There has always been a connection between gospel and secular music and some of the most popular Nigerian artists started from the church choir before making a name for themselves in secular music.
Stargist.com presents 12 Nigerian musicians who made it in mainstream music after leaving the church.
Simisola started singing and dancing in her early teens as a member of both the teen church choir (at Daystar Christian Centre, Lagos NG) and few years back, she decided to go secular and has since been making waves in the music industry.
The gifted singer began singing gospel tunes at the Word of Faith Church, Benin. Once she reportedly sang gospel tunes to the delight of the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa of Church of God misson Int. As an undergraduate at University of Nigeria Nsukka, Waje focused on her musical works such as school concerts and fellowships. Her major break came in 2008, when she featured in the P-Square hit track titled “Do Me.”
3. J Martins
J Martins caught the music bug from his mother who was a choir mistress. He was in the church choir and even produced for some gospel singers. During his undergraduate days at Institute of Management Technology, Enugu, the music act was involved in production and had a production company named Glorious Praise. Since he launched into the secular industry, he has had major collaborations with artistes like PSquare, Timaya, Waje and Youssou N’dour.
Omawumi had been known to be a playful, energetic, intelligent and an extremely talented child while growing up. She was a lead vocalist in the children’s choir of Foursquare Gospel Church in Warri at the age of 8.
Kedike Crooner, Chidinma Ekile was a chorister at the Foursquare Gospel Church prior to winning Project Fame West Africa in 2010.
6. Wande Coal
The hip hop act began singing in the teenage choir in church alongside his friend, Chuddy K. Both singers were in a boy band called Salvation Boiz. Wande got his break in the Nigerian entertainment industry as a dancer. He continued improving on his vocal skills and got signed to Don Jazzy’s Mo’ Hits Records in 2006 which he self years later.
The Starboy began singing at the age of 11 in church with the stage name ‘Lil Prinz’ before rebranding to ‘Wizkid’ in 2006; and ever since, he has been able to make a name for himself in the industry. He got his major break into the music industry in 2010 with the hit singles ‘Holla At Your Boy,’ ‘Tease Me,’ and ‘Don’t Dull’ and has grown to international level.
The Bayelsa singer began from the church, before becoming a backup singer for Eedris Abdulkareem for three years before exploring my music career. Timaya’s solo career began in 2006 with the release of “Dem Mama”, which was met with rave reviews and also appeared on his debut album, True Story released the following year. His second album Gift and Grace was released in 2008. He currently has 3 albums and has won several music awards.
The mother of the music duo, Josephine Okoye, was a pastor in her own church Friends Of Jesus Catholic Prayer Ministry; when she started her ministry, Paul and Peter were her choristers. She also wanted Paul to be pastor and Peter a lawyer. In 2001, they participated in a talent hunt show at the University of Abuja with their debut track ‘Kolo’, they emerged winners and went on to pursue their music career.
The music star used to sing in his children’s choir in church and became the choirmaster at age 5. He got his major music break after winning the MTN Project Fame Competition in 2008 and went on to release hits like ‘Kukere’ and ‘Your waist’.
11. Banky W
Wellington was born in the United States to Nigerian parents, but the family moved back to Lagos when he was five years old where he began singing in his church choir at the age of 8.
12. Dare Art Alade
Dare Art Alade popular called Darey was born into a family of performers like his father. He joined the band wagon at 8, and even led the choir in school.
He was also a member of the choir of the Cathedral Church of Christ and took lessons at the Musical Society of Nigeria.