By Isaac Daniel
Although, they are not celebrated as their counterparts in the hip hop world, Nigerian gospel artistes are leaving no stone unturned in their bid to raise the bar. Weekend Groove takes a critical look at some of the gospel artistes that made 2014 very memorable.
Nosa made headlines in the national dailies when he was signed on to a major music label in Nigeria, “Chocolate City. “ The Nigerian Neo-soul Gospel/Inspirational music artist, whose real names are shadrack Nosakhare Omoregie also released his heart warming gospel-cum-inspirational album “Open door” on the label and it was a bang. With hit singles such as “I will always pray for you” and “I Go Stay”among others, made waves beyond the gospel circles. The Edo State –born multi-talented singer songwriter and producer was one of the most decorated gospel acts last year. His trophy haul first came from the UK where he won “African Gospel Artist of Year ‘’ at the ‘Gospel Touch Music Awards.” Also, at MEGA Awards, he was named the “MEGA Man ” as he smiled home with four awards in the “New Artiste of the Year’. “Songs of the Year,” Easy Beat Song of the Year and Contemporary R and B Album of the year. He also had three nominations at the Headies Awards.
The foremost Nigerian Gospel Music superstar and Globacom Ambassador, was as usual on top of his game last year. Outside his musical exploits, he remarkably intensified his humanitarian efforts to further bring hope to the society through his Sammie Okposo Hope Initiative (SOHI). Last year, he sponsored the education of a handicapped student, Abiodun Olumide, studying Business Administration at Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH). Musically, he was very active with his vision of exporting Nigeria Gospel music to the world. Okposo undertook a huge successful world tour that took him to Turkey, America, United Kingdom and South Africa. The UN Ambassador of Peace released two hot singles, “No Wahala” and “Only Halleluyah”. Their hi-tech videos shot in South Africa by Pius Okaba were very outstanding. No wonder, they gave the Wellu-Wellu Master, the “Best Gospel Video Award” at 2014 Nigerian Music Video Awards (NMVA). In South Africa, he was once more crowned “Africa’s King of Gospel Music” at the South African “Crown Gospel Awards”. He won the “Best African Gospel Artiste Award” at the exquisite ceremony.
Preye was the revelation of year 2014. The Bayelsa State –born but Port Harcourt, Rivers State- based budding star made one of the best debut albums last year. His debut album ‘My script” produced a National Anthem, “Ebezina” was among the few gospel tunes that entered the MTN Caller Tunes. The inspiring song enjoyed wide acceptance and was sang everywhere by most choristers, worship leaders and gospel artistes. Preye’s applaudable effort gave him the keenly contested ‘Best New artiste of the year Award” at the Crystal Awards.
Gospel music icon and pioneer of Afro gospel jazz music, Pastor Kunle Ajayi clocked 50 last year. It was a global celebration as the world paid tributes to him. Pastor E.A Adeboye and Pastor ( Mrs) Foluke Adeboye hosted the celebrated saxophonist in a classy ceremony with other gospel glants and artistes around the world . The event filled with glitz and razzmataz was one of the memorable events in the gospel music scene last year.
An undisputed queen of Igbo gospel music, Rosemary Chukwu has come a long way as a gospel artiste. She radically overhauled her management team last year, resulting in the upgrading of her output. The Enugu State-born ‘Nnam Nara Ekele’ crooner released another soul uplifting album, “ Chim Na EmeN’Mma”(My God does good things ) to enrich the gospel music vibes. The hit album, as expected floored her close rival Paul Nwokocha’s “Obata Obie “, wining the MEGA Awards’ “Best Igbo Gospel Album of the year Award.
The gospel music icon and iron lady rocked the scene with the double celebration of her 60th birthday celebration and her musical concert. During the celebration, Gospel music legends including Evangelist Ebenezer Obey, Dr (Mrs.) Bola Are and Pastor Joseph Adelakun a.k.a Ayewa and celebrities such as Opelope Anointing and (GOMAN) Gospel Musicians Association of Nigeria’s President, Pastor Rotimi Orokoya honoured her. Esteemed clerics and some political heavy weights also paid homage to her .The event was held in Lagos and Ibadan. Oluwafunmilayo Veronica Aragbaiye was born on July 5th, 1954, in Ondo town, Ondo State. She also marked her thirty years on stage. “The birthday girl” was on top of her game last year. Her superb performance at the Lagos State Television yuletide show remains indeliable in the minds of the guests and staff of TV station till date.
Despite suffering a major setback, when his studio was razed down by a mysterious fire outbreak, Buchi as usual had a great year. Apart from performing within and outside Nigeria, Buchi was on a soul winning part. He conquered many campuses in Nigeria with his anti-cult and anti-violence crusade project tagged, “Ceasefire” to a new level. At the end of the project, he won many souls for Christ. The Gospel reggae pioneer struck his long awaited international breakthrough and recognition. He had collaboration with ex-Jamaican born dancehall, Queen Chevella Frankin. Their union made in Jamaica gave birth to an international reggae hit single entitled “Healer”. The Abia State-born melody maker also attained the golden age of fifty and he splendidly celebrated it.