By Itohan Abara-Laserian
Lagos — Cece Winans, an American gospel singer and multiple Grammy Awards winner, born Priscilla Marie Winans, will feature in the 2018 Women of Praise (WoP) inaugural concert scheduled for November.
The organisers of WoP concert, Southwest Media and Encase Group Presentation, made the disclosure to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lagos.
They told NAN that gospel musicians had hitherto been limited to the church which had restricted their music from being heard and urged them to come out of the four walls of the church.
Mr Ike Ogbuebile, the Chief Executive Officer, Encase Group, said that no adequate platforms to showcase the creativity of gospel artists had not been provided except for mega events like “THE EXPERIENCE’’ in Lagos, hence the need for the Women of Praise concert in other parts of the country.
Ogbuebile, however, told NAN that there was no competition between the gospel and circular music because both were creatively delivering content in their spheres accordingly.
“There is no competition in the music industry, artists produce music, the music itself is all part of God’s creativity, now the difference is the focus and the message that are being sent out.
“So, because of that, it seems like most gospel artists are put in a box just like the church has been put in a corner and we are saying it is time to come out from the corner and go mainstream.
“Go into the mainstream and be able to do that, we are looking at four different corners (Industry, Education, Faith-based and Governance).
“So, we are encouraging our artists, come out from the four walls of the church and take the center stage and minister the same music that anybody can listen and dance to while the lyrics inspire humanity and give God all the glory,’’ Ogbuebile said.
According to him, gospel music has a role to play in nation building and promoting peace.
“Looking at the music of TimiDakolo, there is power in his music and it does not matter your ethnicity or background, if the music is good, it is good.’’
On his part, Mr Charles Ndudim, Chief Executive Officer of Southwest Media, said that the Women of Praise 2018 was a platform to expose the enormous gospel industry to the majority of the population.
Ndudim told NAN that people find joy, peace and solace in gospel music which inspires the public, adding that Nigerian music was gaining attention globally.
“We have been looking for a vehicle that will carry on this humongous industry to majority of the population. Majority of the population of, indeed about 70 per cent are Christians in Nigeria and they listen to one form of Christian music.
“Even if you are not a Christian, Christian music still uplifts, it is where you find solace and where you find peace and joy. Also, Nigerian music culture is inspiring to the world at the circular field even the Christian field.
“Although the Christian field has not been given the proper channel and platform to carry it to the next level, so, we said, why not come together first of all as Christians.
“Then as children of God to empower our women who have been very boisterous in the gospel industry amid the challenges they have broken through.
“an artiste like Sinach, who is now listed in Forbs as one of the highest paid gospel artist in the world,’’ he said.
According to Ndudim, gospel music is soothing to the soul, and for the current state of the country, there is nothing more soothing than to look up to God, “because when the praises go up, the blessings come down’’.
The organisers are of the opinion that gospel music could help in nation building and promote unity across all religions notwithstanding the extremists and their activities that cause disunity.
They told NAN that the corporate world was failing to understand the gospel demographics because they had not taken time to study the faith-based industry, adding that the concert was open for sponsorships.
Ogbuebile said: “If the corporate world have studied the demographics of the industry, they will gain a lot from sponsoring events such as this and it is easy for them to say they do not touch events at the beginning.
“When such events begin to evolve, they will want to identify with it. So, we are looking for partners who want to identify with us now to build and grow with us,’’ he said.
The programme scheduled to hold on Nov. 29 in Abuja and Dec. 2 in Owerri, will feature an international act from the U.S. Cece Winans and other local musicians like Sinach, Ada, Chinyere Udoma and Onos among others.
NAN reports that the programme’s choice to focus on women was aimed at empowering the Nigerian woman.
The organisers said that there was a charitable arm to the programme to give back to the women in the society, things that would help them to acquire more skills.
They urged everyone to attend the programme scheduled to hold in two cities (Abuja and Owerri in Imo); in Abuja, regular seats will be sold at N3,000; VIP seats for N15,000 and a table sitting position for N250,000.
While in Hero’s Square, Owerri, the ticket are going for N1,000 regular; VIP for N10,000 and the table sitting for N200,000.
Meanwhile, ticket sales began on Oct. 22 and can be obtained from www.abujaroxx.com.