara Nwokolo bore for Timaya are girls and their names are Emma and Gracey. The singer was also in a relationship with Nigerian actress Empress Njamah. However, the relationship ended in a messy breakup.

Then in 2018, Timaya had a baby boy named Emmanuel with Tamar, an interior decorator based in Lagos State. At the end of the year, Timaya opened an interior décor showroom for her in Lekki, Lagos State.

Timaya Biography: early life, education, facts, controversies, personal life and awards

See also: 2Baba (2Face) Biography: Early life, music career, discography, awards and personal life

In November 2020, Timaya announced via his Instagram page that he had welcomed a daughter named Maya with Dunni. At the time of making the announcement, Timaya mentioned that Maya was already 6 months old. This places her date of birth at about May 2020.

Timaya Biography: Net worth and endorsement deals

Inetimi Timaya Odon, simply known as Timaya, is one of the biggest music stars in Nigeria. He lives a luxurious lifestyle and does not shy away from showing off on social media. Many people are interested in what the singer’s net worth is.

According to our research, we found that Timaya is thought to worth between $8 million and $10.5 million. We also found some of his expensive assets on display.

For one, he owns a house in Lekki that is estimated to be worth NGN250 million. The house was built like a palace befitting of a king.

With respect to cars, Timaya owns a Bentley that is thought to worth about NGN72 million. His other expensive exotic cars include two Range Rovers (worth NGN17 million to 19 million each), a Mercedes Benz G55 AMG (worth NGN55 million), a Lexus SUV (worth NGN13 million) and a Mercedes Benz Gle (worth NGN20 million).

Timaya Biography: early life, education, facts, controversies, personal life and awards

Likely, Timaya has several other cars that have not made it to social media yet as well as other assets.

But how does he make his money? For one, he makes money through his music sales. Also, as a top Nigerian entertainer, he charges about NGN5 million to NGN10 million per show.

Besides, Timaya has worked with some of the biggest brands in Nigeria and abroad including MTN, Globacom, Hennessey and others.

Timaya Biography: Controversies

In a radio interview with popular OAP Daddy Freeze in 2018, Timaya confirmed that he collected his car back from Empress Njamah after their relationship ended. He said he had asked her to return the car herself and she refused, thus, he had to go to her church to retrieve the car.

The incident caused a major scandal but the two of them have since settled their differences and are going on with their lives separately. Besides trouble with Njamah, Timaya was also involved in a war of words with former Nigerian rapper Eedris ‘Idris’ Abdulkareem.

In 2017, Timaya replied to an accusation that Eedris made about him. Eedris Abdulkareem had berated some Nigerian artists including D’banj, 2Baba, Davido, and Timaya in a video. He called them ingrates for not going back to their roots.

Read also: Timaya calls Eedris the F-word in an expletive-laden video

Timaya Biography: early life, education, facts, controversies, personal life and awards

In Timaya’s reply, he mentioned how the rapper treated him poorly while he was part of his group. Speaking about his time with the group back in 2012, Timaya said:

“I don’t like being in a place where I am tolerated and Eedris does this very well. He never paid me a dime in the three years I worked for him except for an occasion he gave me N1000 after a show at Kuramo beach.

“Everybody that worked with Eedris when I was with him had a dream but he never helped make their dream happen.”

Final thoughts…

As the Egberi Papa 1 of Bayelsa, Timaya has managed to take himself from ‘a nobody’ to a notable Nigerian musician. He is not one of those celebrities that try to explain why he has many baby mamas. Timaya is proud of how he is living his life and has even said he will not be getting married soon.

Additionally, he is still making good music with songs in 2020 such as “Born to Win” and “Lagos Party”. The singer has done his share and contributed largely to Nigerian music. He is not handing over the reins anytime soon but he surely has been taking it easier than when he was still struggling to find his footing.

Additional Timaya information

List of Timaya albums

  1. True Story (2007) tracklist

  • Intro
  • True Story
  • Timaya
  • Honey Na Money
  • Skit
  • Dem Mama
  • Pomporo
  • Ogologomma
  • Bayelsa – Out
  • Skit
  • Wayo People
  1. Gift And Grace (2008) tracklist
  • I Don Blow
  • Hey
  • God I Beg
  • Dem Mama Anthem
  • Kai Kai Love
  • If To Say
  • Chinekemeh
  • God You Are 2 Much
  • Iyawo Mi
  • Yankulu Ya (Dem Mama Remix)
  • Na Mistake
  • Ogologomma (remix)
  • Rap Timaya
  • God You Are 2 Much (remix)
  1. De Rebirth (2010) tracklist
  • Thank You
  • Watta Bambam
  • It’s About Time (ft. 2Face)
  • Who Born You (ft. Wrecoba)
  • E No Matter
  • Kpam Kpam Golo
  • Love Over Me
  • Money Money Money
  • Press
  • Feeling So Fly (ft. Allenian)
  • Freestyle
  • Happy Birthday
  • Life Anagaga (ft. M.I)
  • Ruler
  • Plantain Boy
  • Peke Peke
  • Watta Bambam (Instrumental)
  • Happy Birthday (Instrumental)
  1. LLNP Long Life N Prosperity (2011) tracklist
  • LLNP
  • Dem No Like Me (ft. Ras Kimono)
  • Upgrade (Timaya & TJ 2Solo)
  • Different Style (Wrecoba)
  • Wa Bamijo (Timaya & Allenian)
  • Razz (Timaya & Wrecoba)
  • Celebration
  • Born Throway (Timaya & TJ 2Solo)
  • Jekamalo (Timaya & Allenian)
  • Not All Friends (Timaya & TJ 2Solo)
  • Halleluyah
  • Replay (Timaya & Wrecoba)
  • Hustle Everyday
  • My Model (Timaya & Allenian)
  • She No Mind (Timaya & TJ 2Solo)
  • All The Way
  • Soloti (Timaya & TJ 2Solo)
  • Happy Happy
  • E No Easy (Timaya & Wrecoba)
  • Another Man Work, Another Man Chop
  1. Upgrade (2012)

  • Sexy Ladies
  • Malonogede (ft. Terry G)
  • Go Down Low
  • Bobby
  • I Am Sorry
  • Bum Bum
  • Bolanle
  • Love & Friend
  • Illuminati
  • I Have It
  • Club On Fire
  • Be My Honey
  • All The Way (remix) (ft. Attitude)
  • Good Life (ft. Vector)
  1. Epiphany (2014)

  • Bow Down
  • Sanko
  • Lai Lai (ft. Terry G)
  • Love (My Baby)
  • Gbagam (ft. Deettii & Phyno)
  • Badman Tin
  • It’s Allowed
  • Girls Dem (ft. Patoranking)
  • Happy (ft. Sir Shina Peters)
  • Dance Hall King
  • Bother Me
  • Pain
  • Overflow (ft. Olamide)
  • Behind Me
  • Eshe
  • Appreciation (ft. 2Baba)
  • Hold Me Now
  • Ukwu
  • Ekoloma Demba
  • Bum Bum (remix) (ft. Sean Paul)
  1. Chulo Vibes (2019)

  • Balance
  • The Mood
  • Pull Up (ft. Burna Boy)
  • Akuna
  • Number One (ft. Alikiba)
  • Obrigado
  • Can’t Kill Myself
  • Happy (ft. Machel Motano)
  • Stoopid

List of Timaya awards

  1. Best Reggae/Dancehall Album at The Headies (2008)
  2. Album of the Year at Nigeria Music Awards (2008)
  3. Best Reggae/Dancehall Album at The Headies (2009)
  4. Best Collaboration at The Headies (2009) (with J Martins and P-Square)
  5. Best Collaboration at The Headies (2010) (with Kefee)
  6. Best Afro-Dancehall song at Afrotainment-Museke Online African Music Awards (2011)
  7. Dancehall Act of the Year at AFRIMMA (2017)
  8. City People Music Special Recognition Award (2018)
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