The Authority Icon: ENETIMI ALFRED ODOM (TIMAYA)
For creatively using the language of his generation to inspire society, especially the youth, to raise their gazes and pursue their dreams because these are achievable when backed with discipline, focus and perseverance; for lighting up the musical landscape and providing entertainment for a teeming audience in a challenging period, Enetimi Alfred Odom (Timaya), is The AUTHORITY Icon.
He was born on November 29, 1977, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to a banker father and trader mother and hails from Odi, Bayelsa State. He was the youngest of a brood of 15 children. He spent most of his early days in Agip Estate, Port Harcourt.
He attended the Assemblies of God Nursery and Primary School and thereafter 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. At age 14, his doting mother arranged for him to travel 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, he returned to Port Harcourt to study Banking and Finance at the Rivers State College of Arts and Science but could not conclude the programme for personal reasons.
In the course of time, he became completely drawn to entertainment and would often break house rules to attend late-night music events. Popularly referred to as Egberi Papa 1 of Bayelsa, he 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,’ another big hit was released in 2008.
Timaya once explained the origins of his debut hit track, ‘Dem Mama,’ in an interview. According to him, “‘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.”
He 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).
Timaya has collaborated with notable guest artists previously, 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.
He 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).