United Kingdom-based gospel singer, Aramide Fadilepo, believes that gospel artistes should not downplay the role of mentors in their spiritual and career growth. She talks about her music and calling among other sundry issues
What are the challenges of being a gospel artiste?
Like all other professions, being a gospel minister presents its own burdens and challenges. The ability to organise self in between family life and career is a challenge but God has blessed me with a wonderful family who supports me especially as a mother to three young boys. Another challenge is being able to coordinate instrumentalists, producers, among others, towards excellent ministrations.
Is being a gospel artiste as rewarding as you envisaged?
The fact that you are able to bring joy to the hearts of people or bring them closer to God with the hope of a better tomorrow is rewarding enough. Being a gospel minister is not the same as being a secular artiste. As gospel ministers, we display Jesus and not man. The value of our reward is spiritual but when this also translates into a financial blessing, then it is a reward. Nevertheless, irrespective of this, the work of God has to continue.
Many singers have said that they started singing as a child, how did yours start?
This is true. I also started singing at a much younger age. Though I did not start at this stage in church, I began to pick interest in singing in primary school and the passion grew more in secondary school. I became a born again Christian at BLW, now Christ Embassy, in my University days and developed not only the passion for singing but also generally as a devout worker in the house of God. This virtues, I believe, have helped immensely till now.
How do you get inspirations for your songs?
Firstly, songs are spirit, especially gospel songs. Most of my inspirations come from the bible, through reading. Some come through dreams and some through instant voices of God in melody and revelations. This is very important because everything I minister about has to be constant with the words of God for the edification of the body of Christ.
A lot of singers always ride on the wings of their spiritual mentors, who is yours and why did you choose him or her?
We thank God who has not made us sheep without an anointed shepherd. We cannot choose spiritual shepherd or mentor for ourselves, but God is the one that chooses. I’m grateful to God who has directed and appointed Rev. Mother Esther Abimbola Ajayi as my shepherd and role model/mentor. Rev. Mother Ajayi has been a source of inspiration to my music ministry, mentoring me in all aspects. I’m thankful for all the words of wisdom that she impacted in me that is carrying me through this journey which is evident so far in my gospel music.
How important do you think mentoring is to up and coming gospel singers?
Mentoring is very important to all gospel ministers both upcoming and the ‘’rooted ones.’’ Mentorship is very important in the aspect of imbibing the standard of God in our lives. A mentor can be a source of encouragement in all areas of life, it does not have to be in the music ministry alone.
Mentorship is important in the area of being able to know what to do at any given time in music calling, it’s needed in order to manage people and resources. Your mentor will understand your goal and pray with you, your mentor could see what you cannot see in a few years which could change your destiny. In summary, mentors are very important.
What has been your most memorable experience so far?
Every time is memorable in God’s presence. In terms of ministrations, I would say most enduring memory is ministrations at Celebrate the Comforter 2019 in front of more than 100,000 people of God. I cannot forget that so easily. I want to appreciate God for that and thank Rev. Mother Ajayi for the great opportunity.
Where do you hope to see yourself in the next five years?
Our God is the owner of time; He declares the end from the beginning. In five years’ time, I’m trusting God that I would have released many songs, done many ministrations, lunched many albums and through my ministrations touched many lives spiritually. I have a mentorship academy for upcoming artistes.
How would you rate gospel music in Nigeria?
I’m so proud to be a part of gospel artistes. Gospel music is fast spreading in Nigeria and we are thankful. This is good for the kingdom of God and we can only pray for more of his fire to achieve good success in all areas of his kingdom.
What are your thoughts about female gospel singers dressing flamboyantly, heavily adorned with pieces of jewellery and adopting ‘’worldly or secular’’ dance steps during ministrations?
My watchword is not to mix secular songs with that of the gospel. The world should copy us for good works and not vice versa. I do not subscribe to singing and dancing in a worldly standard in the body of Christ. This is wrong, I am not trying to judge but I’m just following my biblical instinct and not being unequally yoked with the world. In terms of looking good, the guide is there in the bible to follow that our appearance should be moderate. Bible is not saying we should not make ourselves beautiful, but we should not dwell upon it so much so that our message would not be lost to people watching us. No matter how beautiful our dresses are, we have to sew them appropriately, the Bible says we have to show ourselves approved.
What do you want people to understand in your songs?
I want people to understand that in all things they may go through in life, they should never cease to praise God with the hope of His promise. They should always know that He is God of all flesh and no one can take His glory. Our Lord Jesus had paid the price on the cross and that should be our joy.
Who or what motivates you and how easy has it been to promote your songs?
God is the one that promotes, we can only do the needful by putting it in front of the people that need to hear and be blessed by the songs. Through this, I am motivated to promote my songs because they are meant to be a blessing to the people of God. They are not meant to be hidden away. I am also motivated with words of encouragement from people of God and how many of our songs have been blessings in their lives. Even we get good reports and feedbacks from all over Africa and the rest of the world. This is a big motivation for me to invest in promotions and also want to use this opportunity to say many thanks to my music lovers for their likes, comments and shares on all our social media platforms. Also, social media makes it a bit easier to promote songs but we still have lots of ways to promote our songs offline which can be challenging at times.
What are your thoughts about the rising cases of sexual violence against women and girls?
It saddens my heart, to be honest, and I am 100 per cent against it. It is a big sin in the presence of God. People who do such should stop in the name of God. We live in perilous times, may God destroy the works of the devil in our society and bring those perishing souls back to himself. May he also comfort and heal the hurting souls. We need more of Jesus in our society. Violence against women is not consistent with the word of God and even in marriages. The book of 1. Peter 3:7 makes us know that women are weaker vessels to be nurtured and loved and not to be abused. I pray God takes supreme pre-eminence in our homes, lives and in nations.
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