Evangelist Chuks Chidube is one of Nigeria’s finest gospel artistes. With an experience in the music industry spanning three decades, his praise medley, ‘This kind God’, sold millions of copies round the world. The father of three who recently released a new album spoke to SAMUEL ABULUDE on his experience and how he was able to overcome suicide attempts.
What have been the major challenges in 3 decades of music?
It has been 31 years of holding tight unto God, long years of pursuing one’s calling and thirty-one years of striving in a discouraging industry. Most times, you find just few Christian marketers, with even the so-called believers compromising. The secular world say they prefer a song that doesn’t have too much of Jesus in it and more of an inspirational song. For me, the most important thing is the marketers accepting your work and investing in it. I was in the music industry for about six years before I came out with my first album. It was tough at the beginning but it is getting better now.
What are you doing to promote gospel music in the country?
The impact gospel music is making now is actually God pulling man to himself. There is something in every man that desires God though unbelievers are rebelling against their maker. However gospel music is gaining grounds because many people are accepting the importance of God in their daily lives. So, the gospel industry has gone higher, its vocal delivery is equally soaring as its marketing too. So, it’s all about God increasing our chances and circle of influence too and people are being drawn to God and accepting Him like never before. My new album is titled, ‘I don come again’. My original style is actually highlife but ever since we came into the industry I started doing other types of songs.
Did you have any inkling that your music would be a hit?
This kind God was my 16th album; the first was in 1989. This kind God came out 20 years later and in two weeks it had become an international hit. I believe that God wanted to show that he can lead anybody. If I have slept on the floor for two years and if I had once ridden Okada, then I believe there is nothing too difficult for him to do. It is all about God and I try to obey him always. He has shown himself in many ways and the story has never been the same.
What have you been doing since your first album in 1989?
I am not simply into music alone. I engage in other fruitful endeavours. I have been and am a marriage counsellor, motivational speaker, Christian comedian, song leader, marketer, author and I run a studio, whichever is needed. I never waited for music to take care of my bills though music is the major work I do.
How was your growing up years?
My parents had so much influence on my life. As at 1974, I was already playing in the music band in primary school. I discovered my musical talent at an early stage in life but I never knew it would take centre stage as it is doing now in my life. I gave my life to Jesus even before I left my parent’s house.
How would you compare our music industry 20 years ago to the present?
The quality was very poor then. The acceptance is higher now. When I told my people in 1989 that I wanted to do gospel music, they told me I was on my own. That was the year I recorded my first album. Though I was into business then, they said should I lose my money it would be my own headache because musicians then were seen as unserious people. But today the story is different as musicians can celebrate their whole life on securing a hit track that can bring them millions in paycheck. So, music today surpasses what we had 20 years ago; indeed, they are millions of miles apart.
The song, ‘This Kind God’ that gave you relevance, how did it come about?
I heard the song in Cameroun, repackaged it and sang it in Nigeria. I am however still searching for the main person that wrote the song because I want to settle him for the song.
You have performed in The Experience several times; can you share your experience there with us?
It was an exposure to a worldwide ministry, even as we have the privilege of sharing the stage with foreign gospel singers. Nigeria has amazing artistes, and this makes me to work harder. Sharing the same stage with such great artistes is a privilege.
Do you see yourself doing any music with secular artists?
I can sing to bless them but I don’t see myself doing collaboration with them because light and darkness have nothing in common, though some people do. But I really love them and some are even my friends but I can’t do collabos with them.
How do you relate all these with your family?
My immediate families are in support of what I do unlike before, because success has no enemy. I see myself devoting 75 percent of my time to music and the rest to marriage counseling or even 50-50.
What is the most remarkable day of your life?
The day I got born again and day I got married. I got born again on April 15, 1984 and wedded on April 4, 1998.
What is your advice to upcoming musicians looking up to you?
I would advise them to work hard. They should be the best they can and leave the rest to God. They must also be ready to work hard and push their brands, keep practising something new and exploring greater things. Make sure you are called because if you are not called, it is going to be a fruitless effort. Live holy and wait on God’s time.
What is your philosophy of life?
In all things give thanks to God and wait for your turn, and don’t let tomorrow’s headache bother you today. That is what makes me look younger than my age. In life’s challenges, never stop the best in you, as this would help you overcome whatever challenges you are bound to face.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I believe my brand would have gone higher because I am trying to push through internet sales and so on. It’s not too good that up to 50 percent of those who know my songs don’t know me, and I am trying to win more souls into the body of Christ. Again, I am fulfilled and I like what I am doing. Hold unto God because the man you are seeing right now considered suicide twice though I wasn’t born again, but God held me back. The frustration was too much. I know what I have in me; but to God be the glory, as I can say he has been faithful. (Leadership)