Enetimi Alfred Odon (born 29 November 1977), 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. His solo career began in 2006 with the release of “Dem Mama”, which also appeared on his debut album, True Story released the following year. His second album Gift and Grace was released in 2008.
Timaya gained further visibility and international prominence through his third studio album De Rebirth, and its lead single “Plantain Boy”. Both were commercially successful. He collaborated with Dem Mama Soldiers on the album LLNP (Long Life N Prosperity). In 2012, Timaya released Upgrade, which spawned hits “Bum Bum”, “Sexy Ladies”, and “Malonogede”. To date, his work has earned him four Headies Awards, and one Nigeria Music Award.
Enetimi Alfred Odon was born on 29 November 1977 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. He grew up as part of a large family; the youngest of fifteen children in Agip Estate, Port Harcourt. His father was a banker and his mother was a trader. For his early education, Odom attended Assemblies of God Nursery And Primary School. His secondary school education began at Nkpolu Oroworukwo in Port Harcourt. He would often break house rules to attend late-night music events. Before Timaya could graduate from school, his mother arranged for him to travel with his older brother and older sister to Lagos. After moving to the city, he gained admission into Lagos’ Ikeja Grammar School, where he eventually obtained a secondary school certificate.
Timaya later returned to Port Harcourt to study Banking and Finance at tertiary-level, however, he performed poorly in examinations and dropped out after first semester. He then moved back to Lagos to join Eedris Abdulkareem’s hiphop group as a backup vocalist. After three years working for Eedris, Timaya departed from the group to focus on his solo career. He began to record collaborations with fellow up-and-coming artists and made his first cameo appearance in an unreleased music video by UDX, a Lagos-based rap group. He subsequently met producer K-Solo in Mafoluku, Oshodi, who produced his first major hit record “Dem Mama” after hearing him perform the acappella version. Describing the song in an interview posted on August 2013, Timaya 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 the success of “Dem Mama”, Timaya decided to continue with K-Solo. He recorded seven more songs for his first album True Story, which was eventually released in 2007. Later that year, Timaya began work on his second album with producers Phyno, Jeggs, Spankie, Akeem D Beat, K-Solo and Terry G. In 2008, the album titled Gift and Grace was released into stores nationwide. Timaya won two awards in 2008: “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 edition of The Headies. Two years later, Timaya released his third album, De Rebirth and its success-themed lead single “Plantain Boy”. The album’s production was handled 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 appeared on the song “Kokoroko” by female gospel artist Kefee, which went on to win in the “Best Collaboration” category at the 2010 Headies Awards.
In November 2011, Timaya released LLNP (Long Life And Prosperity), a collaborative album with Dem Mama Soldiers. The album’s second track “Dem No Like Me” featured a guest appearance by legendary reggae singer, Ras Kimono. On 25 June 2012, Timaya released a 14-track album titled Upgrade, which produced hits “Sexy Ladies”, “Bum Bum” and “Malonogede”. The album features collaborations with Attitude, Terry G and Vector. Duncan Mighty and Timaya dueted on “I Know I Know Dat”, which was leaked onto the internet a few hours after the former’s album Footprints was released into stores. Both artists were among the honorees at the 4th annual Odudu Music Awards alongside M-Trill, Sodi Cookey, Becky Enyioma and Timi Dakolo.
n 2011, Timaya was appointed a Peace Ambassador by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP). Dr. Hak Ja Haan Moon, co-founder of the IIFWP, stated that he is “one of those individuals whose lives exemplify the ideal of living for the sake of others, and who dedicate themselves to practices which promote the founding ideals of the IIFWP.”