‘Kingdom Anthem is My Message’

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A gospel music artiste and member of the Tehila Crew, Nkiruka Ogboruche, popularly known as Enkay, recently released her first solo album, “The Kingdom Anthem”, which she says is her personal message to the world and an expression of her commitment to exalt God for the opportunity to minister to millions all over the world. She spoke with Mary Ekah on the inspiration behind her album, among others

It is generally believed that gospel music does not bring money like the secular music, so why did you decide to settle for that in the first place?

The truth is that it is a ministry, it is a call and it is something that I have been told to do by God and I cannot do any other thing other than this. It is my message to the world in songs. It is like being a preacher but doing it in songs. So whether it pays or not, I am doing what I am called to do.

Besides music, what else do you do?

I run my own business. I was working with a multinational company for some time and after which I left the company to focus on my music. I was a manager with Guinness Nigeria for 10 years.

So why did you abandon such a lucrative job for a venture you were not so sure of?

Well, it was not abandonment, it was just a decision to turn a page and take a step away from the norm and start something new and concentrate more because I didn’t have enough time for other things in my life. So, I needed to change my focus and concentrate more on things that I considered important.

That must have been hard decision for you. Right?

Yes, it took me many months to finally take that decision.

You have been fully into music ministration for a while now. Will you say you are happy you took that decision?

There is a fulfillment and joy that comes from obedience – doing what you know you have been called to do at a point in your life. You feel restless when you don’t take the right step at the right time. So I am happy irrespective of whatever circumstance that I find myself today. I may not earn much or have all the connections that I desire but I know that I am happy that I obeyed God and all of those things will fall into place at the right time.

Now can we talk about what you are doing presently?

I just concluded work on my debut solo album called ‘The Kingdom Anthem’, a 10-track album that features the likes of Sammie Okposo and I just put up a video for one of the tracks, “Yes You are the Lord”. It was shot in London and directed by multiple-award winning director and filmmaker, Uvi Orogun of Mediamind Universal and it is out already in the town. Subsequently, there are other videos that are going to be done from this album and I am also working on a few more songs, so there is quite a number of things lined up for me.

Can you talk briefly about the group you belonged before now and why did you take the decision to break free?

The group is known as Tehila Crew. Tehila is a Hebrew word for praise and we are signed on to Tehila Record and I am still a part of the Tehila Crew, I have not broken off from the group. But this is my own sound, my own expression, and a message that is given to me that I want to express outside of Tehila Crew. This is just my message, my own individual message different from that of the group. So if you listen to Tehila Crew sound and listen to mine too, the two are completely different because Tehila Crew focuses on Afro and traditional African sounds while mine is a fusion of alternative rock, R&B, hip hop and soul, meeting the deep spiritual needs of the diverse audience.

Now that you have come up with your personal thing, won’t it distract your focus on the group?

Not at all, it is a matter of prioritising and knowing what to do at every given time. The two ministries are important to me and I put in as much effort into the group as I put in my personal thing. So it is something that I am solidly behind even as my own message is also very important. And also there are a lot of people in the group and so I don’t necessarily have to be there always. There are capable hands that can carry on the message and vision of the group.

How long has the group existed?

Tehila group was born in 2010. And I am putting out my personal album just this year, so I have been with the crew for like six years before I decided to come out with my personal message.

What inspires your songs?

God does. That is just the nutshell. He manifests in different aspects. There is a bit about the family and the need for us to have God in our families. God also reflects in my personal work with Him, so there are songs that sang specifically to Him in praise and showing dependent on God. My song, “I need you”, shows that you are nothing without God. In fact, the whole of the songs on the album culminate into one message which is after all said and done, in every aspect of our lives, whatever our journeys are, whether good or bad, we should not lose focus of the fact that the Kingdom of God is where we ought to be at the end of the day and that is why it is titled, ‘The Kingdom Anthem’.

Tell us a bit about your journey into gospel music?

I grew up in family where music was an integral part. I could remember vividly recording songs on a cassette recorder with my father. He had a bottle and a spoon that he was hitting as instruments and he made us sing three songs in three different Nigerian languages and we kept repeating that recording as long as we wanted. So that kind of sowed a seed in my heart concerning music and when I got to the university, it was harnessed as well because I had the opportunity of being part of one of the best choirs at that time in Abia State University and on that platform, I kind of got a good definition of what I was called for. Different choirs in different churches gave me that opportunity and as we left school, I discovered my own sound ultimately. So that has been the metamorphosis of my journey into music.

When did you start music professionally?

I started music professionally in 2010 with the Tehila Crew.

Is anyone in your family a singer too?

Yes, two of my siblings are very good singers but they are not singing for a living. They have other things doing even though they still sing very well and are both based abroad and they are blessed with good voices.

How do you manage your voice?

Recently, I started taking lessons so I have a vocal coach that I work with regularly and I also have exercises that I do. I am also still in the process of learning because music is a wide, wide filed and you want to be good both theoretically and in practice so I am trying to learn the theory of music and to play instruments as well because if I’m able to play instruments, that makes me a better singer.

Which of your sings do you like most?

That’s a very hard question. You know sometimes when I listen to one of my songs I am like that is my best song but when I listen to anther again, I am like I prefer this to the other. So I don’t really have a favourite in any of my songs, I love all my songs because each of them is born out of a story and I cherish all of them.

Have you always sung gospel?

Yes, I have always sung gospel music and I will continue with it no matter what.

You are a wife, mother, businesswoman and then a music artiste. How do you manage with all these?

Wow! It has been God’s grace all along because there are periods I will leave the house, my kids gone to school and by the time I come back they are already asleep all because I had a recording to do somewhere or had to minster somewhere and all that and then got home very late. Joggling all these has really not been easy but I thank God for a supportive husband; somebody that actually understands what I am called to do and then allows one or two lapses and we are able to complement each other to make it work. And that is one of the reasons that I decided to quit my regular job so that I can have enough time to regulate the things in my life.