Making music is my ministry, obedience to call of God – Chineze Okeke
For Chineze Okeke, worship leader and Co-Pastor at The Father’s Church, Abuja, making music is her ministry, as she gives in her all in obedience to the call of God.
In an interview with Vanguard Allure, Okeke, who studied French at the University of Port-Harcourt, and also a certified Etiquette Consultant, trained and licensed by the Emily Post Institute, Vermont USA, shares the inspiration behind her latest release, “Oyigiyigi” which is off her sophomore album “Jubilee Sound.
The April-born Gospel Music Minister married to Pastor Ikenna Okeke also gives insight on her challenges as a female artist, breaking even and lots more.
What inspired Oyigiyigi?
Oyigiyigi was born out of deep meditation on the awesomeness of God. I found out that there are not enough words in the English lexicon to accurately describe the splendour and majesty of the God who is Almighty. Whenever one tries to describe God, you fall short because He is so much more than the human mind can comprehend. So “Oyigiyigi” (which in my understanding means “indescribable” or “uncontainable”) was my attempt at summarising the musings of my heart with respect to God.
Why the choice of gospel music?
As a firm believer and follower of Jesus Christ, gospel music is primarily my way of expressing my love and heartfelt gratitude to God for the amazing gift of salvation. Secondly, it is my tool to spread the good news of salvation in a world that is laden with hatred and evil. Through the power of gospel music, the message of salvation, the love of God towards humanity can reach and transform even the vilest of peoples.
Amongst songs done, what’s your favorite, and why?This is a tough one! All 18 songs are unique. They represent different experiences, journeys, and dealings with God in over 23 years of ministry. Each song has its place in my heart and, depending on the situation, ministers differently to me. So it’s almost impossible to decide on a favourite. I would probably pick 14 out of the 18 songs in my two albums (smiles).
Do you think men overshadow women in terms of demands?
I think there’s equal opportunity for both men and women in the music industry. As long as an artist stays true to himself or herself, and you don’t cross lanes, there’s not much competition because no one can do you better than you. You have your unique sound, and there’s a place for you. Once you locate it, you become unstoppable.
How do you try to break even?
Making music is expensive, and sales of CDs alone cannot pay the bills. This is the reason artists go to concerts and big shows. But for me, making music is a ministry; it is obedience to the call of God, so I’m currently investing and building my brand. I firmly believe the time is coming when the harvest will be ready, and then the showers of blessings will pour down effortlessly. But as of now, we are sowing and staying faithful to the call.
Who are those you look up to in the industry?
Many artists have inspired me over the years. Artists like Ron Kenoly, Don Moen, Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, Cece Winans, Judy Jacobs, and, more recently, Hillsong, Nathaniel Bassey, Sinach, and Frank Edwards. These have all taken gospel music to a whole new level.
Do you see yourself making contemporary music anytime?
I believe most of my songs are contemporary; they’re a mix of genres. The only difference is the message, which is consistently gospel. I, however, composed a solidarity song for Europe Day 2020 titled “Standing Together,” which is not gospel per se but represents a genre of music I would not mind exploring in the future.
What are your projections for your brand in 5 years?
God willing, over the next five years, I plan to do more collaborations with other local and international gospel artists. I also plan to reach a broader audience in Nigeria, Africa, and Internationally. I would also like to mentor and support upcoming gospel artists so that their God-given gifts can find full expression.