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The Impact of Nigerian Gospel Music on the World

Updated: Oct 23, 2021

I have always asked what Pentecostal churches do beyond speaking in tongues, collecting offerings and tithes and giving motivational speeches to their congregations, perhaps I might not be alone in this line of thought, but when you do attend some of the big Pentecostal churches in Nigeria, you would understand they are more than this narrow perception. One thing they do so well is make and sing very lovely praise songs; once the music and singing starts in these churches the congregation forget all their problems and are as it were literally lifted up to the heavenly realms that they forget all their troubles, this is better experienced than imagined. Big churches like RCCG, Christ Embassy, TREM, MFM just to mention a few are usually spectacular to be in when praise and worship starts. House on the Rock Church led by pastor Paul Adefarasin has an annual event usually around the Christmas season called "The Experience" it is a Global event with Gospel Music Superstars like Ron Kenolly and Don Moen in attendance.



Pastor Chris of Christ Embassy



Pastor Adeboye, RCCG



Pastor Paul, House on the Rock


Nigerian gospel music is being sung the world over, even songs done in broken English called vernacular or pigeon English are being done in America by the Likes of Beyonce, Kelly Rowland and Williams of Destiny's Child. They did The Nigerian Praise song " When Jesus Say Yes". The songs are done in both White and African American Churches in the US. It is no different in Europe, Africa and Asia.



Destiny's Child


The impact of all I have been talking about pales into insignificance compared to what I am going to be discussing now. I am sure everybody must have seen the viral video of Doctors and Nurses praying to, and worshiping God during the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic, the song that was being played in the background was " WAYMAKER". The same happened in South America, Particularly Brazil and other Countries, people were reaching out to God for mercy and the Song usually playing in the background was "Waymaker" . The song got me hooked like it must have done for a lot of people and i did my research and found out that it was done by a Nigerian named Sinach. Wow! I found out the song was done 4 years ago in 2016 and when I watched the video on Youtube I found out it had garnered over M150 views i.e over one hundred and fifty million views. What blew my mind was the fact that the song had been reproduced and sung in over 50 languages of the world. It is now the song used as Theme song for peaceful protests and agitation the world over. The song has been reproduced by many gospel singers, a lot of them white, that is significant knowing the racist nature of the world as it is presently constituted.

Sinach is much sought after and is doing shows the world over. She has even done Shows in India of all Places, such is the impact of her music. Shows the world respects excellence, color not withstanding. Not that any one color is superior to another anyway.



Mega Superstar Sinach


I got so blown away by the music of Sinach that I recommended the Federal Government of Nigeria give her an award for putting Nigeria on the global Music map, only Fela Kuti and perhaps Burna Boy have done that in my estimation. Such is the impact of Sinach's "Waymaker" that she she has graced the Cover of International magazines, and has been interviewed by global media among which is the almighty CNN.

I cannot do justice to Sinachs "Waymaker" without breaking tradition by quoting verbatim CT magazine i.e Christianity Today magazine.


" The American church quarantine Anthem made its way to Nigeria , where songwriter and Pentecostal worship leader Osinachi Kalu Okoro Egbu, Aka Sinach popularized Waymaker. Her hits have since topped US charts for both Christian airplay in church worship during the first months of the pandemic"

" Waymaker holds the top spot on the list of top 100 songs ranked by christian copy right Licensing International"

" last month Sinach became the first African to rise to the top of the Billboard Christian songwriters charts"

"Waymaker" blew to use the Nigerian parlance for for popularity and traction " when American Godfather of gospel Michael . W. Smith released a single in February.



Michael . W. Smith Godfather of Gospel music in the USA



"It is obvious that this is a special song for this moment in history and the fact that the song has emerged from Africa makes it more compelling to be celebrated"

Among other artists that have reproduced Sinachs "Waymaker" are the following

Michael Smith

Steffany Gretzinger

Maranda Curtis

Mike Schmelzer

Mitch Carr

Priscilla and Luis Bueno


These is not an exhaustive list of musicians who have done "Waymaker"

must I mention that once the music is reproduced, millions of views is guaranteed from Youtube as can be attested to by the records.


Sinach's Background

Sinach was born in 1973 and is an Indigene of Ebonyi State Nigeria, she is a second daughter of 7 children, she has been a member of Christ Embassy Church Pastored by Chris Oyakhilome, who as a person is highly technology driven and has a knack for excellence, he has a music studio in his church where he gives budding singers in the church a chance to showcase themselves, it was such opportunity Sinach availed herself with. Sinach started singing sometime around 1989 and like all great singers she started singing as a teenager in church. She is a graduate of Physics from the University of Port Harcourt. She got married in 2014 to Mr Joseph Egbu . She actually was a church worker and employee at Christ Embassy church before she got her break when she did her first song in 2008 called " This is your Season". She won gospel song of the year for the song



Sinach and her Husband Joseph Egbu


Awards

She has written plenty of songs and won numerous awards among which is Song of the year 2008, she also has another monster hit called " I know who i am"

Her songs have been sung in various languages and she the has toured the near and far flung places of the world from Asia (India) to Europe and Americas.


Not only Sinach has made Nigerian gospel music popular the world over, there are many artist, which Nigeria seems to be churning out on an industrial scale among whom are Nathaniel Bassey and Franklyn Edwards


Nathaniel Bassey

You cannot be a real Pentecostal In Nigeria without having attended one of the programs of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG along Lagos Ibadan Expressway in Ogun State, If you have you must have encountered Nathaniel Bassey the Director of Music at RCCG. He is the leader of praise and worship, choirmaster, trumpeter all rolled into one. He is simply a Phenomenon. the songs he has composed are iconic and have become theme songs and anthems. Except one is deaf to gospel music then one would not have heard, song like, " Olowogbogboro" "Onise Iyanu" and "Imela" these are three of the many songs Bassey has composed. These literally are anthems for Pentecostal Christian conventions all over Africa, and indeed the World over. As we all know, Music is like beauty that transcends racial and cultural barriers.



Early Life

Nathaniel Bassey was born in 1978. like all great musicians, started music in church with an Orchestra called Rhodes Orchestra, he was a trumpeter, he did this for two years and from there he moved on


Nathaniel Bassey


It is said, Nathaniel Bassey got his break when he was privileged to meet Stella Obasanjo the Late wife of former Nigerian President



Stella Obasanjo


Bassey is a graduate of International relations from the University of Lagos and has been opportune to study abroad, the UK to be specific. He has been married for seven years to his darling wife Sarah and they are blessed with 2 children. Nathaniel Bassey is the Promoter of the #Hallelujah Challenge, where he worships God through songs for hours on end, the Challenge has hundreds of thousands of followers.

Bassey is not only into singing he is a producer, composer and arranger and has millions of views on Youtube with a reasonable number of albums to his plate.



Franklyn Edwards

This is the last of the three Gospel singers making Nigeria proud globally. there are of course many, but we have decided to feature only these three. If you have ever watched Paul Adefarasin's December event called "The Experience" then you would have noticed Franklyn Edwards, he is always a top draw, crowd favorite, he featured on Don Moen"s album "Grace" And when both were paired. Franklyn was on the Piano while Don Moen was on vocals. It was a beautiful mayhem.



Franklyn Edwards


Franklyn Edwards has come a long way from his humble beginnings in Enugu, South East Nigeria, he has become rich, famous and now a label owner and producer of artists. Franklyn learnt how to play the Piano from his father's tutelage, like all great musicians he started singing as a teenager, became a born again Christian and has not looked back since.

Franklyn was born in 1989 and he is one of the seven children of his parents . He is a Record label owner named Rock Town Records and in his stable are Gil, King Bas, David, among others. Edwards has done good for himself and is also a product of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome's Christ Embassy. His debut album was done in 2008 called "The Definition" and since then he has released several other albums. His brand of gospel is not only for ministration, but has a funky twist to it which makes it danceable in a party or disco atmosphere. He collaborated with Don Moen as mentioned earlier in 2016 in the album "Grace"


Don Moen


Franklyn Edwards has an alias, Frankrichboy. He is a record label owner of course with acts that are doing well. He has done a collaboration with Nathaniel Bassey as well.

Among his popular songs are " miyeruwe" ( I praise your name) " You are good" " who dey run things" among many others. His songs have many viewers on Youtube and he has a reasonable number of albums to his credit.

Here is an inexhaustive list of some of his albums

Definition 2008

Frankincense 2016

Birthday 2016

I'm supernatural 2018


In conclusion it is very easy to criticize people, ditto institutions when you have not researched them and gotten all the facts. The Pentecostal movement as well as church in Nigeria is not about offerings, tithes and miracles alone as they are being stereotyped. They have made great strides not only in the body of Christ, but in the larger secular world as well, as is evidenced by the sterling works of the likes of Sinach, Nathaniel Bassey and Franklyn Edwards. Kudos to Pastors, Chris, Adeboye and Paul Adefarasin and other men of God for such wonderful gifts.


Many thanks to Wikipedia, CT, i.e Christianity today magazine and of course the numerous media whose images we have used


Click the link below to listen to the music of the Artists featured on the Blog






























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