Rachel Ogunyemi, the Chief Executive Officer of Xcellentosband, is a virtuous woman with a lovely voice who entertains her fans with good music across multiple genres. She opens up to DARE OKANLAWON on the trajectory of her music career and how the church prepared her professionally
How long have you been into music and how did you start?
I started music at a very early age of 12. I started composing, singing, and going to different competitions within churches. I also started a group, then at the age of 15, known as Fountain Singers. I was known as Seun Major; I was going to events, churches, weddings, and concerts, among others.
So, would you describe yourself as gospel or secular artiste?
I would say that I am a gospel artiste because, in my music, I preach, I talk about love, motivation, and inspirations. I try to make people see what is good through my music. I sing about thanksgiving and I would say being a chorister helped my decision to go into music professionally because while growing up I was exposed to music in my church, the Cherubim & Seraphim Church. I picked the interest and that made me go further to a music school then known as UDMP, where I learnt how to play the piano for a period of four months after which I proceeded to the Lagos State University to study Music and Theatre Art.
So, being a chorister prepared you for a professional music career?
I would say being a member of the choir in my church has really helped me to go into music professionally.
Tell us how the church is influencing your music?
There is a lot I learnt in my church that is now useful in my music career. I learnt about God, the bible , love, inspiration, and being motivated, among others. I was encouraged, I learnt a lot in my church.
Is it easy to be a secular artiste and still be born again?
Of course, it is possible for you to be a secular artiste and still be a believer and a born again Christian. What matters is your relationship with God, how much you know Christ and love him. You can be a secular artiste and still be born again. God wants your heart not what people think about you. The Bible says in Yoruba that “Olorun a ma wo okan , eniyan a ma wo oju .” That is: God sees the heart while men judge based on appearance. So, it is your relationship, sincerity and uprightness with him that matters. So, you can be a secular artiste and also be a born again believer.
Do you think you are doing enough to spread the gospel of Christ through your music?
Yes, I am trying my best to spread the gospel of Christ through my music. I have songs that talk about Christ and also about being born again.
Who is your role model in the white garment church?
I don’t really have a specific role model artiste in the white garment church. God is my role model and I am also my own role model because I know I am trying my best to be upright with God. Musically, I am my own role model. In the C&S, I am also my own role model.
What challenges did you face when you were performing with your teenage band?
Some of the challenges I faced when I was performing with the young band that I started was that most of the people who were singing and playing with me never really wanted music. It was more like I was forcing them to do what they never wanted to do. I would trek to their houses to pick them for rehearsals. Sometimes, I had to wait for them at the rehearsal venue for hours and none of them would show up. So, those things really got me discouraged and it made me feel bad but because music was a part of me; I didn’t quit.
I never thought of quitting music because even if I was down and I sang, people liked my performance and encouraged me. So, those things kept me going. So, I didn’t allow those challenges to stop me from singing and believing in my music. Those were the major challenges I faced.
Tell us about the experiences you would never forget when you started out in music
There were some shows I played for free, especially church concerts; I played a lot for free. There were even some that I would have to beg before I could be given a chance and at the end of the day, they won’t give me more than five minutes. However, whenever I started performing, they always gave me more time because they liked what they were hearing.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
In the next five years, I see myself as a big, established and well-known artiste all over the world by the special grace of God because I believe I am not stopping at all. I keep doing music and I believe in God that He will take me to places and make me bigger. I am building a brand and I am sure God will take the brand to the next level. Before five years’ time, I know I would be bigger by His grace.
Apart from singing, what other things can you do for God?
Apart from singing, other things I can do for God is by contributing to His work in the church, giving alms, supporting the work of God financially, morally, spiritually, and making people understand the essence of God, testifying to His holy name. Also, I love playing the piano.
Are you still a chorister in church?
Yes, I’m still a chorister in my church. Currently, I am the Assistant Choir Mistress. I was once the Choir Mistress for two years because it’s tenured. We change our Choir Mistress every two years. In 2005, I was the Choir Mistress. I still go to the church as a member of the choir using my talent for God.
Have you released an album?
I have an album titled: Dance Medley. It is actually a dance medley and it runs for 40 minutes non-stop. It can be downloaded for free online. Just type ‘Inspiration Dance Medley by Rachel Ogunyemi’, it will bring it out so you can download it.
Which gospel artiste would you like to collaborate with?
I wouldn’t mind working with any gospel artiste but I will be very choosy when it comes to working with anyone. I don’t mind working with Tim Geoffrey and maybe any advanced and multi-tasking gospel artiste not just in the C&S church due to the style I sing. Of course, I can sing any genre of music but basically, I wouldn’t mind Tim Geoffrey. In the C&S or white garment churches, I would say maybe Shola Allyson.
How do you feel when you praise and worship God on stage?
I feel blessed, great, supernatural and happy whenever I praise God. Whenever I worship Him either on stage or when I am alone, anywhere, I feel contented. I feel so well whenever I am praising and worshipping God.
If you look back at your music career so far, would you say you have any regret?
I do not have any regret as far as my music career is concerned. Rather, I feel blessed and fulfilled. Ever since I started music professionally in the year 2006, I have worked with different bands and a series of artistes as a back-up singer. I now have my own band known as the Exceletos Band. I don’t think I have any regret over any aspect of my music career so far. God has been faithful to me. He has always been on my side.
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