United States-based gospel musician and music producer, Philip George, in this interview with SEYI SOKOYA, speaks about his career and what the life of a gospel artiste must portray.
How is life as a gospel singer?
I think the main thing people need to know about me is that I’m very deep in love with God and that love is reflected in everything I do. It causes me to serve in every capacity He leads me to and I’m willing to obey totally. I’ve been blessed with many things by the grace of God and He has helped me to serve behind the scene for years. I’m so glad I was able to and still able to serve in that capacity. God has helped me to know how to help people become great. He has positioned me not only to bring men to get to know Christ, but to also let them know that they have been created to have dominion as leaders and kings.
What is your current mission in Nigeria all about?
I am here to contribute to the growth of the gospel industry as well as win souls for Christ in a unique way. The programme is tagged: ‘Atmosphere.’ It is a crusade, but different from the usual crusade we have around. I’m a music minister, a piano player and a child of God. My heart has always been to bring souls to the kingdom of God, raise them to be leaders and raise those leaders to become agents of change. And quite frankly, I’ve seen people saved, delivered, healed, and as a result, seen and experienced the incredible hand of God’s power.
Atmosphere is going to the nations, from city to city and continent to continent, and then to the world at large, bringing people to Jesus and making them become agents of change. Atmosphere Nigeria will have various musicians ministering with intense worship, healing, miracles, power, and supernatural move of the Holy Spirit.
Why did you choose gospel?
There wasn›t really any other thing to do. That’s my life. That’s why I was born. I have found my purpose and that is why I’m pursuing it. It has to be the gospel. Gospel means good news, and I can’t contain myself, but to share this goodness to as many people that I know or don’t know in the world as possible. The worst kind of success is to succeed in another man’s assignment. So, it’s gospel that I must carry. It’s my ultimate assignment to spread that good news through many good means.
How do you draw inspiration?
The Holy Spirit and the Bible are my number one inspiration. Next to that are books. I love to read, it gets me very excited when I see a good book. Books have changed my life tremendously. Next to that are people. I enjoy learning from people, great people, people of all race and kind. I go to places and I ask a lot of questions so I can learn. People are walking libraries and encyclopedias. They carry wealth of knowledge with them everywhere they go. It’s one of my greatest sources of learning.
With your exposure, especially in the United States, how would you compare the industry abroad to Nigeria?
I think geographically, both countries are amazing. The United States has opened my eyes to so many things in life. It shifted my perspectives and it has enabled me to see the other side of life. Nigeria is also a great place, it has given the foundation I could not have gotten abroad; a solid foundation of tenacity, consistency, sustainability, among others. Honestly, Nigerian music has really developed and I’m so excited. Also, I have come to add to the spiritual depth I’ve been called into as it relates to music, worship, word, and many other things. God sent me to Nigeria and that is why I am here to begin a shift both in the spirit and in the community and in the nation at large. So, I look forward to seeing this revival God has already begun.
What is your greatest challenge?
Producers are supposed to capture the heart of God through the vessel He has chosen to expand His kingdom through music. Sometimes, that could be a hard thing because you have to be careful to interpret the sound that is coming out of the spirit at that point in time. That process can be very interesting. It is challenging because if you do something that is not what the spirit is saying to the world now, we may not get the impact that the world should have had. So, one of my greatest challenges really in this regard is that I pray the Lord should help me to put the right sound in the right music and right lyrics to become the right praise and worship on the lips of His people.
How was your growing up?
Honestly, I don’t remember a lot about my growing up. I can tell you that I was very shy, not troublesome. I became a Christian very early, did some really bad things by the way. I used to steal a lot when I was around 12 years old, and my mum once reminded me in the presence of my other siblings and friends how she beat the demon of stealing out of me and I stopped stealing immediately. Now, I wonder, it just occurred to me that you can beat a demon out of someone without casting them out. Though that was for humor, it has some truths in there. Anyway, overall, I believe my growing up was great, my mum and dad provided a good environment for us to grow up in and there wasn’t any hatred or family disunity or things like that. We ate, stayed and fought together. I remembered I left home when I was 12 and doing a lot of hustling. I used to work at a block-making factory carrying blocks just to make a living. I was young, but I worked hard.
What is your assessment of the gospel industry?
The industry is growing fast, but the main concern is that not everybody in the gospel music is committed. Some are after money and fame. Anyone after such things should not be in the gospel music. They are mere working for God, but never know Him. Like I usually say, I notice most of the people who try to turn away from Jesus are those that tried to use Jesus to get something else. I think it’s very important to understand what is at stake. Gospel is not music, music is music, we are the ones that have given it the name. Gospel in the scriptures means good news, not a genre of music. But now that we have classified a particular genre to be gospel music, which is actually a genre from the African-American community that describes the different types of music sound, whether it’s traditional gospel music or contemporary gospel, the goal is to preach Christ. When you relate this to music, it becomes spreading the good news of Christ through music. Other genre of music, which is what we refer to as secular music for the most part, are those that do not really talk about God, but other things that may not necessarily edify the spirit man. This simply means secular works are music that don’t talk about Christ.