With several hit singles to his credit, Muyiwa Nafiu is a popular name in the gospel music space. The gospel musician, in this interview with KOLA MUHAMMED, talks about career, plans, comparison of the gospel with secular music, among other themes. Excerpts:
How did the journey of music start for you?
I grew up in it, both physically and spiritually. I was born and raised in a family of musicians.
What would you say have been the biggest challenges on your path to becoming an accomplished musician?
The definition of accomplishment differs according to people’s mindset. Accomplishment for me is doing what I am persuaded to do every season. The challenge I see would be in other people’s definition of success and accomplishment, and the funny way they may react, especially when you have not lived up to such expectation(s).
You are a gospel musician who is single, fair and has a face that is sure to attract a lot of admiration. How do you cope with advances from female admirers?
Attraction is mostly natural, except for very few exceptions, and even those ones don’t come often. Caution is safety. My response to an advance is key. When I suspect it, it’s not my job to wait to confirm, I’m to erect boundaries as quick as possible.
Looking at the entertainment industry today, secular music appears to attract the lion’s share of the flow of money and that has made many gospel singers switch genres. Are you not tempted to go secular too?
The reason for embarking on a journey will mostly be the reason to hold on to. I didn’t become a worship leader or a gospel musician for a greener pasture. If money-making was the motivation, we would be fickle and unstable, but the grace of God is the stable motivation. So, I’m not tempted at all.
Looking at the streaming numbers, gospel singers appear to have a long way to go before they can catch up with a genre like Afrobeats. Do you think there’s anything gospel singers can do better?
For the record, we’re not in competition with Afrobeat singers. However, gospel music people must put in hard work, invest in-depth, allow our work to go through editing before being released. We shouldn’t be lazy with growth and excellence, simply because we are in the gospel. There are other factors that may affect the notion raised here, but as I had earlier stated, we’re not in a competition.
Collaboration is not so common among gospel artistes when compared with their counterparts doing other genres and you particularly hardly have a feature. Would you say there is a reason behind this?
Collaboration needs to be for the right reasons. For example, I may have a song that will be performed better by a female voice. When the time is right, we will surely work with other people.
Your singles have had a lasting impression on people in the country and beyond. ‘Awon Alade lo yi o ka’ is the favourite of many of your fans. Where do you draw inspiration for your songs?
I draw my inspiration from many sources: personal prayer times, times of meditation on God’s word and my pastor’s preaching. Other people’s songs have also inspired some of my songs, especially, Hillsong and Bethel music.
Who are the people who have had the biggest influence on your style of music?
I grew up listening to C&S Ayo Ni O, Bola Are. As I grew, I became aware of Hillsong, Bethel, Nathaniel Bassey, Tope Alabi. These are my major influences.
With quite a number of singles to your credit, do you have plans to release an album soon?
An album is close, to be available only on online platforms. I have a YouTube channel, and I’m also working on iTunes, Spotify and co.
Apart from your music career, you have a degree in Anatomy. Have you been practising or you have your sights solely on music?
Yes, I have a degree in Anatomy, and I am also doing a Postgraduate course in Disaster Management. However, the ministry takes the bulk of my attention.
You have been doing music for quite some time now. Would you say that you are getting to where you aspired to see yourself some years back?
It gets clearer day by day. Thanks to everyone who has believed in me, cheered me on or even criticised me. To the ends of the earth, we will sing the praise of the One who is worthy. I remember that I was asked this aspiration question, about 5 years ago, and yes, what I’m doing right now is the answer I gave back then.
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