By Christopher Oji
For Ireland-based Nigerian gospel singer, Grace Amah, gospel music has the capacity to create employment and reduce crime among the youths.
With over 20 songs and three albums to her credit, the Abia State-born musician-cum-choir leader has continued to wax stronger.
In this rare encounter, Amah opened up on her career, family and challenges, among other issues.
How did you come into music?
I am from a family of singers. My mom and siblings are all into music, so I grew up in an environment of singers. Music is inborn in me; it was in my mother and other siblings so I grew up inside music. I did my primary and secondary schools in Lagos, and then got admission to study nursing. I later relocated to Ireland to further my education, and decided to settle down there. God has been faithful as I have full support of my family. My parents and family members have never opposed my music career, because as I earlier said, I grew up in a music environment.
If you are paid millions to abandon gospel for secular music, what will you do?
Wow! I love this question. Honestly, nothing in this world will make me give up my calling and assignment. My music is a message of love. With what God has shown me and where he is taking me, I can’t trade gospel music for anything in this world. Give me billions of naira, I won’t quit gospel music for any other thing.
Are you saying you are financially okay?
Doing the work of my father in heaven has been very fruitful, especially in the area of soul touching, which is my ultimate goal. Without mincing words, my music is fruitful because spreading the message of love edifies the body and soul, and it gives me inexplicable joy. So, I am rich in Jesus name.
Why did you choose gospel music?
Doing gospel music is not a choice, but a calling. I communicate my belief in Jesus Christ through music. It wasn’t my choice to go into gospel music; it’s a call and mandate from God.
Do you have an album yet?
Yes, I have three albums to my credit. They are ‘Another Level, Lead a Helping Hand, and God of Mysteries.’ However, my most favourite songs are ‘Praise and Papa.’
What inspires your songs?
Spiritual exercise, by that I mean fasting, prayer, meditation and other happenings around me. For instance, the #EndSARS saga was what inspired me to sing Papa. What is happening in the Northeast can inspire me to call on God through songs.
What are the challenges you face as an independent artiste?
It’s a normal thing to be faced with financial, production and marketing challenges.
Some people believe that to be successful as a female musician, you have to sleep your way to the top. Is that true?
No, it is not true. You don’t have to sleep with men to be successful. Anyway, what message will I be passing to people if I sleep around? Or have you forgotten that I am a gospel singer? Any woman that sleeps around is not sure of what she is doing. Even when you are in school or looking for employment, you don’t have to desecrate your body because it is the temple of God. As a married woman, you should honour your body, because God dwells in our bodies. No matter the temptation, stand firm and God will surely give you succour.
As a beautiful singer, have you had an embarrassing encounter with a male fan?
No, I haven’t had any embarrassing encounter with any male fan. How you comport yourself as a woman matters a lot. If men know that you are focused and serious-minded, they won’t harass you.
Why did you leave Nigeria for Northern Ireland?
I left Nigeria for Ireland to study and for change of environment.
How have you been coping with racial discrimination in Ireland?
The Whites have fairly accepted my songs since it’s Jesus I am singing about. The Whites also worship Jesus, so they have no reason to reject the message of hope. But then I am yet to experience racial discrimination. I am dominating in my area of calling, so I am coping well.
Do men intimidate you?
No, not at all. I feel that God gave women the same talent as men. I am equal to the task and I am very confident in my calling; so I won’t be intimidated by men.
What did COVID-19 deprive you of and how did you pull through?
There were gospel concerts, church ministrations and other functions I would have gone to minister if there was no lockdown. I pulled through by prayers and consistent rehearsals. I was doing my monthly two-hour praise so I wasn’t much affected.
What are the major challenges of doing gospel music abroad?
It’s the general attitude of not accepting gospel message. It is a universal thing and not restricted to the Whites alone. Large percentage of the universe finds it difficult to accept the message of Christ, but the ones that accept are serious about it.
Who is your role model in gospel music and why?
I look up to the Holy Spirit as my role model. The Holy Spirit teaches me how to go about my music, and gives me new songs from the realm of the spirit. The Holy Spirit gives me instruction; tells me when to stop and refill, and guides me on how to sing the songs. Man can disappoint, but Jesus can never fail anyone who hopes in him and does his will.
Moral decadence is rampant in the world, what is your take?
There is a spiritual dimension to the issue of moral decadence. It is becoming too embarrassing and disgusting. Shedding of blood through any means is evil. How can someone be bold to pick up arms and shoot a fellow human being? How can someone abduct a fellow human and be demanding for ransom? This is too bad, and I am calling on the government to return moral classes to schools. Apart from teaching the message of Jesus, church leaders should teach morals and always mention quality names that are worthy of emulation. Village heads and traditional rulers should stop laying emphasis on wealth, but pay attention to morals. Parents should stop comparing their children with others, but lay emphasis on good morals. Let us stop worshipping money, but preach morals.
What is your message to the youths?
The youths should seek Jesus Christ early in life. Jesus should be their role model. Anyone who looks up to Jesus will never go into crime. I know things are difficult, but when you follow Jesus with all your heart, he will minister to you something that will give you inspiration. And once you receive it, you won’t suffer anymore. The government should support gospel music and make legislation in support of artistes in general. We have many talented youths that are wasting away; but with sponsorship, they will go places. Gospel music can create employment in Nigeria, no doubt about that.
What are your projections for the remaining part of 2021?
I want to do a video production and release a single before the end of the year. I also hope to get more outings and church functions. It is not easy, but God will see me through.