His new album No Problem (No Lele) may be filled with gospel songs and messages and he may be busy wining and dining with gospel artistes, but Michael Adekunle Oloyede better known as Dekunle Fuji is tired of being seen as a gospel artiste. The University of Lagos theatre Arts graduate who employs Fuji music; its street parlance, attitude and lore in his otherwise bible-inspired music has been circulating gospel circles for over a decade, surviving initial criticisms to become an established act with his own niche and growing followership. With a clientele that revolves round the church-going public, and mentorship from Taiwo Odukoya and his late wife Bimbo, it came as a shock when the bearded actor-singer told me ‘I’m tired of being seen as a gospel artiste’.
‘Can I quote you?’ asked the reporter.
‘Yes of course’, he said. ‘After all, there are Christians who are bankers, why don’t we call them gospel bankers?’
It is interesting that since the past few months, there have been attempts by some of Nigeria’s finest gospel artistes to redirect their public images. Rather than being seen as ‘gospel’, they’d rather be perceived as Christians playing a particular type of music. Dekunle Fuji is not alone in this group. Rapper Bouqui who worships with Daystar Christian Church continues to insist she’s a Christian who happens to be a rapper. Same for Segun Obe who sources say is completely overhauling his image, seeking to appeal to a wider audience instead of conventional church-goers alone.
The idea, say pundits, is ‘to make sure the message reaches the real targets – those outside the church who need to be saved’.
‘If everybody keeps seeing us as gospel and we are restricted to the church, where most people are believed to have heard about Jesus, how are we the supposed to win more souls? We should be the ones playing the biggest concerts, jamming with so-called secular artistes and competing with them for fans’ said a top gospel artiste who begged for anonymity. He admits he’s already working on a formula that’ll stop fans from seeing him as ‘gospel’.
If the formula works, many more ‘gospel’ acts may join the rush to dump the toga. For, most awards have very few categories for ‘gospel’ music, despite the genre having a huge market across the country. Then most radio stations only deem it fit to play overtly gospel songs on Sundays, the general worship day for Christians – a trend which is still better than the situation in the US where most gospel acts don’t even get any radio airplay. Best-selling rapper Kanye West has admitted he did the song ‘Jesus Walks’ because he discovered most songs with ‘Jesus’ on them never get played on American radio. He broke the jinx, joining performers like Kirk Franklin (who continues to blur the lines between secular and gospel) and Mary Mary in defying an unwritten tradition.
In Nigeria, all these may change even faster if, for example the next Sammie Okposo song wears a pop garb and can easily fit in the same category with, say, a new cut from D’Banj during a mainstream music awards. Or Psquare hitting the studios with Kenny St. Brown for a new song MTV base will find difficult to resist.
But the likes of Jeremiah Gyang and Infinity have already crossed that hurdle. Gyang (otherwise known as Callen), a tremendously gifted singer-producer has everyone-Christians, Muslims and non-believers- singing along to his hit ‘Na ba ka’, most times forgetting to remember the song and its singer are actually on a mission to ‘win souls for Christ’. Same for Infinity, who literally enslaved the entire nation in 2006 with their ground-breaking song and video ‘Olori Oko’.


  1. Seun Oremade Says:

    While they try to commercialise their music,these artists should realize they could lose the message and end up not “winning souls” with their songs.Real gospel musicians should stay true to their calling and not get carried away by the allure of wealth and fame all in the name of reaching out to a larger crowd. The Don Moens,Ron Kenolys and Panam Percy Pauls of this world still make money while staying true to the faith and the calling.

  2. i want to get connected to bouqui for a musical collaboration

  3. bouqui’s email

  4. they have a point,if we think deep abt this issue.but i hope they actually mean to do it d way they said they want to di it.God help them

  5. I’m actually skeptical about this though its a good initiative. In masking christianity and not show casing the message as it should be, the message of true christianity could be lost. I understand that there are various sets of people out there and the slow worship kind’a xtian songs may not minister to them, it pays to find a melody that will which is what I deduce is being coined. But in doing this, I pray that we all exercise caution and not get entangled with the things of this world so we christians still have a DISTINCT way of life which is the CHRIST LIFE

  6. BOUQUI, I’d love to be connected to you….plssssssssssssssss. I’m also an upcoming gospel singer, that needs a support just like you were supported before you got to this level.

  7. well keep it up.But who is prettier bouqui or sasha.

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  9. Victor Daniel Vyonku Says:

    Hey! Resonance as a group, why do you allow pride to take charge? Remember man never give any physical or spirtual reward, it’s only God that sees inwardly reward inwardly

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