Emmanuel Benjamin, aka Eben, is a gospel artiste, songwriter and minister known for his Afro-pop, hip-hop, and dance-influenced sound. Raised in Lagos, Eben started out as a rapper, and eventually to studio work, singing backing vocals. Today, he is one of the most celebrated gospel power houses in Nigeria and has blessed the lives of tens of thousands with his music. He talks to Tosin Clegg, about his music, upcoming projects, family and more
Eben and the Gosgem conference
The recent Gosgem conference was about empowering music ministers. They say knowledge is power and I believe you are a sum total of your knowledge base. So basically, it’s to increase the knowledge base, when people know about their works they would live better. This conference was like a first of its kind and it’s a laudable one. You could see that people were hungry to know how it works and how they could fulfill their calling.
I’m sold out to the promotion of the gospel
For me, it’s not about getting known or having a business but it’s about promoting Jesus and letting the whole world know what he did for them. Gospel is my life style and that’s what sets me apart from any other kind of musical act out there. When you are a circular artiste, it’s your own agenda and your brand but as a Gospel artiste, it’s not about you but about your Master. So, I think that’s what separates us from the secular world.
My music journey has been over 10 years now and it’s been an awesome journey and full of blessings. I’m thankful to God for it. People need to know the power in the name of Jesus and know that he is here today and forever. That he is not history and he is much alive today, and as he was over 2000 years ago, so he is today. People tend to forget that, and so in my song, Jesus at the Center, I felt people should know miracles happen and his name still holds sway.
Keeping up with the family is the Grace of God
My wife is also in the ministry and she understands the sacrifices we make and I’m just blessed to have a family that understands what my life is about and what my calling is about. It’s by His grace and I’m thankful that marriage didn’t reduce my commitment to my purpose and vision and, if anything, it made it stronger because my wife is also part of it.
My wife sacrifices a lot and if she needs to do anything, she has my full support. She slowed down on her commitments and engagement as an artiste because of our kids, so if she needs to do anything now, I’m all for it. At the end of the day, life is all about fulfillment and that means if your wife is not fulfilled in your marriage, then she is not happy and if she isn’t happy that’s problem in your marriage.
My wife, Jehdiel is such a charming lady. She just stole my heart; she is the greatest thing that ever happened to me. She loves God and she is sold out on the gospel and anybody that loves God gets my attention. I think I’m lucky to have married someone like her.
Our kids will sing the Gospel
It would be strange if our kids don’t sing and I don’t think there is any likelihood that they won’t sing. When they come to you, they come as a plain slate, so it’s what you indoctrinate them with they follow. So far, they are following everything I’m doing; they follow me to programmes and see me in my office as a minster of the gospel. This thing isn’t hypocritical, as when kids start going haywire they must have seen some elements which warrant such, so it’s on us as parents to live out the gospel in our homes.
Hammer House Records
Hammer House Records is my entertainment outfit. It handles music production, video production, music promotions and everything about media and publicity is what we do. We also have a band, so it’s basically a house with different department of its own and very soon we would be going into empowerment and motivation for young ministers.
My style is me and I’m cool and confident with it. I’m not someone who looks for the downfall of anybody, as I have always been myself and what God is doing in my life. Anything you see me wear is an expression of my confidence. So, if I feel like going corporate or swaggalicious I do it.
I have a lot of collaborations coming out this year. I have audio, visuals and also a concert in September. We are bringing foreign acts and also local acts who are my friends and it’s going to be amazing. I haven’t done anything at the magnitude we are planning. Also, a lot of videos would be out and we would be touring as well and we hope we can meet our target this year.
How I want my legacy to be
At the end of it all, I want to know in my heart I have done everything he laid in my heart to do for him. And I have been able to change lives and reach the number of people he wants me to reach. I want to be someone that would be said that in his life time he did this and that for the gospel and his service to God.
There is a preacher in me
It’s part of the Grace God has given me and many people don’t know that side of me, so there is also the preacher in me. And God willing, and as everything unfolds, we would be seeing all the grace in full measure.