Even before he was declared Artiste of the Year at the recent Headies Awards, Kukere master, Iyanya was widely acknowledged as one of the most successful artistes in 2013.
2013 was the year he got three mouth-watering endorsement deals, had the most successful tour by an African artiste in America and Canada, as well as bagged a couple of awards.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with Iyanya on his Headies triumph, the Yvonne Nelson movie that was not, his plans for a better 2014 and much more.
2013 was a good year for you, did you expect that much success?
I wake up every day believing God for the best things. My part is to work hard and keep believing and I’m thankful for everything so far. God has been faithful.
Tell us some of those beautiful things that God did?
The endorsements, the shows that I sold out in Nigeria and outside Nigeria; I had a successful America tour, UK tour, I’ve done so many African countries and they all sold out.
What keeps you going when things are not going the way you want?
It’s passion, the fact that I love what I’m doing, and my love for music, performing, selling out shows, headlining shows and the fans most especially. When they ask me what’s next, or what’s new, it challenges me and encourages me to bring out something new.
What was the first thing that came to your mind when you were declared Artiste of the Year 2013 at the Headies?
How does it feel winning it?
Winning the award is only going to motivate me to do more, watch out for me in 2014. I think it’s going to be a wonderful year.
Were you disappointed you did not win the other categories you were nominated in?
Yes, I was disappointed but I guess I went home with the biggest award of the night. So, I am cool.
You have started 2014 with the release of a new single, Away. What is the response from fans and how do you feel about it?
Away is getting a very good response so far and I’m thankful. All I have to do now is push it more.
What are your expectations for this year?
My expectations this year is to be better than last year.
What is your reaction to the issue of you featuring in a Yvonne Nelson movie?
I don’t want to discuss that, I have been so quiet about how she handles issues. I will let her deal with that issue since it is with someone else. I am focused on making my mark in 2014 in music and other businesses, I am not in a rush to act.
If the situation arose where Yvonne Nelson invites you to feature in a movie, will you oblige?
I will not give you an answer to that question.
Can you date her again?
No answer to that either.
Why do you think some artistes come up with a hit song and find it difficult to maintain it?
Music is quite expensive. Most of them make money and it’s hard to put it back in the same thing. Your next money is not guaranteed because there are lots of artistes.
If you say you won’t do show A, they can take artiste B for that show. It doesn’t mean that because you have a hit song you will be performing at all shows. It doesn’t work like that. So, some of these guys, it’s hard for them.
It’s hard for them to follow up. Follow up is the hardest thing to do. Many artistes make a hit but the money they make from that hit is not even enough for them to support or sponsor the next video. So don’t blame them.
So, they need a lot of money to remain relevant?
Yes. Let me give you an instance, I had a show here in Lagos, I was in Dubai. They made a mistake and booked my flight for Monday and the show was on Sunday. We rushed to the airport, they said no, my ticket was for the next day. After much pleading and explaining that I had a show that night in Lagos, they said alright, I could board but not business class since it wasn’t my flight. I had to fly economy with my business class ticket. Sitting down there, people around were staring at me like what am I doing there. A woman even walked up to me and said, ‘Iyanya, you no suppose dey here now. Na the other side you suppose dey’. What came to my mind next was that I can’t just decide that I want to fly economy today, it will become a gist. I have to work hard, I have to make money, to live up to your expectations. It’s not like I’m living my life for you but it’s the life that I chose. So, I have to do it.
– DANIEL FAYEMI