Frontline gospel artist, Frank Edwards, has opened up on why many brands do not use gospel musicians as ambassadors, as we as why many young folks prefers to perform secular songs even those who started from church.
Frank Edwards said that gospel singers are into music ministry and not music industry as most see it, and until someone is able to mark out the difference, they may continue to encounter challenges.
In an interview with Punch the musician said, “Firstly, you have to understand that the industry and ministry is not the same thing. Gospel music is a ministry, the other one is an industry, so it functions fully like that.
“The gospel ministry is totally different from the secular industry even though you might say that there is a business side of it which makes it similar. But in gospel ministry, the business aspect of it is never the focus.
“I tell people that if you want to make money, don’t do gospel music; you would have a lot of issues. Gospel music means one is reaching out to people through music; the others are strictly entertainment or at least 70-80 per cent entertainment.
“The company would rather give the opportunity to musicians who sing songs that all religions, including Christians, would dance to, either at a party or in a club. Because the companies are looking for numbers, they would give the brand ambassadorship to someone who everybody loves their music.
“If the companies give it to gospel singers like me, people who don’t listen to gospel would probably not pay attention. Although I’m a brand ambassador, it is not everything that one must do as a gospel artiste. When you are not getting endorsements, think of how many souls you music has healed– that’s your reward.
Speaking on many young artists who started from church but opt for secular than gospel, Frank Edwards said, “This is why I do some things as a young gospel artiste. I have met a lot of youths who have opined that gospel singers are broke people. But one can’t say that, if as a gospel act, one is still trying to operate with the industry’s law– it won’t work.
“So, one would be frustrated because android software cannot work on an IOS device. If one is in the ministry and one applies industry rules, one would struggle or be frustrated but if one abides by the rules and laws of God, one would see things works for one without stress.
“I’m a gospel music minister and I’m not going to change anytime. I’m not broke or hungry and I didn’t have to cut corners. God blessed me because I focused on everything that I should focus on and He added everything that He promised me. As a matter of fact, some people wanted me to compromise.
“They made me offers and promises but God told me if I ignored them, He would give me double of everything they promised me. Most of the things I do is to send signals to people who think that gospel musicians are hungry people. It is not true. For example, I don’t really drive because I’m always on assignments but I love cars and I love to help people. I buy any car that I like. I don’t want to call myself a philanthropist because I’m much more than that and I’m not just doing it because I have money to do it; I love to help people. We are not hungry people. God always brings vision helpers to make the work easier.
“If Pastor Oyakhilome didn’t teach me some things, I would probably be struggling now. I have studied some things about the music industry and I would still go to Harvard Business School to study more. Some gospel singers hawking their CDs at bus stops may not have a business recording a song yet but rather need some basic training and foundation to excel. As a gospel singer, one must get it right and that’s a lot of work.
“If one’s music must be on demand, it must be meeting a need. When people want to worship, need encouragement, are down, broken or going through tough phases, they must find healing and solution in one’s music. But one needs to have content, to have studied and been in a place of prayer for one’s songs to have such power on them. Alcohol would not give one that. Gospel music is not about shouting and entertaining, the words one says matter but secular songs are all mostly about the rhythm.
“As a matter of fact, when people need real healing and solution, they come to gospel music. Imagine if one is sacked at work, or has house rent issues, I bet the person wouldn’t get home and start dancing to beats; the person would rather go and look for music that would elevate the spirit. When real needs arise, then one would see the importance of gospel music. Frankly speaking, it wasn’t always rosy for me too. I had financial challenges but it passed because I was focused and I chose to stay.”