The inspiring story of Delta born gospel crooner, Josephine Oberiko, prove that age is not a barrier to achievement of dreams.
Although in her 50s, Josephine has not allowed her lifelong dream die, despite the upheaval she has faced in the past. Her love for God has only grown and her relationship with Him stronger.
ENCOMIUM Weekly’s Michael Nwokike had a chat with the singer, who though is a Delta indigene, was born and bred in Ondo state.
What led you into gospel music?
I want to pass a message, you can pass a message through music. Also I love praising God. I love Him. I have a covenant with God that if He keeps my life to how old I am now (I’m in my 50s), I will dedicate my life to Him. So, that’s exactly what I am doing now.
That means you must have a strong relationship with God?
Yes, I have had a long walk with God as I have gone through so many ups and downs. At some point, I derailed from Jehovah Witnesses and went to other churches because I married someone of another belief. I never had a smooth youth and marriage. The covenant between me and Him is that if He sees me through, for the rest of my life, I will praise Him.
How long have you been doing music?
I have loved music, from childhood. But due to my background in Jehovah Witness, I have not really been able to express myself.
How did that hinder you, is it that you don’t sing?
We do. We praise Jehovah, but the way we do it is different. For instance, most people pluralize God when praising Him, in Yoruba they say ‘eyin’, but we don’t believe in that.
What is the particular message you are trying to pass across through your music?
The message is that I want people to know that they can praise Jehovah without saying God should kill my enemy, destroy your enemy. These days, what we hear on most gospel songs is kill them, destroy them. If you listen to my songs, you won’t hear anything like that.
Even the Bible says we should pray for our enemies. I want people to praise and worship God and be close to Him.
Do you have a background in music?
Yes, I’ve been in the choir at Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) when I derailed from Jehovah Witness. I was the Iyakori, the choir mistress. But now, I’m back to Jehovah Witness.
Would you say someone needs to have a special calling before going into gospel music or the person just needs to have the talent and passion for it?
I think you need to have passion. If you can write, you can sing, which means you have the talent, you can do it.
What makes your style different from other gospel musicians?
Like I said, I don’t believe in cursing. There’s no where I said God should blind my enemies, or kill them or destroy them. I believe in pure praise and worship. In all areas of life and every situation, we should praise Him.
Tell us about your album?
This is my first album and I’m launching it soon. All the tracks on the album are about praise and worship. God enjoys being appreciated.
Tell us about the tracks and the story behind each of them?
The first track is entitled It will never be the same. If you have God, and you believe Him, things will never be the same, things will definitely change for the better. The second one is Everlasting Life. Everything I have, all the things I hold dear are not mine, God used them to beautify my life.
I’ve realized that when God blesses people, they tend to forget the past. I asked God to always make me remember the past, so I don’t forget Him. Also, whoever believes in Jesus Christ will have everlasting life.
The third one is Praise Jehovah, it’s a Yoruba medley which is e fiyin fun Jehovah in Yoruba. I combined other songs that Yoruba people are familiar with. The fourth one is Lord don’t let me fail, I want to be your bride. When my way is dark, when my faith is weak, hold me by my hand.
Sometimes when we are in tribulation, you forget that God answered your prayers before. So, that’s why I say Lord, don’t let me fail. The last one is I will praise You, Lord. With every breath that I take, with everything that I do.
An album as powerful as this should be readily available to people for the growth of their faith. So, when will it be launched?
Tentatively, we are looking at early November. We are trying to put a lot of things in place and working seriously.
Whatever the mind can conceive, you can achieve. What’s your dream for this album?
The message of this album cuts across the world, so I see this album going international, because I did it not just for local consumption, but for the world. The message is not for Nigeria alone, or for Africa alone, it’s for the world.