Jonas Danielson Ugochukwu, popularly known as Jonas Dan, is one of the gospel artistes poised to reshape the Christian music ministry. In this interview with SEYI SOKOYA, he speaks about his sojourn into gospel music, among other issues.
When did you discover you had the penchant for music?
I discovered my penchant for music at a very tender age, precisely when I was nine years old, maybe because of the fact that I was young, I did not know what I was carrying then. But it became clearer to me when I was growing up. I was able to define and develop my passion from being an amateur to a professional gospel artiste. I thank God that the vision has gotten a shape now and God has manifested Himself through this calling.
How would you describe your genre of music?
I do African traditional/Afrocentric rock. But sometimes, I delve into other kinds of music, depending on how I am led by the spirit of God.
Do you think gospel artistes are doing enough to win souls for Christ?
Definitely yes and even more, especially in the world we are living in today where people are tired of the whole system and need a message of hope and salvation to help draw them closer to God.
The industry now has so many artistes. How do you hope to stand out?
I believe there’s time for everything under the heavens. I’m not in competition with anybody because I believe my own time is waiting for my emergence and moreover, the sky is big enough for every bird to fly.
There are reports that there are caucuses in the industry. If this is true, which do you belong?
I don’t know about any other but the Fellowship of Gospel Music Ministers of Nigeria (FOGMMON), under the leadership of Asu Ekiye and that is where I belong.
Why did you venture into gospel music?
This is what I have been called to do. Gospel music for me is beyond mere singing, but a call to preach the good news to nations around the world and I’m doing that through music. So, it’s either gospel music or nothing.
How many albums do you have to your credit?
I have one album which I released in 2013, and I’m presently working on my second album. The secret is that I am not in a rush to release albums often, but to ensure the songs have impact in people’s lives.
How will you rate the gospel music industry compared to the secular?
In the past, it used to be secular music everywhere, while gospel musicians were not known and taken serious, but the reverse is the case today. Gospel music has taken over and gospel musicians are well placed in the world today and widely accepted to the envy of the secular world, such that most of them are now returning to gospel music.
What is your assessment of the gospel music ministry in Nigeria?
My assessment is that it has fully taken over just like the Bible said that “the glory of God will fill the earth as water covers the sea.” The only thing I think we need to do is to re-strategise and work on quality delivery, packages and marketing system to enable gospel music take full dominance in the world.
Do you feel gospel artistes are actually sending the right message to people?
Yes, and as a matter of fact, gospel music has the real message because any message you pass that does not edify or lift your spirit towards God is mere noise. Gospel music heals, saves and delivers from any ugly point of life. So, gospel music sends not only the right message, but also the best messages.
Some gospel artistes have claimed that there is nothing wrong in adding some elements of secular music into gospel songs. How would you react to this?
God has a standard and you cannot use the world’s standard to measure God’s standard. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. Others may not see anything wrong with it, but I see everything wrong with it. As gospel ministers, the source of our inspiration is God and I believe that if we pray to God and He gives us songs, He will also give the beat or lyrics for each song He gives to you. But if your source of inspiration is not God, you will always struggle and will be left with no choice than to borrow beats from the wrong source.
There are also claims that the power of gospel messages and music is fading away as a result of iniquity in Christendom. How can there be restoration?
God is the reason for every message we send in our music as gospel ministers and I don’t believe that the good message of the gospel will fade away because of sin, Romans Chapter 5, verse 8 states that “but God commended His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” So, sin cannot stop the gospel because even before the sin was committed, Christ has already forgiven and paid for it. Instead, God will raise other vessels to continue with the assignment while He waits for the repentance of the sinner.
Were there any challenges that almost turned you off?
There were challenges, but God’s grace has kept me. It has been from glory to glory.
If you were not into music, what would you be doing?
I would have been a soldier, businessman or a professor. These were my second options. Though, I didn’t have military training, I wanted to become a solider because I hate to see the peace of people threatened. I also love helping people and as a soldier, I would have been in the war front to protect my country. If I was a professor, I would have loved to bring change in the education system. Lastly, the fact that I love to be self reliant fuels my passion for business.
Are you working on any project at present?
Yes. I just finished the video shoot of one of my hit songs in my album entitled “Ogologo.” And as I said earlier, I’m currently working on my second album.
Words for your fans?
I want use this medium to appreciate them for their support over these years, especially for their prayers, criticisms and support which have helped me to grow. I promise to make you all proud because my best is yet to come. Remember, no devil can stop us.