Ewoma Veronica Dafe, popularly known as E-Wonda is a multi-talented woman. She is a song writer, recording artiste, actor, AOP etc. In this interview with ANTHONY ADA ABRAHAM, the artiste who is set to release a new album entitled ‘Gidigba’ urges the NBC and the electronic media to revisit their programming to accommodate gospel music on week days, saying gospel music should not be a Sunday Sunday affair.
What propelled you into gospel music after a career in the movie industry?
Music they say is food for the soul. Music keeps me going. There are times you are in the worst of moods, when you hear a track play, you would even forget that anything happened. Music is that powerful. I just found out that music is something that I have loved. First of all, before taking music professionally, I sing in the church. In fact, I wrote my first song at the age of 13. I never thought I would go professional because I have always loved to be a broadcaster; I actually have a background in broadcasting. I worked with a radio station, had a TV programme called Family Angel. I also present on RTN, Christian Channel, and Mission Field. I’m also an actor; I have done a couple of soap operas and movies.But music just popped-up in 2009. Actually I was praying and just didn’t have my peace until I said yes to it. Since I opened up to music the songs keep coming every now and then. There are days I get 3 to 4 songs because I write my songs. And I just thank God for that inspiration. I’m inspired by God, environment, by the songs I sing. I don’t struggle for songs to the glory of God and with all humility, I have written well over 300 songs. I’m a kind of person that until I see it through, I don’t give up
How many albums do you have?
I’m working on my third album to be precise. I did the first one ‘Ogene Do’, then ‘Double Portion’ and this new one ‘Gidigba.’ There are many other things like people say why do I stop acting, it is not that I stopped acting but I wanted to channel some of my energy to see that music is also a success for me because I don’t want to do anything that would fail.
You are from the southern part of the country and based in the north, Kaduna to be precise. Do you see where you reside today as a challenge to your musical career?
Well, even as a Nollywood actress, I live in the north and it doesn’t stopped me from being an actress or hinder the jobs I was given to do. Though, it is a kind of a setback to some of those living in the north that is why you see some of the upcoming artistes fleeing to Lagos because they believe that’s where the market is. Lagos has made name because it’s a big business when it comes to entertainment. That’s why you see lots of people go there. It could be a level of setback but I think when you do your homework and try to push, go out from your comfort zone, like try to reach out to your neighbour, it will be of great help. It’s more work for us who don’t reside in Lagos, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Though Lagos has gone far when it has to do with music, but we can still catch up with them. It is when you see it as a challenge that it becomes a challenge. So I don’t see it as a challenge, rather I hope to work harder so I can be there.
Why is gospel music not as attractive as contemporary one. Though you have quite a number of fans, what do you think can be done to get more people to embrace this genre of music?
To me, music is music not just because I want to sing but because I see it more as a ministry. If you are not called, that means you are not called to do it. You must have vision and know why you are called to do it. I don’t know how I want to call people to do it, rather if they have the calling and they are satisfied they could go into it. And it also depends on what you like, people hear me sing and say why don’t you tilt and sing this way? But I told them I have a goal, a calling for gospel music. It’s a message, I see myself as a preacher through my songs. When people preach, those who want to listen do, while some others don’t.
It depends on what you want to listen or dance to. There are many danceable gospel songs that we listen to today that would uplift you. What is the essence when people go for the rhythm and don’t even care about the message. Music for me is far much more than that. It’s not just about the rhythm but the lyrics, message and everything, it is all encompassing. It depends on what they want to listen to. If they feel that gospel is good enough for them that is a matter of choice.
You mentioned earlier that you have written more than 300 songs. How many albums do you have altogether?
Like I stated earlier, I have released 2 albums and now working on the third one. The first one I released was 8 tracks and entitled ‘Ogene Do.’ Then the second one was ‘Double Portion’ and it was 14 tracks and the current album ‘Gidigba’ would be about 10 tracks. When I released the Double Portion album people shouted 14 tracks— that would be like 2 albums. I said well the songs keep coming and I can’t just keep them so I had to release more. That is why this step I’m taking is for the messages to be heard. There are lots of messages and inspiration in these songs.
My desire is for it to circulate and people to hear. I want to do songs that will circulate and at the same time people would get the message. Another challenge is the airplay and the fact that they try to limit gospel songs to Sundays. People make all sorts of noise and it’s receiving massive airplay but when you do inspirational songs like gospel songs, they are only aired at weekends or Sundays as the case may be. There are just few stations that would air gospel songs during the week. For me, the content matters a lot and not just making noise all about. So I think it’s high time, NBC and all media houses look into this because it’s becoming a norm that gospel or some inspirational songs are only aired on Sundays.
Is the gospel music industry winning the war against misdemeanours in the society today?
Yes! Because of these challenges before you see a lot of people trying to do sanctimonious thing, but it’s no longer that way. The generation we are in today, people want something that would make us dance. We are moving, God is really helping the industry.
Did you collaborate with any artiste in your upcoming album or is it a solo effort?
Well I featured one guy, he’s called Convey and very talented. As a matter of fact, we worked on Gidigba together, he first produced it. We needed to do a correction but lost the data. So we had to do it again with another producer because Convey is a student and was not on hand, so I had to work with Shedrach (Justin) who produced the current song. I featured Convey in the album. He did Healing Rain, a worship song and Take A Little Time, which is reggae kind of. He’s not a very big name but I like to work with talented people. Many people ride on names but I prefer the raw talent at my disposal
What would be your advice to someone who wants to gwo into music with the feeling that it will pay his/her bills?
Music pays bills; one thing in life is that nothing good comes easy. Even in your profession, when you started, your bills were not paid immediately. I’m sure you had to work for some people and all that. When I started as an actress, I did jobs that were not paid for; I just had to do them. The challenge with music is that you have to do the spending. You pay a lot of money to record and promote your songs. Unless God helps you get a record label or a recommendation, you have to struggle for a while. It’s passion that keeps you going.
Source : ANTHONY ADA ABRAHAM Leadership newspaper