Ask a group of children this question, on any given day:
What do you want to be when you grow up?
If the said kids are Nigerians (and truthfully, even if they aren't), you'll hear answers like:
Okay, maybe not that last one.
Did I leave any of the major ones out? You decide.
Rarely do you hear a child articulate his/her desire to become a gospel musician. Not even PKs (Pastors' Kids). I'm not saying a gospel musician must have a "sanctified" background, which seems to be the general expectation. I think a colorful past makes for a more interesting story, and believe me, everyone has a past. Everyone.
But most people do not start out their lives planning to be gospel artistes. That's not a problem. I mean, even the disciples were busy doing something else (fishermen) before Jesus called them to follow him.
But, somewhere along the way, people end up working as musicians. You can say they stumble into it, if you like. Some gospel artistes are called, but some become gospel musicians by elimination. And that is the problem. The elimination part.
Let me explain.
Some gospel artistes originally wanted to be superstars in what we call the "secular music" industry. But, when they did not meet with success there or when they realized that competition was fierce in that industry, they decided to take what they perceived to be the "easier," less competitive route, i.e. gospel music.
Now, why do I believe this is true?
Well, here's one reason: the quality of gospel lyrics has declined significantly over the years. In fact, many of the so-called gospel songs released by artistes nowadays are borderline secular.
Look, the one thing that separates gospel music from secular music is the lyrics. It's not the instrumentation or style of music per se. It's the lyrics. If the lyrics are not preaching the gospel or pointing towards Jesus in some way, then what we have is essentially a secular song.
In an ideal world, only those who have been called to gospel music will populate the industry. But that's not reality. Just as not every pastor was called to preach, some gospel artistes are in it for the money.
But not to worry. I find that the gospel music industry has a way of weeding out those who are in it for the wrong reasons from those who are serious-minded and have the right motives.
To those who are into gospel music for the right reasons, be bold and more creative. God doesn't make photocopies, neither should you. Write original songs that inspire, uplift and heal.
Finally, Paul's words are especially instructive:
The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
Does it matter to you why people decide to go into gospel music? Kindly share your thoughts.
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