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Ada Ogochukwu Ehi, a Nigerian international gospel music minister studied Chemical and Polymer Engineering at Lagos State University. Her music genre is alternative gospel pop, rock and electric dance music (EDM). The gospel is the theme of her music and the style is pop. Gospel music ministration has taken this beautiful mother of two to Europe, America and some African countries. Her album, Only you can do what no man can do, Jehovah; is the rave of the moment in the gospel circle. So many people know her songs but they can’t place the face behind her melodious voice. Recently, she hosted a preview of her latest musical video I Overcame, and she made out time to chat with Sunday Sun.
By Christy Anyanwu
Is music your full time job?
You don’t do any other job?
Music is full time for me and being a wife and a mother, I have a handful of work at home. Like before I came here, I had to do revisions with my kids, get them ready for school and then do other things.
You look beautiful and have a very good voice, so why did you choose gospel music?
I didn’t choose this path. I was called. Very importantly, I am called to do what I do. Gospel music is the theme. We could do rap, reggae, pop but then the theme is the gospel. And like I have always said, even if I wasn’t called, I will still do gospel music, because if I have five minutes of your time, I must give you something that will give you life. I want to make you take the right decisions that will influence your eternity, put you on the right path and create the right atmosphere for you at that time. I love to make music that would make the presence of God tangible because when the presence of God becomes tangible, the miraculous becomes inevitable and then you can receive whatever miracle, inspiration or whatever is the drive that you need for the next move. And looking good is God’s business. When you look at the sky, stars and the waterfalls even in the I overcame video, and when you see the signature of the Creator, you would know that indeed He’s in the business of looking good. If I carry God, how do I let you know whom I carry? I have to look like an emissary from Heaven, don’t you think so?
Is your husband into music too?
He is generally into entertainment but he is not a musician. He works mainly for Pastor Chris Oyakhilome’s Love World Music Company. My husband and I work together. He manages everything about me.
How did you meet your husband?
I am a church girl and so we met at the church. I was doing church duties and after service we met. You know it’s good to be committed to church duties. I met my husband because I stayed back to do some work at the church after service. If I had gone home, maybe I wouldn’t have met him. So, it was while doing church work after service that he passed by and he was like ‘hello’ and I was like hi. And that was how it started.
Can you tell us about a couple of your favourite songs in your newest album?
My favourite songs are yet to be released but then I still love “Only You Jesus”, “I Testify” and many others. These are songs that were put together as singles but they’re all over the world. That is the manifestation of the power of the Holy Ghost.
What was your childhood like?
I grew up listening to Christian music. My father had excellent taste in music. Then I watched a lot of theatrical music. I had very long hair growing up, so the only way to get me to sit down to weave my hair is to slot in the music; so that was my foundation. I schooled at Federal Government Girls College, Sagamu but the music was all different. We were exposed to another style of music. I have a very quick mind, I pick up things very fast and with the help of the Holy Ghost. My parents are well schooled, so there was a lot of English to learn in our house. The most profound was when I came in contact with the message of Pastor Chris and that changed everything. You might have heard me mention Pastor Chris more than once in this interview and may want to ask if I’m not worshipping him. I’m not worshipping him, neither do we worship any man of God but you see, if you’re going to celebrate a Janet Jackson, a Michael Jackson, you are going to call them your favourites. I’m allowed to say Pastor Chris is my mentor. You see, when I came in contact with the word, it changed my mindset and Pastor Chris taught me excellence. The foundation was laid when I was a child but I learnt excellence from Pastor Chris.
What’s your perception of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome?
Pastor Chris is a father. He is very particular about his congregation’s growth. There is nothing I do that Pastor Chris doesn’t know about. That’s the relationship. He is hands-on and he is keenly interested in the progress of his musicians. He tells us every day that “This is why you were born and this you are going to do”. He prays with us, prays for us and he mingles with us and discusses our plans as musicians; he counsels us and instructs us as well. And most importantly, he supports us financially and otherwise. Pastor Chris is one of the most amazing individuals living right now. If God gives you a gift, you must express it. If the church hadn’t given me the opportunity to minister to the people whom I was called to minister to, I wouldn’t have been where I am today.
What’s your take on gospel music in Nigeria? Do you think we are really where we are supposed to be?
Gospel in Nigeria is doing fantastic and if you remove the content – the gospel in it– it becomes meaningless. There is so much hurting going on in the society but there’s also a lot of gospel music ministering to people to help them out of trying periods. But the thing is that the media has not paid so much attention to the impact and effect gospel music is making in our society and that is why we are consciously reaching out to the media.
You guys are doing fantastic job but you also have to pay a little more attention to what gospel music is doing – gospel music is healing, lifting, strengthening, building and also doing other fantastic and great things in human lives.
Which countries has your gospel music ministration taken you to?
I have been to Europe, America and some African countries.
How many videos are to your credit?
I Overcame should be like my sixth or seventh video.
Tell us more about your latest video, I Overcame?
I Overcame is a musical gospel video shot at various locations in Osun State including Erin-Ijesa Water Fall and the Obafemi Awolowo University. The video with its concept of victory over the devil and his cohorts can compete with many mainstream videos in the industry.
What challenge did you encounter in putting together such a magnificent video?
There were lots of challenges while doing this video. A particular one that I won’t forget in a hurry was while shooting the video at the Erin-Ijesa Water Fall. During one of the scenes, the cloud that was bright suddenly became dark, threatening to rain and we were losing light. We began to pray and speak in tongues. We noticed that one of the tour guides, an averagely old man, somehow was inducing the rain.
My husband and one of the pastors in our team walked up to the man, looked into his eyes and told him “Baba, sorry you can’t go beyond this point”. He turned and left and when he left, the rain that was already drizzling stopped and the sky was clear again. This shows that we are not just singers but ministers called by God for his glory.
How long have you been in the music industry?
I have been in music ever since I graduated in 2007. I went straight into gospel music as soon as I graduated.
How has it been so far?
It has been beautiful. You know gospel music is a calling, although there is a career part of it but for me, it’s a calling. It’s God’s business.
What’s today’s event about?
This event is tagged Ada Meets the Media. It’s about me meeting the media and telling them a bit of what I have been doing and then what I am about to do and also to let the media have a preview of my brand new video titled I Overcame. And again to let the world know that the third studio album from Ada is on the way.
What’s the style of your music?
I do alternative gospel pop, rock and electric dance music (EDM), but I do mostly pop music. Gospel is the theme but the style is pop.
How many songs do you have in your soon to be released album and what is the central theme like?
We have about 19 songs in all and the central theme is Jesus. Every song in the album talks about Jesus.
Does it bother you that most secular artists get more endorsements than gospel artists?
When you say secular, that’s about show, popularity, money and fame while gospel is about the teaching or revelation of Christ. So, we have different priorities; we are not on the same mission. It’s the mission that determines the road you take to your destination. So, we are not here for fame or for the money.
We are not promoting Ada; we are not promoting looks or money. Our mission is soul winning and that’s our focus; not get attention or endorsements. We preach the gospel through music, so if those in secular music have more endorsements, it’s because that is what they are about and so they are going to go out looking for it but we are not looking out for endorsements but if endorsements come, praise God! Otherwise, we are on course, but at the moment, I have an endorsement.
You have been in music for a while now. Can you tell us the challenges you have encountered?
The challenge we have in music is basically piracy, that’s in Nigeria but the beautiful thing is that we have the digital platforms responsible for the global exposure we all have now but within the country, piracy is a big problem.
You don’t have any challenge personally?
Like I said; I didn’t choose, I was called. So, they’re two different things. If you chose, you have to work hard to build but when you are called, you just follow.
What about funding?
That is what I am saying, when God calls you, He equips and empowers you for His work if you follow His instructions.
Tell us about your first day on stage
That was a very long time ago. I was still a child then and I went on stage with child star, Tosin Jegede. I was one of her backup vocalists then.
How do you see the tendency of gospel artists to backslide into secular music?
Really? Well, where I stand I see a lot of gospel artists doing exceedingly well. We have the best selling records and of course that is one of the reasons why we are here and you can take notice that we actually do fantastic sales.
I released the video Jesus, two months ago and it hit over one million views on YouTube in one month. And yet you have a lot of big secular videos struggling with three hundred thousand views in one month.
That’s why you are here to realize that God is in the business of changing lives and He is doing it everyday per second.
What message do you have for your audience?
One word from God will change your life and that’s why we sing.
Where do you hope to see yourself in the nearest future?
Ada is just going to keep on saturating the media like she’s the only one God created.