Enetimi Alfred Odom whose stage name is Timaya is a Nigerian singer and songwriter who has earned a name for himself in the Nigerian music industry. With hit songs like “Plantain Boy”, “Bum Bum”, and “Sexy Ladies”, Timaya has garnered a lot of fans both in Nigeria and across the globe. His electric stage performances have proven to be crowd pleasers at various concerts.
BACKGROUNDTimaya hails from Odi, Bayelsa State and was born on the 29th of November, 1977 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. He was born into a large family and he was the last child out of fifteen children. He spent most of his early days in Agip Estate, Port Harcourt.
Timaya grew up with a banker for a father and a mother who was a trader. During his primary school days, he attended Assemblies of God Nursery and Primary School and after that he had his secondary education at Nkpolu Oroworukwo in Port Harcourt. It was while he was in secondary school that he participated in various interschool competitions and got recognition for his efforts. His was known for never standing for bullying and was always vocal about his ideals. At the tender age of 14, he stepped out on his own and decided to pursue his ambitions independently. His mother arranged for him to travel down with his elder sister and brother to Lagos where he completed his secondary schooling. He attended Ikeja Grammar School and that was where he finally got his Secondary School Certificate. For his tertiary education, Timaya returned to Port Harcourt to study Banking and Finance at the Rivers State College of Arts and Science but failed to graduate as he dropped out after performing poorly in his first semester exams.
He At some point he became completely drawn to Entertainment and would often break house rules to attend late-night music events.
Timaya popularly referred to as Egberi Papa 1 of Bayelsa began his solo career in 2006 with the release of “Dem Mama”. The song was met with rave reviews and also appeared on his debut album, True Story which was released the following year. His second album Gift and Grace was released in 2008. The album was also a big hit.
Timaya later shot into superstardom through his third studio album De Rebirth, with its lead single “Plantain Boy”. The song which had catchy lyrics was a big hit along with the album and it stemmed from a period in his life when things were hard for him and he hawked plantain to survive. He collaborated with his Dem Mama Soldiers, a South South Music group he formed, on the album LLNP (Long Life N Prosperity).
Working With Eedris Abdulkareem
Timaya initially started out his music career when he joined Eedris Abdul Kareem band as a backup vocalist. He strived hard to be his number one back-up singer. Working with Eedris was quite the eye opener for Timaya. He had this to say about his experience:
“Eedris was a good person. One thing I like about him is that he is fearless, and believes in himself so much. He knows how to perform on stage. He knows how to carry the crowd, and that is one thing I have learnt from him. He could carry the street along, he could relate to the people, I learnt all that from him. What I did not like about him is the fact that he only tolerated his boys. Till date he never paid me a dime.The only money he gave to me was one thousand Naira after a show we did at Kuramo beach. That I did not copy from him. I treat my boys fine. I don’t owe them. They all have cars. I know that they all have their own family and their own dream, so I don’t mess with that. Eedris had time only for himself.”
After a while, Timaya set out on his own path and teamed up with K-Solo. Before meeting K-Solo, he had begun to record collaborations with fellow up-and-coming artists and had made his first cameo appearance in an unreleased music video by UDX, a Lagos-based rap group. He came in contact with producer K-Solo in Mafoluku, Oshodi. His meeting K-Solo was not by chance. Basorge Tariah Junior had seen him sing at a talent show and was impressed so he took the talented Timaya to Daniel Wilson’s studio where Timaya met K-Solo for the first time. ho help him produce his first hit track,”Dem Mama” after hearing him perform the song a cappella. Timaya once explained the origins of his debut hit track in an interview. He said “‘Dem Mama’ was an account of the 1999 destruction of Odi, a river side 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.”
After seeing how successful Dem Mama was, Timaya felt it was better he stuck to K-Solo as they seemed to have a synergy in terms of creating hits. He recorded seven more songs for his first album True Story, which was eventually released in 2007. Timaya then went on to start recording songs for his second album that same year with producers Phyno, Jeggs, Spankie, Akeem D Beat, K-Solo and Terry G. In 2008, the album titled Gift and Grace was made available. Two years after his 2nd album dropped, Timaya released his third album. De Rebirth and its success-themed lead single “Plantain Boy”, were hugely successful commercially, and brought him widespread recognition across Africa. The album’s production was fine-tuned 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 featured alongside late gospel artiste, Kefee on the song “Kokoroko” which was a huge hit in Nigeria. In 2014, he dropped his fourth solo album titled Epiphany which has been generating a lot of buzz.
One of Timaya’s oldest controversies is his relationship with film star, Empress Njamah which ended on a sour note. He once revealed that he was a sex slave to an older woman a long time ago. He said, “When I had nowhere to stay, I had to go and live with a woman friend who turned me into a prisoner. I had to live by her rules. I could not go anywhere until she allows me to. I could never stay out until 7pm, or else I am in trouble. She was older than me by four years and I did not have a choice.
Anytime I complain, she threatened to throw me out of her house. If I failed to make love to her, she would accuse me of sleeping with other ladies, and she will again threaten to throw my things out. That was when I was in Porthacourt. It was not easy for me then, but what could I do? It was when I was able to save some money to get another place that I was able to escape.”
Timaya and his daughter
AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
Timaya bagged two awards in 2008 including “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 Headies Awards. He also won the award for “Best Collaboration” at the 2010 Headies Awards for his chart topping song with Kefee. To date, his work has earned him four Headies Awards, and one Nigeria Music Award. Timaya was appointed a Peace Ambassador by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP)
True Story (2007)
Gift and Grace (2008)
De Rebirth (2010)
[Collaboration Album] LLNP long life N prosperity (2011)
Banky W and Timaya