INTERVIEW WITH OBIWON: THE THEN AND THE NOW



One sunday afternoon late last year, while watching t.v, I stumbled across Obiwons music video for "hail my king" featuring frank edwards, kore, eben.
I remember thinking WOW!! this video is cool o and the song was pretty good too "urban gospel" as he calls it.
The thought dropped in my heart "you should interview him" , I had seen and heard him speak at a youth program I attended not too long ago, and wondered "ahahhn when did he start singing gospel??"

I grabed my tab and through the wisdom of the Holy spirit I got his e-mail adress (lol I wouldn't reveal my secret) and sent a mail
His response confirmed to me that the thought I had earlier was from the holy spirit.
If like me then you are thinking "ahhahhn when did he start singing gospel?" ?
Then continue reading.



  • Who is Obiora Obiwon?

Obiora Obiwon is your regular boy next door who happens to be passionate about God and music.

  • Why did you initially go into music?
Love and passion; a flair and constant engagement with all things music developed from my childhood into my teenage years and never left, no matter any other endeavour I embarked on or challenges I faced. 

  •  What did music mean to you then
I guess you’re referring to when I first got into music and as a secular r’n’b artiste. Music for me then was primarily an ambition, I wanted to show the world that I could be as great an artiste as any other and I believed I had all the potentials. It was all about me and how great a songwriter, singer, performer I thought I was or believed I could be and how I wanted to be appreciated for that.

  •  What inspired your music then
I just wanted to make music that people could enjoy, feel, relate to or celebrate with. I somehow knew that inspiration comes from God and I believed I had the talent already to boot. Along the way I discovered that my writing music became stronger when I wrote out of my personal experiences and what I see in my immediate environment, so i deliberately started allowing my personal experiences to influence my writing. 

  • How was it making music then, rap, the fame, winning the hip hop world awards with the thoroughbreds and everything that being a star came with in Nigeria then.
The fame and all that came with it was quite a discovery for me. Being popular comes with favours and adoration from different kinds of people, even those that normally wouldn’t want to relate with you. It sort of gives you a license to indulge. Although I had seen small local fame at the University performing at campus shows, it was nothing compared to what I saw as a popular r’n’b singer after my debut album dropped. It became progressively easier to party and attend events every other weekend and also in different cities. With all that came an industry lifestyle and I started living it. 
"Get 'em up: The first obiwon song I listened to"
  •  I would appreciate sir if you could please share your salvation experience

At a point I became overwhelmed by the fame and the indulgent lifestyle I found myself in; overwhelmed in the sense that I found it very easy to live an immoral pop star kind of life but somehow knowing that I wouldn’t end up well if I continued that way. 
Curiously I started studying the private lives of famous musicians and saw that most didn’t end up well. I wanted a nice sweet family life and I was determined that my story would be different, so I started getting closer to the church. I tried to find God and make peace with Him so he could bless me and give me the good things I wanted. I eventually became born again. Initially I just wanted to be a good Christian who sang R’n’B/Pop and at times some inspirational songs.

His nice sweet family
Photo credit:Bellanaija.com
  • What inspired the change in your style music?
I found myself getting closer to God, attending weekly fellowship meetings and I began to have deeper encounters with God. Not too long after it became clear that there was one thing God was asking me for which I was still keeping for myself... and that was my music. The messages started coming too from different quarters that I would eventually sing gospel. One day while walking back home, I found myself talking with God and admitting to Him that I was scared of what would become of me and who I thought I was, my fan base and my music career, if I was to give my music to Him and become a gospel artiste.
 There and then I decided that since He is God in charge of all, I would have to trust Him and let go of all the fears and doubts I had and become a gospel artiste. I always remember this day clearly because I felt an incredible peace and it felt like I was born again again. My encounters with God increased sharply and my walk with Him began to deepen. 
Still from the video for "Hail my king"
  •  What does music mean to you now
Music is a vehicle first to connect and get me and others into God’s presence, secondly to share the Love and realness of God with humanity and also to nurture relationships with each other. It’s a tool given to me to fulfil my purpose, which is to be an instrument in the establishment of Christ’s Kingdom. 

  • Was there any opposition from your friends, and those around you then? How were you able to handle it, is there still pressure?
Sure... My friends were huge supporters of my music, loved my musician profile and the attention it brought. When they got to know they acted like I had either gone nuts or felt I was going through a phase which would pass by. 
I stopped going to the clubs and bars we used to hang out together and would say no when they called me up to hang out. I was now this guy who now abstains from alcohol and stopped dancing to certain types of songs like I used to, even when invited to their personal events. It was baffling to them because I was what you could call the “life of the party” and had lots of female fans and friends too. 
We just weren’t as close as we were before. There were occasional jests and taunts and at times it was just sheer surprise at my changes. It’s been 8 years since then and we still keep in touch but everyone has come to terms with my chosen path.

  • Comparing making music then and now is there any difference, in terms of reception, finances, and even socially (friendships)?
Surely. Gospel music is a ministry first and foremost because it has the gospel attached to it. If you don’t primarily see it that way, you will burn out quickly. It took me a little while to realise this in those early days because I had immediately come up with wonderful plans of how I would sustain what I was doing. However God usually has his own way and every commitment or dedication one goes into must be tried thoroughly. Getting the gospel music industry and the churches to accept what I’m doing and believe I’m for real was quite a challenge. I don’t even know how I’ve been able to continue doing this. If not that God finds a way each time to remind me that He is indeed the One who called me and that He has incredibly sustained me supernaturally, I might have given up in the trying times. 

I have had my wilderness experience, which is absolutely necessary for anyone truly called to the gospel and I’m now going into my Promised Land. 

About being social, once I have the opportunity to lead people in worship, to play with my wife and children and to share and commune with the many amazing Christian brothers and sisters I’ve met, I’m very okay. As I watch the Holy Spirit win souls and bless lives through my ministry, for everyone out there who’s reached out to me say they’ve been blessed by the music and ministry, and above all to be able to get alone and commune with the God of the Universe... there could be nothing more fulfilling and rewarding.

 What role do you feel music should play in the life of a child of God?

Same as what I mentioned above. It shouldn’t be an end of itself, but a means to an end. The end focus should be to worship, change the more and become more and more like Him. 
Still from his latest video "Overflow""

  • How is the gospel music scene in Nigeria?
It’s not yet where it should be but it is not where it used to be. In recent times there’s been a movement to improve the quality of output and ministers from the gospel music scene and I pray it grows. If Christians who earn and operate in Corporate Nigeria would rise to support gospel music beyond the church walls, there would be a huge impact for Christ especially in the lives of our youth, who are easily influenced by music.

  •  Personally how does the kind of music you listen to influence you?
I actually still listen to all sorts of music I hear, but the content and the spirit behind the song determines if I would listen past the first minute. At times I simply appreciate the excellence and creativity in a song and I’m quickly thinking of how I can do something better to honour God, who is the original Source and Owner of all creativity and excellence. 

For every one of us the music we hear influences the thoughts we dwell on, whether we know or admit it or not. So as a rule the music I listen to must follow the principle of Philippians 4:8 — Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. 
Phillippians 4:8

  • What inspires your music now?
The Holy Spirit still working through my personal experiences with God and humanity; a burning desire to share the Love of God with humanity as the greatest satisfaction possible ever. 

  •  Your favourite musicians and why?
Michael W.Smith, Donnie McClurkin, Nathaniel Bassey and every other musician out there whom their music connects me with God or truly glorifies God. 

  •  What role does the Holy Spirit play in your life generally and as an artiste?
I can’t do anything without the Holy Spirit. If I’m feeling uninspired, unmotivated, or generally feeling down or bad about anything at all, I know it’s because I haven’t yet consulted or fellowshiped with the Holy Spirit, the Living Water, the way I ought to.
 He’s the fire I need to make it in my entire life’s mission.

  • Do you sometimes miss the old obiwon?
After all I’ve said do you think I would? (Laughs); Certainly not. I’m a new creature free from the burden of sin and guilt; enjoying the fullness of joy and eternal pleasures and a clear purpose in Christ, instead of living for selfish ambition and worldly pleasures that do not satisfy.
    From the video for "Bunibe"
    The song is available for download on the blog
  • Any advice for the readers in terms of music and generally?
Be discerning and consume only the music that builds you up body, soul and spirit, don’t just go along with whatever is the trend. Above all find and live daily in the Love of God through Christ, that is the only thing that makes life meaningful and worth living.

I am very grateful to Obiwon for taking his time out despite his very busy schedule to make this interview a reality, his humility through it all really inspired me.

To know the latest on Obiwon, download and his super awesome music click HERE

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X.o gbemieO















Obadan Gbeminiyi

6 comments:

  1. Wow wonderful interview..Hmmm I was blessed..God really works in mysterious Ways

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you dear
      He does work in mysterious ways
      Merry christmas
      I apologise for the late response

      Delete
  2. I was a big fan of Obiwon then.he dint v d "bad boy" look so I wasn't so surprised.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Amazing!!!! 🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽

    ReplyDelete

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