Onyinye Nnodim is a sensational worship leader with 15 years of active service as a worshipper and worship leader, both in the local Church and beyond denominational walls. Over these years, she has ministered on various stages both as a solo minister and in the company of other anointed psalmists and minstrels, with a lot of testimonies accompanying.
Her songs are laced with deep desire and love for God and His presence. She’s a passionate song writer, a skilled composer, and an amazing recording artist. In this interview, the happily married singer who is blessed with three lovely kids talks about the challenges she has had to grapple with, her new music and more.
With a 15-years pedigree in music, how would you describe the journey so far?
It’s been a good one so far, with road paved with great learning curves, highs, lows, excitement, enthusiasm, zeal, and loss of zeal at some points, thinking I did well but got a negative feedback, thinking I didn’t do well but got positive feedback, redirecting to focus on whose feedback matters the most which is Jesus’. He is the focus, if you lift Him, then He will draw men to Himself [John 12:32].
One time after I led worship, at the end of the service someone walked up to me and said I shouldn’t close my eyes for so long during worship because people will disconnect. I dared to try it afterwards but realised it doesn’t work for me, because I struggled throughout the session.
Another time it was that I should stop shedding tears while leading worship because it makes some people feel uncomfortable, of course I couldn’t because I know if my tears ever dry up in worship then I have started drifting away. In all of this I am most grateful to the sweet Holy Spirit for always being with me, and putting me under the right Pastors, teachers and mentors to help me and still help me even till now. I will never outgrow leadership and mentorship no matter how old and famous I get in this.
What are the challenges you have had to grapple with & how did you surmount them? Challenges to me are like the bedrock that helps form a solid foundation. Without them you can’t build or grow. Show me a man that has never failed and I’ll show you a man that is empty and has nothing.
For a long time I struggled with losing my voice after each worship service, then I struggled with having to lead with any available instrumentalist and instrument, sometimes you lead with just guitar, or an armature keyboardist or a noisy drummer, or bad sound system, yet none of these should stop you from connecting in worship or leading.
I also struggled with accepting my voice; every other person believed I had a good voice but me. Many times you would think you are to worship for just 15 mins and realise somewhere around 30 mins that your session will stretch to an hour or more. They may not feel good or right at the time but in retrospect, I am very grateful to God for them and there is nothing I will change if I were to go back in time, except to maybe do better than I did in those times.
At what point did you decide to begin making your own music?
I’m not sure I ever got to that point by myself because I had a lot of self doubt and insecurities. Trust God to order your steps and bring you to where He wants you to be. I recall I have been writing songs way before I accepted Jesus as my Lord and saviour. After I Came to Christ I couldn’t write anymore until I got married and a few years into marriage that channel opened up again.
My husband only realised I could write songs in marriage, He never saw that side of me before marriage. So as the songs would come and he would help me play on the Piano he started pushing me to go record them, but I was still very reluctant. Few times I tried networking with people to see how I could start but some things were still not in place. At the appointed time God redirected my steps and gave me the right team to work with in 2020 and it keeps getting better and better.
How would you describe the acceptance of your music since your debut?
It’s been amazing. People that haven’t even heard the full song, just a 30 seconds snippet are already super excited and anticipating the release, commenting on the features and sounds they heard as if they’ve heard the entire song. Some are even saying it would be their favourite of my other 3 songs released. I’m grateful to God. He is the giver of sound and songs and only Him gets the glory.
Why gospel music?
Why not gospel? Smiles… please don’t get me wrong; there are other beautiful genres out there that bless the heart. Even the bible has Songs of Solomon and there are other songs that encourage people, songs for the nation etc But God didn’t call me to them. If at any point he blesses me with any of those, I will do them, for now my assignment is clear… “Restore the true order of worship according to the Tabernacle of David”. Others are called to speak it, but I am called to sing it. You can either disciple people with words or with songs. The great commission is a call to make disciples of all nations and all hands have to be on deck at this point. The age is rounding off. Better now than ever.
What’s your take on the Nigerian Gospel music scene?
Wow, who am I to give a review on the Nigerian gospel music space. The only person who can give a true review is Jesus. If Jesus were to send a message like He did to the churches in Revelation, what would He say to us? I’m not sure it’s in my place to say anything other than to thank those who have gone ahead of us, broke frontiers, conquered and surmounted challenges and paved the way for people like me to do anything. God bless them all.
What inspired your latest song, ‘Your Beauty’?
‘Your Beauty’ just like many of my songs dropped as I was praying and worshiping God in my closet. I remember singing it and the moment I noticed a new song had dropped, I picked my phone and recorded it. As mentioned above, the first time I gave it to a producer to work on, he didn’t understand the sound or the song so he declined. When I was sampling some songs too, it had a kind of off and not common tone so they kept pushing it to the side. The first time I even gave it to my current producer ‘Blacknotes’ he didn’t understand it either so I knew it wasn’t time yet. By the time I brought it a second time, he picked the sound almost immediately. I think it’s his favourite so far because of the unique sound.
What do you aim to achieve by dropping this new song at the beginning of a new year?
All things work together for our good. This song by the help of the Holy Spirit will help everyone that’s pressing on to seek the face of God and direction this year to journey in the right direction. Even beyond January it will help and always remind you who the true focus is… ‘JESUS’, not money, not cars, houses, career E.T.C. When you truly seek Him every other thing will be added. Exodus 33:18-23 Moses was not in pursuit of any other thing but His Glory, yet He caused His goodness to come to him. Do not seek God for what you will get. Seek Him in spirit and in truth. When you find Him you have found true treasure.
After ‘Your Beauty’, what’s next for Onyinye?
Many more projects to come. If Jesus tarries, by His grace I will work the works of Him who sent me while it’s day.
Any advice for upcoming gospel solo artists?
Keep your eyes on Jesus. If He is your Lord, then allow Him to order your steps and lead you. Lord means (my owner) everything He does is perfect. If you allow Him to lead you, if you allow Him to run the show, you will see His beauty in your life and in the work He sent you to do. God bless you.