Unbroken is one of the most polished and uplifting gospel albums of 2022…
By Augustina John
The story behind the recent Gospel debut of Nigerian song bird, Waje, is not one that needs belabouring. The fact, however, remains, that having had almost two decades of continued relevance in the world of secular music, releasing a Gospel debut would certainly give rise to questions. Since the release of the album, there’s been series of positive commendations and questions from many. Some of these questions can be found in this review of the album. In this exclusive interview, Waje unveils her stand as regards the album and what her next step is.
Her answers are quite easy to comprehend. Commendably, Waje has communicated her stand in the simplest way possible. Unbroken is a 19-year career dream come through.
For some of our readers across Africa who aren’t quite acquainted with you, can you tell us about yourself and your journey so far in the music industry?
Waje is a singer, song writer, actor, producer and content creator from Nigeria with almost two decades of experience, multiple awards and an admirable music catalogue including five albums. She is simply the girl next door.
How did the name, “Waje,” come about? What inspired it?
This story is long, but let’s just say one of my very first mentors created an acronym, Words Aren’t Just Enough, to express my vocal prowess, and, coincidentally, it also fit with the pronunciation of my birth name.
After a full career in secular music, why Gospel now?
I have always wanted to make a gospel album through my 19-year career, as you may know, I am a Christian and am never shy to declare or share my faith. Why now? Let’s just say it was time and all the people I needed to make it happen came through.
Do you think this is a trend? Secular artiste now transitioning to gospel. And what seems to be the inspiration for this?
No I don’t think it is a trend. I don’t really believe in tags. Are there Secular bread or Gospel bread, or secular tomatoes and gospel tomatoes? I believe everyone’s journey is different as we all have individual purpose as designed by God, but I am sure God will use whom/what he qualifies to pass a message, as he is God Alone.
Are you fully transitioning to Gospel, or would you be doing it alongside secular music?
I am not a gospel artist or a secular artist. I am an artist who is a witness of God’s grace, love and mercy! This gift I have and the light I carry will shine through. If you run through my catalogue, you would notice I am particular about keeping clean lyrics, and that won’t change. Yes, I will be more intentional going forward, but I will still sing folk stories songs, love songs, inspirational songs, worship songs and more.
Judging from past incidents, it’s more likely to find folks who started in the church abandoning Gospel music and push for success as secular artistes, and not the reverse. Is there a reason for this? Is the Church not accommodating these budding talents? Are there no rooms to flourish as Gospel artistes in Nigeria?
There is room for every talent to flourish. There are many successful artistes around the world who sing gospel songs. Many in Nigeria, too. Capacity, self-development and adequate branding and marketing is required irrespective of genre of music.
Regarding the album, Unbroken, what’s the story behind it? And how long did it take you to put it together?
Unbroken is a witness’s testimony of God’s love, Grace and Mercy, and how that have kept me unbroken. We recorded this through 2021/2022.
Personally, I enjoyed listening to the album, and right before I penned the review for Afrocritik, I could feel spirit-laced lyrics and passion. My favourite song on this album is “God Alone,” and the lines that say, “If this body is losing hold of you, keep me in your presence. There’s nowhere else, I’ll rather be there, in your presence.” These lines communicate the frailty of the human soul and body as it regards pursuing and hosting God. Furthermore, it clearly articulates that if these weaknesses arise, God can still hold us in his presence. How did you come about the lyrics for the entire album?
This particular song was written by my manager, @thealexyangs, who also doubles as Song Writer and A&R for me. I also wrote with @anendlessocean, @deejay_klem. They make up the writers of the Unbroken album.
What’s your goal for this album?
That the message it carries heals, delivers, and uplifts the listener’s faith in God. That it brings you to a place of worship in awe of my saviour.
How’s been the reception so far? Do you see more promise being a Gospel artiste?
It’s been amazing, and the testimonies have been humbling, too. Again, with the tags. I hold on to the promises of God alone, that his thoughts for me are of good and not evil.
Has there been any support from other Gospel artistes, or the industry so far?
Yes, but definitely could be waaaaay more, but I understand everyone is connecting with the songs differently, and maybe some are still testing the spirit behind this album.
Is there anything else you would like people to know regarding this phase?
This is not a phase. This is a girl who is witnessing about God’s love that keeps her Unbroken.
Can you name your favourite gospel artistes in Africa? Who are those that inspire you?
Sinach, Mercy Chinwo, Dunsin Oyekan, Nathaniel Bassey, and so many more.
You put out a 12-minute video in 2019. You were at a financial crossroad, and you thought of exiting the music scene. How has it been since then, three years on?
Well I have had it difficult with management through my music career. There have been some awesome moments and some down moments, but the consistency was lacking. This is what led to financial losses. But I believe my new management and I have been able to create better structures that enable me be so much more.
What do you have to say to your fans and critics who have been following the Waje brand from the very beginning?
Thank you all for always supporting me, staying with me and continuing to support me as I am starting again. The future is going to be even brighter.