Born With A Music “staff”
My dad was a professional musician for many years. He used to be in the same band with Majek Fashek; this should give you an idea of my father’s love for music. He loved listening to Elvis Presley, and because he wanted one of his children to also be a musician, he named me Elvis after Elvis Presley. I didn’t know this was the origin of my name until years later when my dad sat me down and explained this to me. After the explanation, I began to feel that this was why I loved music so much and even got into it at a very young age.
In primary school, when my classmates would say, “I want to be a doctor” or “I want to be a lawyer”, I would say, “I want to be a musician”. People were surprised when they heard me say this. It sounded odd.
From my primary school days, I was already going to the studio. Of course, my dad sponsored my first set of songs. He kept encouraging me to record more songs and was also willing to sponsor a video no matter the cost. My dad was quite wealthy, so money was never a problem. He would often tell me, “Money is not the problem.” Those words laid the foundation for the burning desire for fame which had a strong hold on me years later.
…Not A Nightingale Yet Apt With Melody
My voice was not the best when it came to singing, but I was really good with rhymes, so I got into rap music. I could rap and play the guitar as well, so I easily attracted people. My dad bought me two guitars and he taught me the piano. Simply put, music was my life.
In junior secondary school, I would go to the studio as soon as I got home. This happened almost everyday. I often came back home very late from the studio. I remember coming home the next morning one time (I didn’t return home the previous night), because I went for a show. I got to know, meet and talk with some popular musicians due to these exposures.
I had that much freedom also because of the issues in my family. My parents quarreled a lot and my dad was not always at home. Even though my mum was usually the one at home, it seemed she was engrossed in her disputes with my dad than my late nights. In fact, she barely even noticed.
My Bane: School
In my JS3, I had a conversation with a popular Nigerian musician. He gave me the contact information of a Nigerian rapper, because I asked him for it. I told him I would love to do a song with this rapper, he was my ‘idol’ then. It was around this time that I began to loose interest in school, because I saw my studies as the only hindrance. I couldn’t just carry my studies and music along. I really wanted to drop out of school to chase my music dream at the time.
“I will stop sponsoring your music!”, my dad threatened when he noticed my sudden disinterest in school. Even though my dad was willing to support me, he was only willing to the extent that it would not affect my education. This made me dislike him for a very long time and because I was quite young, I had to succumb to my dad’s policy. My manager at the time, considering my age, also advised me to finish my studies first. I was just too young to make independent decisions. The frustration I felt from this set of events fuelled the passion for fame even more. I was determined to “make it” at all cost.
Did Old Things Really Pass Away?
Towards the end of my secondary education, I got born again. I began reading my Bible and Christian books. I was even given the post of the chapel prefect and began talking to my classmates about God. All of this made me change from the filthy songs I composed to gospel music. I started composing Christian songs. This continued up until my first year in the University.
However, I was soon to realize that even though I was a ‘gospel artiste,’ I still had the idol of fame in my heart. Looking back, I really thank God for revealing this to me because I would probably have continued, thinking I was in God’s will, not knowing I was just swallowed up in my own selfish ambitions, but in a ‘christianized‘ way. I believe many Christian musicians make the same mistake today. I personally know some who sing Christian songs just because they want their congregation to give them a platform or support them financially. I believe this is the reason why many so-called Christian songs of today provide mainly entertainment, rather than minister the spirit, words and heart of God to listeners. We are called to worship Him in Spirit and in truth, not to blend with the world.
An acquaintance of mine who works at a radio station as an OAP (on air personality) played my music a lot on the radio. I taught his daughter how to play the guitar, so he did that for me as a favour. As a result, people kept telling me how they heard my song on the radio. My dad made up his mind to sponsor the video of the song. This was still during my first year in the University. By this time I was really engrossed in chasing the music dream. Looking back at this whole phase, I have learnt that the fact that one seems to be making ‘progress’ in something, doesn’t necessarily mean God approves of it completely. This brings me to the last part of this testimony.
“…How Can It Be Bad If It Is Christian Music?”
Still in my first year, I was sitting at the cafeteria in my school one day when a female approached me. Since I was with my guitar, we talked about music for a while. I’ll never forget the things she said. She made it clear to me that I should focus on “what God wants for me”, because I had asked her if it was wrong to compose certain kinds of songs. Till today, I still remember that advice.
After our conversation, she invited me to where she worshipped – God’s Lighthouse. I did not come till weeks later when another member of the church brought me to the meeting. It was a Wednesday meeting and though I did not stay till the end of the meeting that day, I returned the following Sunday. On this particular Sunday, as the pastor of the congregation was teaching, I got up to leave the auditorium. As I stood up, very strangely, the Pastor asked me pointedly to stay until the end of the meeting. After serious mind struggles, I stayed back till the meeting ended.
Each time I remember this event, I’m grateful to God that I stayed back, because after the meeting, the Pastor and two people from the prayer team prayed for me. The two of them gave me prophetic words about my music pursuit at the time. I was surprised and wondered how they could know about my music life, as they’ve never known or heard about me before.
Now, from the teachings by pastor in church, the life testimonies of some musically inclined brethren and the repeated counsel of my shepherd (the leader I’m directly under who cares for me), I understand that it’s possible for something not to be a sin in itself, but it can be a serious distraction, since that’s not exactly what the Lord wants you to do at the time.
It’s best to find out what God is saying specifically to you, rather than argue about whether it is a sin or not; because it could just end up being a dead work, or a fruitless activity.
Delivered From Self-Delusion
From the prophetic words I received, I understood I was not exactly in God’s will. I was really confused because I thought I was in His will all the while. I doubted the prophetic words given to me for some time but as I kept attending meetings, hearing the teachings from Scriptures and testimonies of other people’s deliverance from idolatry, I was convinced. I began to hear the Holy Spirit myself and He began to show me the state of my heart which needed to change, and with time, it began to change a whole lot. The more I got closer to Jesus, the more I saw how defiled my heart was and the more I was willing to let go, and surrender my all to him.
One of the things which convinced me that I did not quite understand or know how to worship God in Spirit and in truth was the way people in my church group (God’s Lighthouse) worshipped. At the time I came, there were no musical instruments, but the Holy Spirit moved so mightily when they worshipped as I hadn’t seen elsewhere. People would be on the floor, crying, worshipping in total abandon and sincerity. There would be prophetic leadings, experiences and words from interactions with the heavenly family. The manifest presence of God would be literally palpable. This form of total worship would happen to me as well and I was surprised that such things could happen consistently even without musical instruments. I had always thought musical instruments were compulsory for worship. I mean, the sound had to be good.
I realized that I barely knew the God I wanted to lead others to worship through my songs. I wanted to be out there, make a name, etc.
I had to stop all the plans I had made musically, knowing they were mine and not God’s. I did not go on with the music video, and I broke out from the music group I was in. Until now, they still don’t understand why I would do such a thing. They really needed me in the group.
I was not forced by anyone to stop all of that; I just knew in my heart that I must first learn from God, about God, and about true worship if I would ever be able to lead people into worship. Many Christian artistes don’t understand this. I didn’t too. It’s not about knowing a few Bible passages, and being able to make nice sounds with sentences referred from Scriptures. There’s so much more!
“You made a mistake pausing on those activities!”, some people began to say to me. However, seeing the changes that have occurred in my life since then, I know I made the right decision. I now worship God and pray sincerely, many times even in tears with my guitar, for hours which was something I could not do in the past. Almost every single time I worship, the Holy Spirit gives me utterance to compose new songs. I’ve also led young people like me to the Lord. I also got to understand that some of the songs I used to think were okay because they have the tag ‘Christian music’ are actually from a place of idolatry rather than intimacy.
I really thank God for my life because many Christian musicians are in the same trap I was in, thinking they are pleasing God when they are not. Therefore, it is vital to be surrounded by brethren who are dead to the idol of fame which is now prevalent in most Christian youths of today. This was what helped me – the right company, and constant exposure to God’s words as taught in my church group.
If it turns out that I have a calling to music (as He’ll reveal as I continue with Him), I know He’ll help me to be able to distinguish between true worship and self-exaltation, and to remain in the former, as I keep walking humbly with Him.
May God be praised forever.
-Bro. E. S.
© God’s Lighthouse 2020.