Artiste advises on adoption of different styles, sounds in gospel music

A gospel artiste, Benedict Onyemechalu, on Monday advised colleagues to adopt different sounds and styles in their music to give room for versatility in the gospel music industry.

Onyemechalu, a Reverend Father of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, gave the advice while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

According to the artiste, gospel music should not be limited to certain sounds and styles which are becoming  monotonous.

He commended the likes of Johnny Drille and Asaka who have made remarkable changes to their sounds and styles.

“In practical terms, in our day today, if your gospel sound doesn’t sound in a certain kind of way, then it is not gospel music. So, you must engage the electronic pads, and speak a little bit in tongues, use high pitch vocal range amongst many others.

“But thanks to the likes of Asaka and Johnny Drille, who came to redefine and open up the net to accommodate many other sounds.

“And gradually, people have adapted and they are doing great with their sounds, this should be encouraged by others.

“To me, the conventional concept of gospel music tightens the net and allows for little or no further expansions but music cannot be caged. Music cannot and should not be contained,” he said.

Onyemechalu, also the Creative Director of O’Padre Creations, said he usually gains inspiration to compose his songs and sing when driving.

“I love to drive. Driving is a hobby for me, as well as a channel of creative birthing to life of ideas and many other stuff.

“The moment I drive in a relaxed disposition, I get to come back home with songs, depending on the distance covered.

“Most of my songs, great as they may sound, started as ideas while I was driving,” he said.

The artiste who has released 12 singles and an EP of seven tracks, which was his debut, said he started his musical career in 2003 when he started writing choral and liturgical music for use in Catholic worship.

He said some of the liturgical music are still sung in Catholic churches around.

He noted that music comes to him naturally and it has been a rewarding experience for him so far.

“In 2016, I had a somewhat dramatic switch to Gospo-Contemporary music, with a view to exploring the other kinds of music in me.

“I would say that it has been quite a rewarding experience. I still hope to write choral music for liturgical purposes. But for now, let me exploit a bit more of the music in me.

“I have a great interest and experience in photography, videography, editing, community building and youth development, technology and smartphone creative ventures, amongst others.

“I believe and strongly support all that pushes for the growth of innovation in creative arts since a creative mind is a God-driven mind,” he said.

On who his role models are in the musical industry, he said, “I have been influenced by the works of notable Nigerian choral musicians like Prof. Laz Ekwueme, Sir Sam Ojukwu and Sir Jude Nnam.

“I look up to musicians like my friend and brother, Moses Abdulkass. I love the works of Nathaniel Bassey.

“On the flip side of it all, I look up to finesse acts like Johnny Drille and Asaka. The list can go on and on.”

Onyemechalu, who is also a keyboardist, revealed his plans for the next five years to include becoming a professional artiste.

“I would love to hear the name “FadaBen” on everyone’s lips. I would love to hear my music sung in the streets of Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and other cities in Nigeria and down to other nations of the world.

“I used to say that God gave me all the gifts I needed and wanted in this world, except one, which is dancing.

“I wish I could dance. I would have used my dancing skills in fostering the cause of the kingdom through neo-evangelisation media.

“If I could dance, you would have heard the title, “The Dancing Priest”, just as we have the “dancing senator”,” he said. 

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