The name, David Karnji would hardly ring a bell. But Infinity will definitely remind you of the five man gospel music group whose hit album “Olori Oko” ruled the airwaves in 2006. They were the toast of many gospel music lovers in Nigeria and beyond. Churches also invited them for performances. But suddenly, the group disappeared into thin air, without traces. WG caught up with one of the artiste David Karnji recently who explains why the group went underground as well as his decision to pursue a solo career. He also enumerated some of the challenges facing gospel artistes in Nigeria.
By Iyabo Aina
WHAT have you been up to lately?
I’ve been working silently on my debut album since returning to the country from my European tour in 2011. It’s long but my dream is surely coming true. I have also been involved in several ministration especially in churches.
Why did you stay off-the-stage for so long?
I actually did release a single when I came back to the country titled “I no fit Shout.” It was produced by Wole Adesanya of Greenland music. Since then I’ve been up and about trying to put finishing touches to the album.
The truth is that I have already recorded an album but I had to hold on to it because I knew I could do better than that. Sometimes, the urge to drop an album after leaving a great group like Infinity does come with a lot of pressure. So I had to take my time after all I am not competing with anybody.
What really happened to your group, Infinity?
Absolutely nothing. Infinity is still in existence. I need to let you understand that the idea behind Infinity goes beyond the individuals that make up the group. I am not the first nor the second person to leave the group and it’s still thriving. There was no break up whatsoever. Something laid it in my spirit that it’s time for me to move to the next level in my career. I discussed it with my partners, we all prayed about it, and later, I was “sent forth”. The group is an inspiration from God. It’s bigger than any individual member. So in my own opinion, I think it’s one for all, all for Christ.
How did the success recorded with the song ‘Olori oko’ impacted on your career?
Personally, the success of the “Olori oko “ took me by surprise. I didn’t have enough time to prepare for it, so I made lots of mistakes. But God is always merciful. By all means, it’s our own way of telling the world that Jesus is coming soon, and it’s a reminder in respect of the shorter days that we live in.
What’s your relationship with other members of the group?
It’s cordial. We are like brothers.
How easy is it sticking to gospel music while what is in vogue today is secular music?
To the best of my understanding, the gospel music industry has the potential to get bigger than what it is today if it were to be well funded as the secular music industry. Gospel music industry is characterized with a lot of mediocrity because of the mindset of the people or as a result of underfunding. So sticking to the gospel music industry for me is a matter of conviction as a man cannot possibly give what he does not possess. I believe if well-funded, gospel music industry can hold its own . The market is there already, which is the church.
How were you able to pull your different talents together as a group?
We are unique individuals with different talents, texture and attitudes informed by our diverse dispositions. Personally, I double as a lead vocalist, song writer and music director in the group.
Sam was also a lead vocalist, writer and Financial Secretary of the group.
How do you get your songs together, who writes and who sings?
Joe was public relation guy and a vocalist also. If you check what I said earlier you’d notice we all write so it’s a collective effort by all
How do you have a sharing formula of profits from CD sales and shows?
I have left the group for over three years now. So I must have forgotten how we handle the money we made from sales and attending shows.
What has been your pains and gains in the industry?
Life generally comes with its ups and downs. I enjoyed some and don’t like some. Every artiste desire some degree of attention, like you want to be recognized when you’re in public domain. It makes you feel good a bit and it’s actually good for one’s sanity sometimes. There was a time I got a free first class ticket to London which was purchased by a fan who saw me at the airport and several benefits like that.
On the other hand, there are times when you can’t even buy puff puff on the road again. That’s really annoying.
Is Mr David married or still single?
I’ve been married for 8 years now, to the same woman. I am a father of two boys.
As a married and good-looking artiste, how do you cope with your female admirers?
First of all, I feel lucky to be admired by anyone. That means God has made it so, however, after a few goofs, I have learnt to tell myself the truth that every relationship and encounter with anyone either male or female has it’s own purpose and is not to be abused in any way. But I’ve never been harassed by any female fan before now.
Any memorable experience?
It was when I sang to a crowd numbering over twelve thousand in a hall and 50 million internet viewers during the 2006 cross over service at the KICC, London. It was as if I swallowed some kind of light, I felt so special because the protocol was top notch. That was a sacred memory.
Your most embarrassing moment?
I remember I was to give offering in a Church service in Port-Harcourt. I was a guest artiste and was cash strapped, I had only two N5 with me. I squeezed the money in my palm. While dancing towards the altar to drop my offering, I didn’t know how the offering bucket shifted and the old N5 hand fell off my hand and dropped on the floor. I felt like entering the ground.
When should we be expecting your album?
I hope to drop my album during summer. Meanwhile, we’d release a lot of life ministrations before dropping my album. So watch out for David Karnji life ministry on television.
Any ongoing project aside the album release?
I am planning to do collabortaion with some international and local acts. But I don’t want to talk about the project now. Also, I intend to do a lot of travelling this year, especially to the US and Canada.
As a solo artiste, are you under any record label?
I am on my own for now. But I have a management team that I am working with, David Karnji Ministries Worldwide.