From his big break into the music scene in 2005 with his critically acclaimed album, “True Story”, afro-dancehall king, Timaya has been consistent and relevant throughout the years. He evolved with the times, often rebranding his image and his music
Born Enitimi Alfred Odom in Bayelsa State, Timaya was first nicknamed the Egberi Papa I of Bayelsa following the success of his hit track “Dem Mama” from his debut album. Not surprisingly, after the release and success of the album, he became known as a Dem Mama Soldier based off the strong message in the song. Timaya sang about violence suffered by the people of Bayelsa and the sufferings his people had endured at the hands of the Federal Government. It was from this period that he gained inspiration for his record label, Dem Mama (DM) Records.
Since his first album, Timaya has gone on to sample more chill vibes in new songs and released two more albums as well numerous singles and features. His most recent single “Balance” features lyrics touting his successes and wealth but is delivered in such a cool way with the harmony tinged with light reggae vibes; cementing his new nickname Don Papi Chulo. This new moniker means ‘Pimp Daddy’ in Spanish. Other colloquial meanings of Chulo are ‘cocky, attractive or cool’. For a onetime plantain hawker, Timaya has a lot to sing about.
But no matter the direction his music takes, there is always a life story infused in his music. In a recent interview, Timaya said that he is still steadfast to his dream despite all his achievements. He revealed that his dream is to perform in every country in the world and in a way, he is getting there. Jamaican rapper, Sean Paul was recently featured in an erotic remix of his 2012 single “Bum Bum”. He also had collaborations with Tanzanian singer Ali Kiba and Trinidadian singer Machel Montano. However, this is not enough; the dancehall singer goes on to say, “I’d love to work on a record or a project with Jay-Z.”
On his interactions with fans and how social media has affected him over the years, he said, “As an artiste, as a creative, public opinion could affect your state of mind, but it takes a lot of self-belief and majorly trust in God, not to hold that as a yardstick for validation. Nobody believes in me, more than myself.” This mindset stems from his realization that an artist should be responsible.
He went further to note that one of the obvious ways for a musician to stay booked is by receiving referrals from people who have experienced your brand. On how this knowledge affected his brand, he said: “At some point in my life, I had to make a conscious effort to rebrand because it’s not just about making good music, or being a talented person, talent is never enough.”
“It is very necessary to continue reinventing yourself to stay relevant. I feel like as an entertainer you should always give the fans, reasons to stay excited about your art, your music, performances, everything. Also, music, just like everything, changes. I’m always listening to the new sounds, the new shifts, learning about ways to stay relevant in every music era,” he added.
Timaya currently has a nine-song EP out called “Chulo Vibes”.
Read the full evolution of Timaya first published by THISDAY HERE