His big break came when he released the hit gospel song Welu Welu ten years ago. Today, Sammie Okposo has changed the face of gospel music and is now rated in the same breath as top secular musicians. The Niger Delta prince who tied the knots last year with his beau recently released his fourth album entitled The Statement. In this chat at the Glo Ambassador’s office in Surulere, Lagos, he spoke about his marital life, music and his political affiliations among other things.
QUITE a handful of people don’t even know you have a new album out, please can you tell us about it?
Are you in this country at all? The Statement is a double CD in one pack album with 12 tracks apiece. I decided to do that to mark my 10 years in the industry. I recorded this time with my 15 man band known as the X Generation. We recorded both in analogy and digital. Between December and now, the two videos we are promoting namely Jawa Chineke and Naija Dey Bam has been generating impressing reviews. My last album was released four years ago and the feedback was that it was the wait. I was busy performing all through December and didn’t have enough but my team and I are fully poised to embark on a promotion campaign to push it locally and globally. It took four years because I believe one needs to give an album enough time before coming out with a new one.
Ten years in the music industry; would you say your music has evolved?
Yes I have evolved and have gone through different stages. At a point I was just making music for church people but I have passed that stage now. I do good music that everybody can appreciate. I had to ask myself what gospel means and I saw it meant good news. I realised that I didn’t need to shove the name Jesus or the Holy Ghost down the throats of people before I can give people good news. Addressing issues with my song such as crime, drugs and other vices is also good news. I realised that if my music is only affecting people who go to church then I have failed. I strive to do something of quality so that even if you don’t agree with what I am saying yet, you won’t be able to ignore it.
What is your present relationship with Globacom Nigeria?
By God’s grace I am still a Glo ambassador. My contract is still very valid. I am honoured to be the first gospel artiste to be so endorsed by a big company of such nature. The endorsement came when I was just working hard. I never saw it coming.
What is your present relationship with Pastor Paul Adefarasin’s House On The Rock?
House On The Rock is my church and my home. I was the Music Director for 12 years. But like every progressive thing in life, It got to a point that my music career became more demanding. Moreover I didn’t want a situation where the music department will be dependent on me and so we brought somebody new on board. At the moment I still do special songs with the choir once in a while and I also often lead the church in praise and worship sessions especially during combine services. But when my work needs to take me out, I move and there is no problem about it. We have a perfect understanding.
Can you tell us about the music business of Sammie Okposo?
Well, I run Zamaar Entertainment which is the platform from which my albums are all released. Zamaar is a Greek word derived from the Bible meaning worship. We offer services such as music and video production (including jingles), sound reinforcement, entertainment consulatancy, rental of rehearsal studios and musical equipments etc. It is a complete commercial enterprise with office and staff. We produced the Goodluck/Sambo campaign jingle and we did similar thing for Gov. Uduaghan of Delta State. Politics, so to speak will take my time till the election period.
You must be making big money from politics?
Well I won’t reveal what I charge but not all of the services I have rendered to politicians are paid for. Some of them I did for the goodwill which I derived from the association. It translates to public relation for me. I may not reap the fruits now until the future when it will come back and reward me big time. I have witnessed this in time past. For instance, the Goodluck/ Sambo campaign jingle was done for free except the product fees. We were approached by the opposition with big money but I turned them down because my reputation was at stake.
You sound like a politician already, do you have intentions of joining politics?
(Laughs) well the earlier people like myself start joining politics the better. When young people start joining politics, then elder statesmen will not make comments that young people don’t have anything to offer. If it gets to a point where I will be needed to serve whether at the state or federal level, I would not hesitate. I am using the medium to encourage all Nigerians to vote because it is a weapon in our hands. In time past, I have paid little attention to voting and election but this is an age we can’t afford to sit down and look. Don’t be surprised if I go into politics tomorrow because I am preparing for it. You can watch a game of Ludo being played but until it gets to your turn, you can’t do anything.
As a husband now and with your busy schedule, how do you provide time for your wife…
(Cuts in) That is the reason why one doesn’t have to rush into marriage regardless of pressure. For instance, my wife and I where on a 10-day holiday trip to London but only two days into the journey, a phone call from a client interrupted my plans. I jumped on the next available flight. If a man marries the wrong woman, both of them will frustrate each other. Women are like incubators, if you frustrate them and they cook it and serve it back to you….my God! But I thank God for the kind of wife he has given me. All the tabloids kept writing all manner of stuffs about me dating that one and doing this but I kept quiet. It got to a point when it was disturbing, I thought of marrying somebody to silence them. But on second thought, I asked myself if I was marrying for people or myself. Thank God for good people around me and good counsel which guided me until I met my wife. I knew she was the reason why I had waited! I found her and I have seen favour from different corners. Now my wife decides with me which engagement I honour or which one I shouldn’t and nothing takes the time I have to spend with her.
You had a daughter before marriage, how does your wife relate with her?
My daughter has two mothers; her mother and my wife. They both have a fantastic relationship. In the first place, I wouldn’t get married to a woman who wouldn’t accept my daughter. In fact, sometimes my daughter has to pass through my wife to get things from me. She even calls her mummy. There is absolute no problem. The same thing goes for the mother of my daughter, we are friends and everybody respects each other and knows the boundaries.
What advice do you have for a lot of young gospel artistes looking up to you?
I get mails from this set of people regularly and my advice for them is simple. One thing I tell those who say they want to be like me is that they can never be like me. I don’t mean that in rude terms but God has only created one of a type. Be inspired by me and mimic me if you like but discover your own identity. Once you have chosen your pace, and then run in your lane. Give it your best shot but be patient. However, if music is not your passion, please leave it. I didn’t get here in one day. There were times I made demo for N20 or nothing. It was passion that sustained me.