Lifes and times of gospel singer and West Africa Idol finalist, Eric Arubayi
By Patricia Uyeh
The Nigerian music industry is mourning their very own, Eric Arubayi, a gospel artiste and 3rd runner-up on singing reality TV show- West African Idols, who passed on February 11, 2017 at the Delta State Teaching Hospital, as result of taking fake drugs.
The late singer was born in Delta State to Professor Eric and Diana Arubayi. His father, Professor Eric Arubayi was a vice chancellor of Delta State University. He spent his early childhood in Abraka town with his other three siblings- Erica, Derrick and Daniel.
It was gathered that Eric Arubayi was greatly influenced by the American vocal group, Boys 2 men. Eric was quoted saying:
“I copied their style of singing at a time by forming a musical group of four where we did all the gymnastics and all that.”
In 2007, he became the third runner-up on singing reality TV show – West African Idol reality TV show that had Timi Dakolo emerge as the winner, and Omawumi coming second place. After the show, Eric delved into interior decoration asides music showing his entrepreneurial side.
In 2011, he released his debut album ”Redefined”. In an interview, he talked about his love and belief for the Nigerian music industry. Eric said:
“I believe we can do better, especially from the big acts, I expect a little more from them. It’s so sad knowing most of them don’t perform live; instead they prefer miming their own songs while on live stage. We need to make creativity vibrant in this industry”
Eric got married to his wife, Chinonso, a make up artist and Youtube vlogger on December 28, 2013. They are blessed with a son, Jayden.
He had released a song titled ‘My Everything’ to celebrate his marriage. He was also a very active member of House On The Rock Church where he was the lead singer of the church’s choir.
Eric Arubayi was also a philanthropist. In an interview with Modern Ghana, he explained some of his efforts at improving the lives of the less privileged:
“One of the most touching moments of my life was when I saw an abandoned baby in an orphanage. I was touched because the little baby was abandoned on the roadside with ants crawling all over it. I could not bear the sight of it.
“I am presently responsible for the little baby’s upkeep and I intend to do more. I remember when I was in Kenya, I met a lot of kids there with HIV and I wanted to do something special for them so I got them a year’s subscription of DSTV. I want to do more here. Not because of the publicity but I feel that God has been good to me. Life has been wonderful to me and I don’t ever want to forget that there are people who are probably not as lucky as I am”
Even though, most of his fellow finalists on West Africa Idol did secular music and he was pressured, late Eric stuck to his guns and did only gospel music.
While tributes continue to pour in, we say, good bye!
Photo credit: Instagram @ericarubayi