Secular music is typically appealing, profitable, and flashy. It encourages a lot a vices without filter and has a wide acceptance all over the world. In Nigeria some top musicians who used to sing secular music or at a point in their lives chose to serve God fully, switched from secular music they were known for, to gospel music.
It has helped boost careers of some of these musicians, while it’s been the other way round for some others. Some of these musicians also chose to go into gospel music at the peak of their careers. WN brings you five secular musicians who have become gospel artistes.
1. Banky W
Olubankole Wellington aka Banky W is a renowned singer, rapper and actor. He is popular for songs like Ebutte Meta, Lagos Party, Yes/No, Jasi, Jaye Ori Mi and others.
Banky W’s style of music noticeably took a different turn when he became a pastor in 2020. His decision to become a pastor, also towed him towards gospel music since 2020. He has released gospel singles and an album in 2021 titled The Bank Statements which has seven tracks.
Asides music, Banky’s lifestyle seems to have changed as well. He no longer wears earrings which may/may not be linked to his new love for Christ. Banky also says he considers himself more as a teacher than a pastor.
Chidinma Ekile known professionally as Chidinma is a pastor’s daughter who once revealed she was born born blind but gained her sight some months later.
In 2010, Chidinma won the third season of MTN Project Fame, a West African singing competition, and immediately entered the Nigerian music industry.
It didn’t take her long to release her hit singles like: Jankoliko, Emini Bola and then Kedike. She became a force to be reckoned with.
Chidinma was doing well as a pop singer with many hit songs and awards before she shocked her followers in May 2021 asking them to call her Mummy G.O or Endtime Soldier. She stated that the old Chidimma had turned a new leaf after receiving summons from God.
She highlighted that time is of the essence and that God told her to use her singing gift to win souls, noting that the devil has been winning for far too long. Chidinma shared how she had a spiritual encounter with God and that he has called her to use her gifts for his purposes.
Under this new rebrand, she dropped her first official gospel song, titled Jehovah Overdo on her 30th birthday, following the new revelation. She is now signed to the gospel record label Eeezee Concept.
3. Nathaniel Bassey
It might be a surprise that Nathaniel Bassey made this list but yes, we’re not mistaken. The Olowogbogboro vocalist at first began his career as a church singer before discovering jazz music.
He went on to perform in jazz shows, including some that featured Louis Armstrong’s songs. Nathaniel Bassey went on to join the jazz trio “Spectrum 4” in Lagos.
Despite being a performer, Nathaniel Bassey used to sing in church but things took a different turn when he was asked to compose a song for Stella Obasanjo, late wife of Nigeria’s ex-president, Olusegun Obasanjo who was visiting their church worship with them. He was set to worship and pray at the church and that was the turning point in his life.
After hearing the composition played, Nathaniel Bassey realized that it is what he should be doing with his life and that was it for him.! He is popularly known for songs like Olowogbogboro, Onise Iyanu and Imela.
Bassey is also known for his #HallelujahChallenge which started in June 2017, where he and other believers worship God for an hour, from 12:00 am to 1:00 am. He streams this event on his Instagram page and invites others to join him. In less than a month, the event had over 600,000 views.
4. Mercy Chinwo
Mercy Chinwo is a Nigerian gospel musician, singer and songwriter. Before becoming a well-known gospel singer, she used to perform secular music.
When Mercy Chinwo participated on the 2012 edition of Nigerian Idols, she was known as Mecindo by her admirers. After playing a handful of secular songs, the singer went on to win that edition.
Mercy Chinwo did not go on to record any secular singles, but she did star in a movie, House of Gold. She then returned years later with a slew of gospel singles like Excess Love, Akadimelu, Obinasom, Oh Jesus, Kosi and so on.
Mercy Chinwo is also well-known for her signature beret which she is always on. She has them in different designs and colors.
5. TY Bello
Toyin Sokefun-Bello aka TY Bello began her career as a photographer. She emerged onto Nigeria’s musical landscape as a member of the now defunct gospel band KUSH, an acronym for Kinetically Ushering Salvation into Hearts and Homes.
Other members of the group were Lara George, Dapo Torimiro and rapper Emem Ema. Kush gained popularity in the early 2000s with the single Let’s Live Together and released an album before disbanding.
Years Later, TY Bello went solo releasing three albums, Greenland in 2008, The Future in 2011, The Morning Songbook in 2014, Africa Awake in 2020 and recently We are Fire in 2022.
She began experimenting with spontaneous worship gatherings. The spontaneous worship is a live recording session in which TY Bello performs alongside another gospel artist and it has given rise to some of the gospel community’s most spirit-filled tunes and has served as a springboard for her new record releases.