Contrary to popular belief, gospel music is now covering much grounds in modern day music, all over the globe. With gospel artistes like Tasha Cobbs Leonard making smashing hits in collaboration with famous artiste like Nicki Minaj, in no time at all, gospel music would spread as far as ever and would be listened to from all corners of the world and by fans of various pop stars.
In the light of this, we hosted gospel singer Michael Fakoya, from Gospel Harvest Church, a few days back, to give us an insight on how gospel music is striving especially in this present century, and the future of gospel music in the coming years. Here is how it went;
You are welcome to StarsConnect Network, which is a Subsidiary of Jetheights Services. Please let’s get to know you better
Okay, I’m Michael Fakoya. I’m a gospel artiste, and my major assignment is to bring people together in an atmosphere of worship where we can lift up our hands and sing songs, not special numbers. I also have a concept coming up, it’s titled ‘Your Favourite Songs’ and the idea behind is that we all know God’s favourite songs are not songs of prayer, songs of ‘fire fire’, but His favourite songs are songs of worship. So that’s the idea behind it. So basically, I’m a worshipper.
When did you start singing exactly?
The first time I knew I could sing, I was in Jss1. I entered a boarding school, and I had cousins in the school already who were in the school choir. So, my cousins who were in the choir, told the music director, ‘He’s our cousin, let him join the choir.’ So, the man said, ‘You have cousins that can sing, you too, come and join in.’ And I said, ‘I can’t sing.’ I later joined and then I was like, ‘Ahh so I can sing.’ And so that was how the journey started and then I started building on it.
When you started out singing, did your parents support you, considering you were spreading the gospel?
There was a little backlash from my dad, most especially. Because when we left Christ Life, he became a pastor in the Baptist Church, and he was the resident pastor. So, you should know the battle I had to face, attending another person’s church. So, it was a tug of war. My dad would say, ‘what’s the message you’re hearing over there that isn’t taught over here?’ Then speaking of music, churches like that are principalities on their own.
So, if you want to make a change there, you’ll have to put a rope around their neck and you know, you have to look for greener pastures.
So, tell us, how do you feel about gospel music? What is it that actually drives you? Why gospel music right now and not any other kind of music? And then do you feel gospel music is really reaching people? If not, why?
Okay, for me, gospel music is life. It’s the backbone of the church, first of all. We know the church gathering is one of the largest gatherings in the world. So, one of the driving force for the church is music, and so I think it’s one of the reasons why people come to church. In fact about 70-80% of people come to some churches because of music. Just like my church. And then music is something everyone can relate with. That’s what think about gospel music. It’s a driving force and we need to push it to bring people into church. Then there are people who can’t come to church because of the type of music we do in church.
Like I say, there’s nothing like a gospel style of music. The only thing gospel about music is the lyrics. So I can choose to pick a hip up style and infuse it with gospel lyrics and it becomes as gospel song. So how I can reach out to those people is to look for the type of music they like and infuse gospel lyrics into it. There was a time Samuel Okposo said he was surprised they were playing his song in a club. Because of the beat. But I’m sure there’ll be someone who would take cognizance of the lyrics and recognize it to be a gospel song, and that person has been reached.
About music reaching people, to some extent it is, and to some extent it isn’t. For example Nigerian music is breaking bounds. We are starting to do music with people all over the world and we are breaking barriers, getting to people who do not normally listen to gospel music, merging audiences and gaining grounds. And I said it isn’t reaching people because of this stereotypical mentality towards gospel songs. Then again, the way we push our events as gospel artiste matters. The fliers, banners, graphics, etc. These things can either attract people or piss them off. And it’s a draw back.
But don’t you think to an extent it’s got more to do with the mentality about religion. I feel it’s been this way for a long time. There are people with diverse beliefs and religions. And then, it might be that people want something more entertaining when they put on that music player.
Yeah, remember I said something about finding a level plain where everyone can relate to. Say I have an album of ten tracks. I can decide to choose three songs that aren’t worldly, but that would posses that level plain for people outside the Christendom and throw the remaining eight tracks all to Christians, as against having all the tracks focused on my ‘Jesus, Jesus’ [singing]. Like Asa. There’s nothing Godly about her music but whatever she sings is not provocative. So a Christian, a muslim, an atheist would listen and relate to Asa’s music.
Amazing, amazing. Just like Beyonce, do you intend to explore other kinds of music aside gospel music?
Yes, definitely. As a singer you should be able to sing songs to other people. You have your reach, and not everyone would want to listen to, ‘Jesus you are worthy’. So you can always find a common ground. Not that you would go all err…over board, you understand. There’s always a level plane for everybody, where everyone can relate.
So, your upcoming event, is it an annual one?
Yeah. Although the last one was in 2017. I took a break last year because I had a lot of things to do, so it was kept on hold. But from now on, it would be happening annually. Nothing is going to stop it.
Where’s the location this year?
Here in Ibadan, Ring road, the church just behind the Lister building close to the GTBank. A lot of things determines the location each year actually. Though I have a connect at Aguyi, so I plan on doing another one there probably November or December.
Where can we download your songs, please?
It’s on kiwi, it’s a link actually, and it’s on my Instagram page for downloading. My handle is @mykelfakoya.