First of all, I want to give a very big shout out to Bouqui, Sammie Okposo, Lara George, TY Bello, Rooftop MCs, Midnight Crew, Kingsley Ike, Azu Ekiye, Benita Okojie, Mike Aremu, Wole Oni… and all the other Gospel acts from way back (I’m trying not to forget anybody before the phone calls start rolling in from the council of elders… Lol).
I’m giving all these legends props because they started ‘dealing’ Gospel music in an era when, even Nigerian music Industry wasn’t as developed as we have it today and Gospel music as an Industry wasn’t even budding, it was literally non-existent yet they managed to thrive.
These days we have more tools, more leverage and more artistes so much that we have started speaking of the Gospel sector of Entertainment as “The Mindustry” i.e, Ministry + Industry, so what seems to be the problem these days so that only a few artistes have matched up to the efforts of these legends?
What we see today in the Gospel is most artistes, having a sense of being critically acclaimed which only goes as far as such an artiste’s little circle but he carries on in that hype like one living out a fantasy, yet when we get out there people go something similar to “Sinach I know, Frank Edwards I know… who are you?”
I will sound like a kill-joy if I do not recognize the work some of our artistes are putting in to get their craft out in the likes of Nosa, Gaise, Ada, Glowreeyah, GAMiE, Protek, Provabs, Mike Abdul, Florocka, Onos, Obiwon… the list is actually endless but please can I stop at these few names? Thank you! Let me however, point out a few observations for the majority of us because if we can identify the problem, then we are half way to a solution:
1. Too Much Believe in the Hype:
Social media is the problem, and it is also the solution. The era of social media has affected music positively and immensely so much that it started breeding some side effects. I remember 2009/2010 when Twitter Celebrities was the order of the day, so many followers of the so called Twitter Celebrities came online to express their shock when they discovered that the standard of living of some of the followers in real life, was way better than that of these celebrities… talk about a reality check. People expected the Twitter Celebrities to live up to their hype but discovered they were regular people like themselves. (Today however, some of these Twitter celebrities have used their influence to create thriving online businesses).
I think most of our Gospel artistes needs this reality check/bite too. Due to the heavy dependence of the Gospel music on social media, some of these artistes have put on the I-have-arrived mentality and as a result are comfortable with the social crowd around them, therefore they see no need to proceed beyond the cybersphere. Some have been able to rake in some bulks as a result of their cyber influence and subconsciously, their minds have put a wedge on the track and the train halted before they even realised it.
2. The Holy-Spirit-will-push-it Attitude:
I have met artistes who accused me of crime because I put a price on publicity. Someone once said to me, that he/she does not believe in promoting a track since it’s God’s work, God will push it. My response? God already pushed it because he has put all these promotional resources at your disposal. Furthermore, Gospel artistes sometime confuse the business aspect of the ministry or are just waiting for a miraculous intervention that will shoot the single to the pinnacle. Jesus said, which one amongst you wanting to build a house will not first count the cost and see if he has enough to finish it (Luke 14:28), so you see, if you have the wisdom to pay for a quality recording, set apart a budget for promotion as well… now when I mean promotion, I’m talking from the artwork, press release to rotation.
3. Some Gospel Music Ministers Are Not Artistes:
I strongly believe that some Gospel music ministers shouldn’t have left the alter for the recording booth. This is why some will go into the booth to do a mediocre job while others simply pick other people’s song and recycle it. I was watching Kingdom Africa sometime ago and saw the video of a guy (who I don’t remember his name right now) who was performing a remake of Preye Odede‘s “Ebezina”… I was shocked like is this even legal?! You may be anointed to lead people in praise and worship, it does not necessarily translate that you will be able to write songs and if you feel strongly that God is calling you into the booth, then hire professional songwriters to write for you! This leads me to my next point.
4. We Don’t Respect the Business:
A lot of atrocities go on in the Gospel music community and because of the fear of God, the owners of right sometimes feel tied to proceed with the required action. Just like I said about Preye’s work earlier. I cannot count the numbers of remake of Chris Shalom‘s “You are the Reason” that are out there with only a few getting permission for it.
There is too much disrespect for the business even in the way we handle relationships and this has affected how we transact business with each other, how we value and regard each other, (examples include artistes-OAP relationship, artistes-producer relationship, artistes-blogger relationship etc.). Towards the end of last year, Mr. Bola Mogaji, a Gospel Music Promoter wrote a short article where he warned artistes not to wait till they “blow” before they learn how to reciprocate and respect the efforts of the behind-the-scenes people. The truth is at the end of the day, it is affecting the body as a whole. If there will be growth in the Mindustry, it will come from within not from an external force but as long as there is disrespect, sentiments, nepotism and the likes, it will keep affecting the collective growth, even the bible says it that where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work (James 3:16).
I hope with the few points of mine, I have been able to
confuse convince you and not to convince confuse you that… well, you know the rest! Lol! 😀
Signing out… it’s your boy Amos!
— Written by Alex Amos
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