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Rich Jewell:I Just Want to Do More Gospel Songs

Rich Jewell:I Just Want to Do More Gospel Songs

Musician Cyril Odijie, who goes by the name Rich Jewel, after years of soul-searching, is back with a new song titled ‘Testify’.  The budding gospel artiste also shares some of his experiences and challenges in this chat with Ferdinand Ekechukwu

Who is Rich Jewel?

I’m a gospel artiste. I just dropped one of my singles, streaming now on major music platforms. But I’m working on other songs. That one is streaming right now on Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, NetEase, Boomplay, Deezer, and YouTube Music among other music streaming sites. It’s titled ‘Testify’.

What is the song ‘Testify’ all about?

It’s about God’s goodness and mercy upon my life. How he lifted me and changed my story. That’s for me as a person. It also talks about salvation. Jesus coming to die to save mankind is a testimony because while in our sins he still loves us.

When did you start doing music? Was it with gospel music you started?

Yeah. My kind of music is gospel and moral. It can still be played at secular places. It’s gospel for the streets. Not just for only church. It’s been long I started doing music… like 2003. It has been gospel/moral all through; gospel hip-hop, gospel dancehall, I have not deviated.

Do you feel you are doing a music genre that you are naturally good at or have the calling? Most artists would want to do the pure secular or commercial music…

Let me put it this way. Number one, it’s a calling. Number two, you can’t be doing something and you would be begging for food to eat. So, that’s why I’m putting it on streaming platforms. The information we have now you know is to tap into it and see what you can get out of it.

So, you are comfortable doing gospel songs?

I’m comfortable doing gospel music. And like I said, maybe the Nigerian music industry would later understand me. Tomorrow if I start singing love song they might think I have deviated. I have done a beautiful love song for my wife on my wedding day but I didn’t promote it. I just kept it aside. I want to redo it again. I didn’t really want to come out with that kind of song and later come with gospel music…The message is what matters to me. Let me like classify it with the Timi Dakolo kind of song (soul music). I just want to come with more of gospel songs first so to know that ‘ok this’ where I belong first of all’.

We have seen artistes come and go, including gospel artists, secular artists; do you think you are here to stay?

Before it took me this time, there have been a lot of challenges I have been through. And part of the challenges trying to push myself, seeking sponsors, believing in God, and in the long run you are still pushing and not giving up. So I don’t think I can just come and go like that. Not just coming to stay I’m coming to even leave a legacy. Like the secular wards are good in doing that but the gospel ward, we are lacking behind. Few of them are trying to do that. That’s why the gospel music is fading away. Because when some of them rise up they don’t raise others. They remain there and just want to take all the glory. So who do you look up to when you are now going down? So, I’m not just rising up, I’m coming up to also raise others so that the gospel music will spread more and more gospel artists will be everywhere. Because in a situation where you know we go to weddings and they are playing secular songs but the wedding was done in the church. Why can’t we have good gospel jams that will keep the couple dancing? Like danceable gospel music…

Aside gospel music what else do you do?

I do comedy skits. I started with doing Mc and comedy. Anchoring events, organize kiddies parties. I was doing that with music, before I left the music scene for some time. Until I had to go back to God and asked ‘where is really my place?’ And God said ‘go back to that music’. That happened last year; it has happened before. Again and again some people have told me go back to music. I still do skits. I have done a couple on my social media pages and which I will still keep doing.

Can you tell me a bit of your background, growing up?

I was born in Delta State, Sapele. I did my primary school in Sapele. I now moved to Port Harcourt I did my secondary school there. I attended like three secondary schools. I lost my dad when I was in JSS 3. I lost my mum when I completed a programme – Computer Science – at Auchi Polytechnic 2012-2013. It has been God all through.      

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