For ten years now, Gospotainment has been in the business of chronicling the stories and growth of gospel music in Nigeria and as is our tradition since 2014 we publish a list of people who had impacted and influenced the growth and development of gospel music and gospel artist in an honour article we call PEOPLE CHANGING THE FACE OF GOSPEL MUSIC IN NIGERIA. In 2017 and 2018 we didn’t make this list because our Organization was in a crucial state however we have tried to make up for those years in this list, including people who made an impressive impact in the last two years. Below is our honour list
Pastor Chris Oyakhilome
The best way to ascertain the success of a man is to look at his legacy. As far as gospel music is concerned in Nigeria, Pastor Christian Oyakhilome has one of the biggest legacies with 70% of the successful gospel artists in Nigeria from Christ Embassy. He constantly invests time, infrastructure and resources in them often contributing to their songwriting to making best in the continent. These artists such as Sinach, Eben, Joe Praize, Frank Edwards, Samsong, Ada, Buchi have literarily defined modern Christian worship music in Nigeria with the plethora of hits they release every year. Speaking with the artists, they all attribute their success to the support of their man of God Pastor Chris. He has done this consistently for over 20 years by providing opportunity, platforms, systems and structure to nurture and grow talents with the range of love world media platforms, distribution platforms, awards, and events.
Pastor Paul Adefarasin
For 14 years and counting, Pastor Paul Adefarasin, the senior pastor of All House on the Rock Churches has consistently provided the biggest gospel music concert in Africa named “The Experience”. This event is now the epitome of gospel music events and performance and the dream platform of most music ministers around the world. With consistency in excellence and delivery, he and his team have executed that event yearly with each trumping the other in quality, astute execution and finesse. This has not only become a cultural phenomenon but has put African gospel music on the global map. Pastor Paul has also provided an enabling environment for artists of the House On The Rock such as Sammie Okposo, Onos Ariyo, Tim Godfrey, Eno Michael, Segun Obe, Glowreeyah Braimah and many more.
Monsignor Paschal Nwaezeapu
The Catholic Church is mostly known for classical church hymns and most of the music written by Catholics was written for use during Mass and other church ceremonies. With the advent of contemporary gospel music within the Pentecostal denominations and the subsequent general acceptance of such music within all denominations, it became clear that the Catholic Church has to change its approach to scared music. Songs from non-Catholics denominations became the most popular Christian songs around thus these songs found their way into catholic ceremonies and even the Mass. 8 years ago, Monsignor Nwaezeapu took it to the next level by founding what has now come to be the first and the largest catholic gospel music concert in Africa termed Unusual Praise. This gospel event has featured Nathaniel Bassey, Sinach, Frank Edwards, Cece Winans, Don Moen and many more
Between last year and this year, gospel music singer, Sinach broke every available record ever held by an African gospel artist. From touring in all the continents of the world to having her song “Way Maker” remixed by big worship music bands and artists like Bethel Music, Leeland, Upper room, Elevation worship, Michael W Smith and more. She became the first gospel artist to hit over 1 million YouTube subscribers and also minister at the prestigious Joel Osteen’s Lake Wood Church in Texas. To top it all up, God blessed her with a baby girl after 5 years of marriage. Waoooh! What a year. Sinach truly made Africa proud and she is setting the pace for other gospel artists, showing them that is possible to go global. She is truly changing the face of gospel music in Nigeria.
If there is one man who is raising different platforms for gospel artist and gospel music to be showcased outside the church, it’s Timothy Ogboruche. He came into the scene with his yearly gospel concert titled Alabanza. He has since moved on to found a talent hunt event tagged The Spotlight which has helped several at least to showcase their talent and has also rewarded artists with cash prizes and recording deals. His market gospel music outreach event in several markets across Lagos is such a revolutionary approach to spreading the gospel via gospel music. The market gospel music events tagged Praise Flame has featured in Ikeja Computer Village, Alaba International Market, Trade fair market and many more.
The youngest man probably in this category, Tolulope Toluwase decided to leave the noise out and get to work. For the past 6 years, Tolucci has gathered students from all over the southwestern part of Nigeria to a gospel musical event tagged MASS (Music According To The Streets and Scriptures). The event hosted yearly in different states in the south-west has held in Ogun State, Oyo State, Ondo State, Ekiti state and other locations. The event mostly targets students in tertiary institutions, making it the largest gathering of Christian youths and students in the south-west. For Tolucci, he is just stirring up a spiritual revival amongst student communities, but the event has gone ahead to attract international acclaims and honour.
He is the Pastor of Joshua Ville, an outreach youth expression of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, City of David. He is also the convener of the NIGHT OF WORSHIP; a gospel music concert that has been running for some years and has featured the likes of Hillsong London, William McDowell, Travis Greene, Nathaniel Bassey, Sonnie Badu, Pita, BeeJay sax and others. He is among those at the forefront of pioneering the expansion of gospel music in Nigeria by helping to build and maintain showcase platforms. For this reason and many more, you are one of Gospotainment People Changing Gospel music in Nigeria.
If we are talking about who is showing others that it can be done, then one name comes to mind, Tim Godfrey. He is an artist but has gone ahead to exemplify over the years, that a gospel singer can be much more than just a church choir member or Christian artist. Timothy Godfrey is at the vanguard of breaking the stereotype and pushing the boundaries of what a gospel artist and gospel music can do. From hosting the mind-blowing theatrical FEARLESS concert which has featured some of the best international gospel music act, to hosting the best sold out gospel music show after Beejay Sax at the prestigious Eko Hotel Convention Center, Tim has continued to show his colleagues that they can dream bigger. In the past two years, he has been hosting a music talent hunt project christened Sound Check in which over 2 million Naira was given away to winners. Seeing the need for a regular gathering of gospel music lovers outside the church, Tim started ‘Monday Night live’; a hangout for lovers of good music.
From the moment he started Hallelujah challenge, Nathaniel Bassey’s life took a different turn heading to global prominence. Before then he was just another gospel artist who has released several spirit-filled gospel songs and has a moderate popular artist following on social media. We are including Pastor Nath in this list of People changing gospel music in Nigeria for the simple act of listening to God and following his instruction. Hallelujah Challenge was in 2017, but it not only shot Nathaniel Bassey in international prominence attracting the attention of international media such as CNN, but it also showcased what he does and the other people that ply that trade in Nigeria. Nigerian gospel music got a huge boost because of Hallelujah Challenge and its just a matter of time before the Grammys start calling.