Aww, Gospel singer Benita Okojie who started singing at age 12, recently had an interview with Ynaija where she talked about marriage, her music, growing up, bleaching, Nigerian politics, working with Lagbaja and more. See excerpts below:
Growing up� �It was fun, very normal. I played with the children in my neighbourhood, went to school and played with sand like a typical Naija child until I turned 10 and released Osemudiamen in the Child of God 1 album. A lot changed. I was noticed everywhere I went and it took a while to get used to all that attention as a child, I started getting invites to sing at events, I was also travelling a lot and meeting people. I never imagined I would meet but thank God for my parents and siblings. They were and still are a huge support and source of encouragement for me. Oh and I still did my chores at home o!”
Unforgettable childhood experience �The first time I was mobbed after an event. I was out with my dad and people were running after the car and screaming my name. I was terrified! I didn’t know why they surrounded our vehicle and were making faces through the window. I remember crying and asking my dad why they were running after us.”
What inspired her recently released hit track ‘JESU�N’ABBA �Jesu n’Abba is actually a song we take during morning devotion at home dating as far back as the cosy inside of my grandfather’s house far away in Uromi, Edo state. Jesu n’Abba means ‘Jesus my Father, it is dawn, please protect me in your mercies today/tonight’.
The erratic security situation in Nigeria and the world inspired the song. It got to a point where mothers would go to bed without an idea where their sons/daughters were and reports like this made my heart ache terribly.
And when your heart aches and you go on twitter to express how you feel but still see breaking news of one abduction, killing, etc somewhere in the world, you realize that there’s a lot to be grateful to God for and your intercession should go beyond 140 characters or less. Stop tweeting and start talking to The One who has supreme control of the events of the world.
The song is a heartfelt request to God for divine protection as the world grapples with the most insecure it has ever been in eons.”
Challenges Gospel artistes face in the Nigerian music industry �Truth be told, Gospel artistes face a number of challenges but funding and promotion are the major issues. I know several talented gospel artistes who are truly gifted but don’t have the platform and what’s more, corporate organizations that pay well do not invite them for events and Christians who organize events do not even pay well. The broadcast media also do not support with airplay even after working with the best producers and releasing the best videos. It’s almost like, �look there is no time for your message”.
Highpoint of her career �Essentially, the highest point is when souls are won for Jesus Christ through my songs. That gives me great joy! And I trust that there will be higher points in my career, moving forward! You can also add being invited to Aso rock to minister more than once and winning the theme song of the 8th All African Games (COJA) and being the only artiste to ever perform at the opening and closing ceremonies of a FIFA sporting event.
On featuring other artistes in her tracks, �Lagbaja featured me years back on his album and so have a couple of upcoming artistes. However, I am yet to feature any artist on any of my albums. You will hear them when the time is right by the grace of God.”
Gospel artistes she would love to work with �Hmmm… They are quite a number o. Are you sure you have the time? (LOL) Oh well to mention a few Cece winans definitely! Mali music, Marvin Sapp, Kim Burrell, Lauryn Hill, Vashawn Mitchell, Lecrae. The list is endless o”
Joining the Nigerian politics �Hahaha… hmm… I don’t know o! Never say never. (LOL). I can only speak for now. Only God knows tomorrow. For now, No.
Bleaching �You know it’s funny that people think I am bleaching because someone still mentioned it on social media a few days back. The truth is I have always been fair. I’ve never bleached. I don’t know why people think otherwise. Google my childhood pictures and sees for yourself.
To the ladies who bleach: Ladies please be comfortable in your skin. God did not create a mistake in you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Don’t settle for bleaching cream. It will damage your skin eventually. Be confident, bold and rock that beautiful skin God has given to you. Black, white or tan.
Her marriage: This marriage talk. Na wa o! I will get married at the right time by God`s grace and when that time comes Ynaija will get an invite. I believe that one can celebrate one’s wedding however one chooses to celebrate it. It’s a day of joy and for a lot of people the happiest day of their lives. As long as one is happy with the decision and has the money to do it anywhere in the world, it’s fine. However I also believe in moderacy and prudent spending. Spend wisely and there are many beautiful places in Nigeria where one can have a beautiful wedding ceremony. But eventually, it’s your choice.
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