Olasunkanmi Imhogienhe is unique not because she is a gospel singer. She is unique because she chose a medium which many may say has no national appeal, to deliver her message. She preaches the word using the Ewi genre of music.
In spite of what may be an obvious handicap, Olasunkanmi’s new delivery on vinyl is surprisingly popular. The album contains track done only in Yoruba and this she says is no problem.
Married with kids, she speaks to Aramide Pius on her career, marriage and the nagging issue of indecent dressing amongst today’s youth.
How are you enjoying the musical world? Has it been fun?
We thank God. It’s been good except for some challenges here and there.
Can you share some of the challenges?
The promotion of the new album and being new in the work are some of the challenges I am faced with.
How would you describe the kind of music you play?
It is a gospel music titled: The Face of God and it’s mainly in delivered in the Yoruba language. It is Ewi, which is more like poem and it’s a praise song for God.
Why Ewi of all musical genre?
That is where my talent is and everybody can not be singing praise and worship.
For how long have you been doing this?
I have been doing this for more than three years now but this is my first album. I discovered this talent about three years ago.
How responsive have people been to your music?
I have been getting a lot of responses most especially from Churches, weddings and all that. You know it is what people say that will encourage you to move on and I have been getting a lot of responses. I am so happy about it because this is only a start and I know that with time, I will get there.
Have you been doing live shows?
Yes. I have been doing live shows at Churches and weddings.
What was your experience like the first time you went on stage to play live?
(Laughs) I was a little bit nervous, but after a while I got used to playing in Churches. The power of the Holy Spirit was a great help for me. Truly, God is really taking control.
Are you married?
Yes. I am married.
How supportive is your husband on your musical career?
He is very supportive. I can say that he is a hundred percent supportive. He has been there for me and as a matter of fact, he is the one encouraging me to do all I am doing now. He will always tell me, ‘It is your talent. It is what God has called you to do, and you better do it,’ and he has been there for me.
Do you have kids?
Yes. I have four kids.
So how come you look this gorgeous?
I think it is the gift from God. Besides I like to take very good care of myself.
What and what do you do to take care of yourself?
I eat good food and I don’t overeat. I also go the gym to work out.
As a mother and wife, how do you joggle your musical career with the home front?
For now, I have not been having so many shows so I have been able to manage my home front and my job. Most of my shows are usually in the morning or afternoon. I don’t do night shows and so I still have the rest of the day to spend with my family so I am joggling both well.
How did you meet your husband?
My marriage is going to be fifteen years in December. After the marriage, I started having my kids and my first born is fourteen now. God has blessed us ever since and we have been happy together. I have been enjoying my marriage because there has been peace in my home.
How would you describe him? Is he romantic?
He is a very loving man, very kind and gentle. His good attributes are much more than the other side of him. Even the not too good sides are not as bad. He is very romantic and nice.
Undermining the fact that you play gospel music, how do you handle male fans because I know they will surely come whether you are married or not?
Some of them come not because they are actually your fan. Some will come and will want to toast you under such pretexts. Most times like that when they come, I use divine wisdom to deal with them because the message I sing is for everyone and if I become violent or rude to them, they will not listen to the message.
So I tactfully deal with them yet being firm about my beliefs and it has been working for me. I thank God for everything.
How did you get into the gospel musical circle or is it a childhood passion?
Not really because I’m from a Muslim home. My dad is an Alhaji and my mom is now a Deaconess. My dad is late now. I was the first person to give my life to Christ in my family.
Amidst the Islamic background you had, how did you now find Jesus?
As a growing child, I never liked the ways of the Islam religion. Going to mosques and all that have never been what I love to do and I later realized that it was God who has been putting all of that in my mind and in a way preparing for this big assignment. I have never really liked being a Moslem.
One day I went to church and the pastor said, “Is there anyone here who wants to give their lives to Jesus? That person should come out now.” And I came out and that was how I became converted. I gave my life before I got married.
Or was it through your husband that you became converted?
It was not through him at all.
And how do feel when you come across a half dressed women who believes in the popular saying flaunt it, if you have it?
I don’t believe in that. I think it’s crazy. When I first returned from London, because I was there for quite a while, I was very reluctant to put on jeans because it is like, if you put on jeans, you are following the crowd since that is what every one of those girls was putting on and they will look at it as if we are all the same.
I wore jeans trousers in London a lot because you just have to get used to it if you don’t want to catch cold.
But here in Nigeria, the young ones dress anyhow. So if anybody makes any false move towards me, I look at such person and say to him, I don’t blame you, it’s all because of the way our girls have portrayed themselves to be that is why they feel everyone is the same.
The way they dress is unbelievable especially those university girls. It’s awful. I’m not impressed at all. I don’t know what they have that they are flaunting. I believe a lady should dress to cover up themselves, not until you show all your body before a man can like you or marry you. They are looking for a husband who is going to marry them?
Nobody will marry them because they don’t preserve themselves as ladies. A lady is supposed to be reserved and modest and not going about to sleep around. You don’t have to flaunt all to get attention.
What is your perception of PMAN? Are they representing the music industry in Nigeria well?
God will help them sail through the challenges they are going through and God will give them the divine wisdom to keep representing us well.
Apart from music what other things do you do?
I used to do business but I stopped. I was into the business of trading in gold, shoes, bags and all that but I stopped.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up here in Lagos and growing up was good. I grew up in a polygamous home and as a growing child, I did not have any serious challenge per say. I had no problem because my Daddy was okay. So growing up for me, was fun.
Given the fact that you grew up in a polygamous home, what if your husband decide to take a second wife, what will you do?
He dare not try it and besides he is a born again Christian. He is not even thinking of such thing. He is okay with me and he is very proud of me.
In the next five years, where do you hope to be with your career?
In the next five years I see my self going around the world, singing, preaching the gospel and evangelising because it is my call to do so through my music.