Glowreeyah Braimah is happier than a lark. You can meet her full on when you meet with her craft as she leaves her indelible mark on everything her hands and voice creates. Most people know her to be a prolific vocalist/vibrant worship leader but thanks to social media, we are catching on to her peculiarity in the use of words by coining, clipping and blending from its original meaning, one amidst the many features of the new media.
But beneath the happy-go-lucky character is a woman charged with the mandate to use her gift for the propagation of the Gospel. Tested and proven by time, Glowreeyah has become formidable over the years marking a milestone victory with every challenge surmounted by making a song out of it. This you can tell by the story behind singles such as “To My Knees”, “God Alone” amongst others.
“I am captivated by your personality,” I told Glowreeyah
“Captivated?” she echoed, plainly surprised at the choice of word. “Well, there is a lot a happy face does not reveal.”
I understood completely what she meant but as we sat down to chat, I couldn’t stop thinking how blessed anyone that can always respond to life with a smile is.
Glowreeyah Braimah comes from a large, multi-tribal Nigerian family. Quizzing her about her background, she said;
“My Dad is Igala from Idah, Kogi State and my late Mum was Ibo from Enugu State. I have relatives and in-laws from nearly every tribe around. My early childhood days were spent in the USA and the latter days, in Nigeria. My parents are very warm, deeply religious, highly principled and extremely hardworking individuals. Our home was open to friends, strangers and pets too. There was space for a parrot, pigeons, turtle, gold-fish, cats, dogs and other livestock. Coping with the loss of our ‘Super-woman’ mother in an air-crash a few years ago was quite an ordeal. My family is a dynamically interesting one. Inspite of the challenges of life, there is always a story to share or something to laugh about.”
She has performed at the annual ‘The Experience’ concert organized by her home church House on the Rockalongside international artistes such as Don Moen, Tye Tribett, Donnie McClurkin, Micah Stampley, Cece Winans, Yolanda Adams and Nigerian-based artistes such as Sammie Okposo, Kingsley Ike, Eben, Frank Edwards, Mike Aremu, Freke and Midnight Crew.
She was also the Scriptwriter for ‘Sesame Square’the Nigerian version of “Sesame Street.”
As she prepares for the release of her new video (for the worship hit single “God Alone”) and the eventual album release, SelahAfrik‘s Alex Amos got a chance to talk to her about the video, her music, her lifestyle and lots more. She also revealed that we should expect the likes of IBK Spaceshipboi, Nathaniel Bassey, Cobhams Asuquo and more on the album. We have retained some of her use of words in this interview so that we do not kill the buzz completely!
SelahAfrik: Tell us about the role your parents played in making your music what it is today?
GB: My Father’s study was a wonderland- books, records, tapes, a guitar, an accordion, a flute, a grand piano and other interesting instruments. I watched my Dad as he painstakingly took piano lessons in his mid-40s. Inspite of his busy schedule at work, he found time to diligently practice on his piano nearly every day. I would often sit by his side and just be enthralled watching him play. Secretly, I know he enjoyed being the subject of my admiration. We would often sing a few simple songs together. He still plays the organ in the Catholic Church till date. Once in a while, we would entertain our guests with our ‘Daddy-daughter-duets’. My mother was always belting out a French, Spanish or Ibo folk-tune around the house as well. She was a Child Education expert and often organized edutainment activities for children. My parents loved the movie ‘The Sound of Music’ and I know they dreamed and secretly desired that our family would be the Nigerian version of ‘The Von Trapp family’. However, in my teens, they allowed me join a choral group and it was such fun to sing and perform the national anthems of other countries, folk-songs, classical pieces and negro-spirituals.
All I really wanted to do was bake cookies to eat, dance, climb trees, make people happy…”
– Glowreeyah Braimah
SelahAfrik: During those ‘teething’ years, did you ever think you were going to do music as a profession or ministry one day?
GB: Not in those specific terms. There were creative pulls here and there though. All I really wanted to do was bake cookies to eat, dance, climb trees, make people happy, read a book a day, write stories, pass my exams (or face my Mum’s wrath), have a house full of kids and see the world eventually. I tethered between wanting to be a Diplomat or a Journalist. Ironically, I remember writing a few songs at age 10. Songs about the moon, sunshine, world peace and getting over my Mum’s scolding (God bless her lovely soul!). In Boarding School, I became Social Prefect and soon after, a friend walked up to me and said ‘I know you’re going to be a Singer. I see it happening’. She said it so emphatically and I thought it rather strange at the time. I was a Hip-Hop aficionado back then. Well, here we are today!
SelahAfrik: You were named ‘the Bridge’ by your Dad and it’s not hard to tell that it’s because of your amiable character, being at such a tender age, how did you manage to keep that up till now?
GB: Awwwww… (Blush ‘tomato-tatashe’ red). You are very kind. It is indeed a prophetic title, considering my past and current family dynamics. The fruit of who we are is simply because others took their time to sow, cultivate and patiently tend to us.
SelahAfrik: Describe your experience so far being a gospel music minister
GB: A gospel music minister’s job description is one of the best jobs in the world. Regardless of the genre,through skillful music and an anointing, you are chosen to intreprete the heart of God to His people and simultaneously connect His people back to Him regardless of who they are, where they are from or what they’ve done. If I were to quote Nathaniel Bassey, he would say, ‘This is a job that you can never retire from, even when you get to heaven’.
In season and out of season, I am a testament of the building-blocks from the yester-years.Ministry for me started with a Campus fellowship choir-The Abiding Word Gathering (TAWG) at University of Nigeria,Enugu Campus; then briefly during my final year in University at Dominion City Church. Through Law School in Abuja, I served at HOTR(The Refuge).However, my home baseat HOTR Lagos has always consistently provided a foundation of the Word, Worship, Protocol, Leadership, Excellenceand Order. Through the navigation of life, discoveryof faith, theseplatformshave all served as excellent traininggrounds.The transition to the ‘min-dustry’ (ministry-industry) now brings to the fore, the inter-woven intricacies of the business of Strategy, Copyright Matters, Marketing/Distribution, Public Relations, etc. Apart from favour and divine help, it takes a lot of learning, hard-work, creativity, wisdom and spiritual diligence to pull it all together! I doff my hat and pay respect to my friends, colleagues and Big Brothers/Sisters who’ve been at it for quite a while.
However, through the years , there have been many behind-the-scene moments that the wide smiles and pretty pictures/creative art-work we put on display now do not reveal; the moments when one has been in the shadows of the background of life; when circumstances and trials are honing your character and molding your experience. Times when people will mis-understand you and choose to constrain you with their opinions. Times when you have to pour out yourself as a blessing inspite of how you feel and regardless of what you are going through. Times when you wonder if giving your all is truly worth it. Times when you have to encourage yourself when no one else is encouraging you. Times when your questions echo back no answers. Times when you sacrifice in faith believing in a harvest that your eyes have not yet seen. Times when you have to sing your song alone, for the ears of the audience of One. This is not a calling for the faint-hearted!
Inspite of the teeming challenges, the love for Our Lord and the passion for the kingdom come far outweigh the challenges along the path. My heart goes mushy every time someone lets me know what healing or encouragement they received from a song; or to see a kid singing along and dancing to good, wholesome ministry-music. This for me makes it all worth it!
The fruit of who we are is simply because others took their time to sow, cultivate and patiently tend to us.”
– Glowreeyah Braimah
SelahAfrik: Can you explain to us what ‘Kaleidoscope of Colours’ means to you?
GB: The origin of the word ‘Kaleidoscope’ is Greek ‘kalos’ which means beautiful + ‘eidos’ which means form +the English word –‘scope’. Simply put, it means-a beautiful, way of being, seeing or living. A changing and enjoyable pattern. Colour is God’s way of showing the world through nature and the works of his hands, another perspective; that beauty will always come out of ashes; that from the dreary, there can spring forth life! This is my testimony.
SelahAfrik: Your music tells stories of your life experiences. Is that where you draw your inspiration from?
GB: Yes! So far, I have been graced to live a roller-coaster life (a great many highs and a great many lows). These songs are all slices of these eras.
SelahAfrik: “Turn Around” has a very beautiful video to it, one of the best gospel videos in recent times; it also expresses your personality. Seeing that you are a script writer, I’m guessing you wrote the script to the video, true?
GB: Awwww….fanqueyeuuuu! All glowree to Him alone.Yes, I wrote the script.
SelahAfrik: “To My Knees” stirs deep emotions and you told a wonderful story to it, but it was only released for streaming, what informed the choice?
GB: Hmmm… understandably so.It was written in a ‘Calvary’ moment. I was in a very vulnerable state at the time and all I was going through did not make sense.Cobhams released the song on my behalf.
SelahAfrik: You got ace producer CobhamsAsuquo to work on the song, how did you manage to pull that off?
GB: My sound-board of a brother (Enyi Omeruah) kept humming the chorus like a mantra. One fine day, we went to Cobhams studio together just to catch-up. I watched Cobhams’reaction as Enyi sang ‘To my knees’ to him. I can never forget the look I saw on his face that day. It was like a million suns dawning. It was surreal.On the spot, Cobhams agreed to make it happen.
SelahAfrik: “God Alone” is wow! It’s your 3rd single since “Turn Around,” Should we be expecting an album anytime soon?
GB: Fanque yeu, SelahAfrik! Glad ‘God Alone’ wows you! The album has been ready for many months now*wide smile*.It will be available in due season.
SelahAfrik: You are yet to put any collaborative effort forward, should we be expecting that on the album, who should we be looking out for?
GB: Apart from the various producers involved,I am most grateful to heaven that the most amazingly gifted humanoids chose to lend their voices/skills on a few songs–Nathaniel Bassey, CobhamsAsuquo, MosaAdegboye, KalineAkinkugbe, IBK SpaceshipBoi, and more. I have become quite a studio-junkie and I record new material often, so this list isn’t exhaustive just yet.
SelahAfrik: You hinted that we should be expecting a video for “God Alone”, seeing that you set the bar high with the video for “Turn Around,” the anticipation is high, what should we be expecting?
GB: GOD ALONE!
SelahAfrik: How do you juggle music and being a lawyer?
GB: My forte in Corporate Practice is Regulatory. I remain ever thankful for a very supportive work environment.Overall, this balance has been achieved bypure grace and extreme favour.
SelahAfrik: You recently performed the historic “Via Dolorosa”, tell us about the experience?
GB: That beautiful classic written by Sandi Patty depicts the passion of Christ. Ministering the song alongside a 45-man orchestra this Easter was spiritually stirring.
SelahAfrik: How did it feel to have performed at The Experience 2013 alongside other great ministers both within and outside the country?
GB: All glowree to God alone! What an honour! What a rare privilege! Days before and many days after the event, I would lie awake at night, with a thumping heart, just pondering about the whole ‘thing’! To stand before hundreds of thousands of people (from all walks-of-life, denominations, races, age-brackets etc.) and to lead them into the presence of Jehovah, made me desperately seek Him! I was edged on by these words…. ‘You’ve killed the bear. You’ve killed the lion. Who is the Goliath that can stand before you?’ (The metaphorical Goliath I refer to here would be taking on a giant step ministry-wise).Honestly, I didn’t feel like a ‘Davida’ at all but the one thing I felt after my 15 minute-timer was up; as I kicked my heels off on the side-platform was gratitude and relief!
SelahAfrik: Describe your fashion style?
GB: Versatile and Afropolitan.
SelahAfrik: Can you tell us about your beauty regimen, how you keep yourself looking youthful and beautiful?
GB:Regimen sounds like boot-camp! I have no particular beauty regimen apart from being around good friends and loved ones who accept me unconditionally and can share a goofy laugh. I also skip and jump on my mini-trampoline. A glass of freshly-squeezedjuice and a bowl of Afang or Bitter-leaf soup every now and again is also necessary, don’t you think?
SelahAfrik: Where will you say is your best shopping spot?
GB: Any store or market (local or international) where I can get a good and affordable deal. Oh, how could I forget! MANELA –my older sister’s clothing/accessory store in Garki,Abuja. She gives me lots of stuff for free! (Laughs)
SelahAfrik: Mention 3 items in your make up bag that you cannot leave home without?
GB: Lip-gloss, a miniature bottle of perfume, eye-liners (teal and midnight-blue).
SelahAfrik: You have a funny way of spelling everything, tell us about that.
(Laughs) amazing how this question keeps popping up here and there. The art of word-bending and ‘quirky-spellism’ interests me greatly. I often create alter-names and titles for my family/friends based on how I have come to know them or what endears me to them particularly. I love words. Like play-dough and with a great degree of responsibility, you can mould them to be whatever you want them to be. Life evolves and no one should ever be limited or boxed into the corner of what has always been. As much as a rich history bequeaths us, there is still room for the new. So, ‘bless you’ becomes ‘blesh yeu’!
SelahAfrik: What does the future hold for Glowreeyah Braimah?
GB: There are so many dreams in my heart. Songs yet unwritten. Stories yet untold. Social Responsibility causes to support and lend a hand/voice to. Hearts to connect with. Places to go. People to reach. One can only plan to a certain degree. I am in my Father’s stable, able, dependable hands! I’d rather say that I am on the road to discovering a future that He has already pieced together! Most importantly,may heaven find me faithful for purpose in the days ahead!
Download GlowreeyahBraimah’s “Turn Around”
Download GlowreeyahBraimah’s “To My Knees”
Download GlowreeyahBraimah’s “God Alone”
Connect with GlowreeyahBraimah
Facebook: Glowreeyah Braimah
-Written by Alex Amos
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