Nkechi Chima Onyele, Abuja
He is a man of many parts. He’s a broadcast journalist, cameraman, producer, pastor and now a gospel musician. Reuben Okala aka Saint Reuben recently launched his album, Breaking News in Abuja. There, he told TS Weekend about his readiness to break new ground in music after 35 years in journalism. Enjoy it.
Could you tell us a bit about your background?
I hail from Bagaji in Omala Local Government Area of Kogi State. I grew up normally, raised by my father and mother. I am from a family of eight and I’m the fifth child. We are four boys and four girls but I lost two of my siblings. However, l played football like normal kids, fought, laughed and did all the things boys normally do.
When exactly did you start singing?
My foray into music began from childhood. However, for me, music and reporting have been going on side by side over the years. My flare for music is natural and I perceive music as food to the soul.
Could you share your reportorial experiences that led to the title of your new album?
I have been breaking news as a journalist for 35 years; it’s now time to break new ground musically. I have travelled all over the world reporting for NTA. I have climbed the mountains, attacked by armed robbers, had it rough and tough, and also had it smooth. It has been breathtaking but God gave me victory over all the challenges.
How many songs are contained in your new album?
Breaking News contained seven tracks including the hit song, Jesus in the Jah (He is everywhere).
You received invitations to perform in churches at the album launch, are you restricting your performance to churches?
No! I perform everywhere and anywhere I am invited including weddings, naming ceremonies etc.
As a broadcaster, how do you intend to combine music with your profession?
I have been doing music and reporting side by side. Now is the time to do music full time. Though, I have officially retired from NTA on July 8, 2017, I’m still involved in the media because a journalist never retires.
Tell us more about the man behind the camera?
Saint Reuben Okala is calm, focused, and theatrical but he’s a serious fellow. He is a man of many parts. He’s into music, a media man, pastor, music producer, businessman and aspiring DJ.
How did you meet your wife?
I met my wife, Patience Ajuma in music and so in music we shall continue. We have been married for over 20 years now, and blessed with three lovely children. My wife is a legal practitioner and a singer. I respect her intelligence and beauty; her smile is efficacious and she is my pride. In fact, she is fun to be with. Her presence with me on stage makes me more confident; she doubles as the music director.
Your children also performed alongside their mother at the launch; does music run in the family?
Yes, like parents like children. The children take after us musically and we will continually support their talents.
Who are your role models in the entertainment industry?
My role models are Panam Percy Paul, Kirk Franklin, Winans, and the late Andrew Crouch.
What are your plans musically?
We intend taking our music beyond the shores of Nigeria. Also, we want to record more songs that will influence the youth positively. We advise the youth to be patient, focused and get close to God, because with God everything is possible.