By Victor Gotevbe
Hilary Ogbuagu known by many with the name El Levite, is a young man of many parts. He is a talented songwriter, recording artiste with a unique flair for Gospel Reggae, music director and a dancehall artiste. El Levite had his primary and secondary school education at Central school Ibenda, Obollo Eke and Obollo High school, Obollo-Eke respectively, both in Udenu LGA of Enugu State. He is a graduate of History and International Relations of Lagos State University. He tells Youthful Vibes about his growing interest and love for gospel music, and how it has inspired so many youth to make a difference. Excerpts:
Growing passion for music
I started singing in 1998, the same year, I joined the choir in the Redeemed Christian Church of God. However, I have always loved music, especially, reggae music. In 2009, I formed an eight-man band called Holy Riddim Crew.
My love for reggae music dates back to early influence when I started listening to reggae giants like Bob Marley,Peter Tosh, Beres Hammond, Freddie Mcgregor, Cocoa Tea, Frankie Paul, Luciano and later, Osmond Collins, Papa San, Buchi and Lt. Stitchie.
I also joined a Rastafarian movement where I learned about the language (patois) culture and beliefs, all of these later influenced my interest and love for reggae music. When I devoted my life wholly to the service of humanity through my belief in Jesus Christ in 1998. I dropped Rastafari and decided to continue the message of my faith.
They were other factors that contributed to my journey into music. One of such was my passion to spread the message of love anchored on my faith in God. The moral decadence in the society ignited my passion to vehemently share my message through music.
Hence, the emergence of El Levite. This is set up to provide corrective measures to young people who are prone to picking up easily some vices. Using good and sanctified reggae music to educate them and inspire them into a recovery of spiritual morality.
I have been a regular feature in several programmes and crusades. I have been privileged to share the stage with Pastor E.A Adeboye, Helen Baylor, Jackie Mccurlugh, Ron Kenoly, during the popular Winning ways Africa programme organized by Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo.
I have also participated in programmes with Righteousman, who happens to be my mentor, Buchi, Kore, Midnite Crew, Daniel Demos, Chiika, NCPC Mass Choir, David Nkennor, and many more. I have featured in many album projects with Chiika, Eva Ezi Ogoro, NCPC, Dkachi, Plentyman, Oil of Gladness Choir.
I have been featuring in the monthly Street G concert organized by Jherri Sixthsence at Rockview Hotel, Festac, Lagos. I have performed alongside Eben and other artists at Muson Center, during the popular sickle cell concert. In November 2012, at The Gathering of Stars (Ikeja, Lagos) organized by Righteousman, I performed alongside, Righteousman , Soji Israel, Orits Williki, Keffee, Buchi, Aity, Ruffman of the the popular reggae group, the Street Monks.
Music inspiring change
My music has been a strong voice of liberation and has honoured invitations from several universities, other Tertiary Institutions, prisons and so on. We continue to touch lives, ranging from RCCG, New Courtyard Parish at Ebutte-Metta, where I am presently lead the choir. To the general public, my unique style of music is being appreciated and with its invaluable messages embedded in the lyrics continues to liberate souls especially the youth.
Vision for the Nigeria music industry
I envision a music industry where a thriving platform is created for upcoming gospel music artistes. This will go a long way to counter the polluted and ungodly lyrics that fills the air today and contaminates the youth. I look forward to running a talent-hunt programme, where the talents of the youth will glorify God.
The secular musicians find their way to the ears of people easily than the gospel music artiste. The reason is because there is little encouragement coming from churches. Only a few number of churches consider it needful to support upcoming gospel artistes. Thereby allowing a good number of our talented youths switch easily to singing…( what I consider as ‘immoral’ songs) that is everywhere today after all efforts to succeed in gospel music fail.
I am currently putting finishing touches to a 10-track album titled Falling in Love. It is being produced at St. Harmony Studio by Paul Agwa (Dr. Paul),and it is billed to be released in September 2013.
YOUNG NIGERIANS MAKING THE DIFFERENCE
EFE IYARE, EDO STATE
Young, gifted and proud Nigerian; Efe Richard Iyare is a youth of distinction with a strong compassion for change and success. An indigene of Edo State is the first son from a family of five children. At 17, he was keen on becoming a rapper but shelved the thought and focused on becoming a businessman and social worker. At 21, while in the university, he became the young publisher of a campus magazine , PlayMode. He also got involved in the political affairs of his school by becoming an honourable member of the student union parliament.
Now 25 years old, the graduate of Mass Communication from the University of Benin currently runs his own communications company called Playmode Integrated Communications; a company that offers media and marketing services to companies and individuals. His entertainment magazine has featured A-list artistes such as P-square, Jesse Jagz, 2face and a long list of top shot celebs and media personalities.
Efe has also proven his mettle as a great humanitarian by teaming up with his brother Nosa and partnering with projects such as ‘Slum 2 School’; an NGO that caters for the needs of underprivileged kids by taking them off the streets and enrolling them in schools.
Efe is also a strong advocate for change who believes in the brainpower of the Nigerian youth. His dream and ambition is to become a part of the decision makers who will shape Nigeria’s future for the better. He also sees himself becoming an icon in the media sector with the likes of his mentors Rupert Murdoch, Piers Morgan and Ben Bruce.
“When people have encounters with me, they are often quick to point out the fact that I sound much older than my age. My company right now is presently seeking opportunities to leverage on new media platforms and digital media as a whole”. He says.”with God on my side, I believe that my company shall become a global phenomenon”.