How church loses talented stars to the world
Watching Kirk Franklin and his likes gives a glimpse of what gospel music in Nigeria could have been if the likes of D'banj, KC Presh, Terry G, and MI are in the church singing to the glory of God.
Terry G, MI, KC Presh, D'banj would only leave one to wonder how far the Christian genre of music would have gone if they had not been lost by the church to the world.
Not many are aware that Dapo Oyebanji popularly known as D'banj was once a chorister at the Winners Chapel when Segun Obe was leading the youth choir of the church with the largest auditorium in the world. Today, D'banj is rocking the secular music.
There is no doubt that the church has produced the finest of artistes in the secular world. One of the most talented producers and singers the church has produced is Terry G, but you dare not listen to his weird lyrics if you still want to keep fit spiritually.
Terry G for about two years now has been ruling the airwaves with his crazy lyrics and lifestyle and will make you dispute that he has any link associating him once with the church. He is an act with street credibility.
Terry G, who was also a chorister like D'banj in his parents church came into the secular music scene some two years ago and has been the favorite of collaborations ever since. As for the sengemenge crooners, KC Presh, who were the future of R&B gospel music in Nigeria, theirs is a way no parent would want their kids to tread. we remember the first time KC Presh were invited to our church and of course that was when they started their musical career and were still into gospel music.
The whole church was charged as a result of their electrifying performance. Little did we know that may be the last to see them as gospel musicians. I envisaged the future of a group of guys that were going to win souls for Christ with their God-given talents and ministry. These guys who won the first edition of Star Quest were not known as choristers but church boys who would have lifted the glory of the church if they had stayed in gospel music.
Roof top MCs wouldn't have been the only gospel rap guys in town if MI had joined hands with his parents and continued his rap in the gospel field. With Bro D'banj on the gospel scene, koko may turn out to mean evangelism for that is the koko of Christian calling. With this, Christian may not have to explain to kids that koko is a bad slang that a Christian should not say.
Why did they leave the church?
Ace producer Terry G has never hidden the fact that he left because of money. There is a general impression that there is no money in gospel music. Kehinde of Infinity fame was once said if upcoming acts should see some Christian musicians, they won't want to venture into the gospel genre. This is an obvious fact in the case of the duo, KC Presh. We wonder what the problem could be with MI and D'banj. Could it be because they were not duly recognized in the choir or that they had no place in the choir?
To some, recognition across the board matters a lot . It is assumed that gospel artistes are not successful. They are not called for shows and people don't buy their songs, they prefer to buy the secular ones (though some gospel music are just a celebration of mediocrity). It is a known fact that in Nigeria, artistes mostly get their money from shows. You dare not rely on money from sale of albums. You sell one, Alaba boys sell twenty! Christian programs are not helping matters either. Helene Johnson , a comedian, once complained though in a joke, that Christians don't pay well when artistes are called to perform in the church, because all they tell you is God's work. But these churches pay honorarium to Pastors. We often forget that these artistes are also ministers of the gospel. We have seen people get born again after musical renditions.
That organizers of awards , record labels hardly nominate gospel artistes for awards or sign-on gospel artistes may be another reason why people do not consider going into gospel music. Nobody wants to do a business that won't profit him. Roof top MCs once had their song rejected by an international award organizer because the song has scriptures in it.
How to solve these problems
It is high time Christians started buying more of gospel music because if they don't support their own, where else will they turn to? You can't go ahead and buy secular musicians' CD and come around to say Christianity is losing her members.
Christian artistes also need to up their game, do good music, music that can compete with their counterparts in the secular world. They shouldn't do videos that will make us hiss. Infinity has shown that gospel musicians can do good videos. Get good producers, (ID Cabasa is a born again Christian), good directors, write good lyrics and do other things that will make us be proud of you. It is high time we imbibed the spirit of excellence. Nobody said gospel music is a lower genre or form of music. And for the award organizers, you guys should try and nominate these guys. There is no reason why Roof Top MCs shouldn't be nominated for best rap, Jahdiel for best vocal, Samsong and Segun Obe for best R&B. Churches should also be ready to pay these artistes.
The Bible says
“….A laborer is worthy of his wages”. Gospel artistes should also promote their songs aggressively. We won't say lend a
leaf, a leaf wont do. Lend as many leaves from the way secular musicians promote their songs. It is no child's play that Sammie Okposo is a Glo Ambassador. He has something unique that other Christian musicians don't have. He once said “…Gospel artistes need to learn the art of branding and marketing”. No wonder even secular artistes find it hard to beat him at the game of music. Christians should organize more programmes and shows; let's see more of “The Experience”. Also, gospel labels need to come up and reality shows will be a lot of help to gospel artistes.
With an increasing number of upcoming gospel artistes going into the secular world and the already established ones trying to dodge the gospel musicians appellation, Christians may have to take urgent steps to forestall throwing their food to the swine.
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