Nigerian-born UK based Gospel Artist, Columbus Ikeh Chikwem believes Nigeria would be a better place if Gospel Artists whose works are supposed to communicate good morals and God’s messages of peaceful co-existence and love for one another lives up to their callings.
The Imo state born Gospel Artist identified greed as a major factor militating against the growth of the industry after the successes of the pioneers adding that a situation where an artist drops a gospel album and in no time switches to secular music shows that there was no message and call to that effect but a simple urge to sing according to the market and make money.
Despite what he described as a deviation from the ideals where major gospel acts around the world have transformed into notable preachers of the gospel and fishers of men for God, Ikeh was however optimistic on the prospect and abundance of talents in Nigeria.
“Gospel music in my understanding is the message of our Lord Jesus Christ; call it good news, which is musically expressed through praise, worship, hymns, spiritual songs etc. I don’t want to be limited; it is like gospel must follow a pattern or style for which it is known. I think the most important factor is the message. The moment you have good message, then allow the song to find the best way or style it expresses itself. If you listen to my current work you will discover it is mixed genre reggae, hip up, afro beat and high life.
“Gospel in Nigeria has come a long way. The genre has maintained its path and track record, despite challenges.
Nigerians are predominantly God fearing people and so gospel music is readily appreciated. Gospel music is a very powerful tool for the much desired change in Nigeria. We know the country is bedeviled with corruption but with the right attitude gospel musicians can rise up and speak against it and perhaps point the society to the right direction,” he reckoned.
He enthused that the genre has been substantially compromised by practitioners “Because of the crowded nature of gospel music now I honestly think a lot has been thrown overboard, and because of economic hardship, in a bid to break even, most artists try to sing what listeners want to hear and somehow avoiding the gospel message. But comparing Nigerian gospel of the early years, I would pick the pioneers because by mere listening to them someone would get converted or change their lifestyle”, he stated.
Ikeh further gives insight into his musical music career, “My current music tracks were borne out my life experiences and the relevance of my spiritual encounters, in other words my brush with Christianity. Being born again was not anything I ever envisaged or intended to do, but was inevitable for my spiritual trajectory. My born again experience put me on the path of destiny.
The current tracks are basically testimonies of Gods saving grace upon my life and serves as a source of encouragement to listeners not to hesitate in coming to the saving knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. My target is for all hurting souls.
“I cry to God to enable me write, sing songs that would bring healing, deliverance, hope and encouragement to my listeners or everyone hurting. All over the world about 90% of people you meet on the road have emotional issues, very battered on the inside. Most need healing balm that comes through the grace that Jesus Christ brings. The entire album soon to be released, is a ten-track audio/video CD produced and mastered in the UK. Hopefully it is intended to bring some succor to my fans, He disclosed.
He informed that his album will be ready for release for online and audio/video CD in the month of November 2015 and disclosed plans to do a full video shoot for the whole album early next year.