Growing up, gospel music in Nigeria was kinda dead, to say the least. There were really only two options; either you listen to hymns and church worship songs sung by choirs or musicians with a local accent or you go western and listen to the likes of Don Moen, Ron Kenoly and Kirk Franklin.
All that changed in the late 90s when the following gospel musicians below came into the industry to make Gospel cool.
Benita was a child star who gained popularity in the early 2000s with her hit single, Osemudiamen. The song was played at almost every birthday party and church event across the nation for years.
The now defunct group gave us one of the best gospel albums till date, and their single Olori Oko is still one of the go-to gospel songs for Nigerians looking to get spiritual.
If there’s one artiste that made Fuji Gospel cool, it’s Lara George with her song, Ko Le Baje. Her being a game changer in the industry is no surprise as she was in a band named Kush before she went solo, the same band that the talented TY Bello was also a part of.
On this list, Resonance is the one I feel made the most impact in making Gospel music cool. The fact that before she infused pop in gospel, Nigerians had literally drowned in worship songs, and then all of a sudden we had a gospel song that we could break dance, stunt, and drop some epic choreography moves to.
If you hold a white handkerchief and you hear a gospel song, once you start turning the handkerchief in your hand while you are dancing, then you are basically doing a Sammy Okposo. Till date, I can’t hear a Sammy Okposo song without looking for a handkerchief to use and dance.
If Midnight Crew knows how to do one thing, it is to get you absolutely hyped and pumped up while you are listening to a praise song. Their popular song Igwe, is a regular praise song that we have sung for years, but they found a way to not only make it cool, it actually sounded better when they sang it.
Sinach is another gospel artiste that I can say has done it all in terms of impact, much like resonance. Whether she’s singing a worship song, praise, pop, soul or whatever genre she decides on, she always finds a way to make the song look like it came straight from heaven.
The late Kefee, much like Sammy Okposo, had a knack for getting your body dancing more traditionally than you’d have ever thought possible. Whether it is with a handkerchief or you are moving your body like you are doing a cultural dance, the late Kefee and her awesome music are sure to give you that effect.