Inetimi Alfred Odon, better known by his stage name Timaya, is a Nigerian singer and songwriter. He is the founder of South South hip hop group Dem Mama Soldiers.
Timaya speaks with Punch about his career and misconceptions people have about him.
Here are the excerpts:
You’ve managed to stay relevant since you released your debut album; how have you been able to do that?
I am grateful to God for the grace to stay relevant. I am constantly looking for new sounds and ways to make my music better. I also work with amazing producers who help to keep me on track.
You featured Paul of P-Square in your latest song, what inspired that choice?
Paul and I are good friends. I actually recorded Dance, sometime last year, but I didn’t put it out because I felt the song needed something extra. When I played it for him one day, he made a great verse and that was it.
Why do your songs contain a lot of vulgar words?
I do those types of songs because that’s what people really want. Some people criticise those songs, but they have millions of views and downloads online within a short period. We really should stop deceiving ourselves. Like I said earlier, I sing about a variety of things. Music is a money-making business, so I always consider what people want to hear and give them priority. That’s what fetches me money.
Who are your mentors, role models or people that you admire?
That would be Bishop David Oyedepo. I attend Living Faith Church, aka Winner’s Chapel, and I don’t joke with the activities of the church. As much as I can, I make sure I attend as many of their services, crusades, and other programmes whenever I’m in the country.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learnt in the course of your career?
I have learnt that God is everything. He is the most important factor you need to succeed. If God is behind you and you work hard, you would be unstoppable.
“I was born into a fairly comfortable family but I was a rebel and I often ran away from home. I once lived in Port Harcourt with a woman who was older than me and she used me like I was a sex toy.
“I had to service her whenever she had the urge in exchange for food and a roof over my head. However, I have always dreamed big. Despite my travails, I never let go of my aspirations while believing that one day, I would make it big.”
Would you be getting married to the mother of your children someday?
I don’t want to answer that question.
What are your likes and dislikes?
I like honest and hardworking people. I don’t like liars, lazy people or pretenders.
How do you unwind and relax?
Spending time with my daughters and family. Everything about me revolves around music and my daughters.
If you want to have a nice time, where do you go?
There a few spots I like, but I am not as particular about them as I am about my home. I really enjoy my own space.