MusicPersonality

TIME-OUT WITH JOE PRAIZE

May we meet you please?

“First of all, thank you for having me. My name is Joe Praiz and I am a gospel artiste. I will like to say I am a Music Minister by the Will of God just like Paul, an apostle by the Will of God. This is because the Will of God is the best compared to whatever desire a man has for his personal life. Music for me is the will of God and Joe Praiz is a Music Minister by the Will of God.”

What Is Your Full Name?

“It is Joseph OMO EFEGAYE PRAISE.”

Can We Take A Look Into Your Childhood?

“Yea, my childhood was beautiful. I grew up in the City of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria. I had my primary and secondary education in Benin after which I moved down to Lagos. I had my diploma education immediately I moved to Lagos and then proceeded to the University of Jos for my Bachelor’s degree in Social Works Administration. It is a course associated with Sociology; we as “social doctors” and “change agents” seek to ensure that people live together in peace. Someone like me is into advocacy and the education of people about unity, I talk people into living together as brothers and sisters considering the current happenings in Nigeria.”

How and When Did You Get Into Music?

“Well, there was no personal plan for music; it is something God brought me into. It is purely God’s own idea and I am happy about it. I started as a choir boy and I will like to say I love to be in the choir and attend rehearsals and all. It is a beautiful thing for me. People are aware that I do Background Vocals (BGV) for my Man Of God Rev Chris Oyakhilome as one of the lead singers. I was okay doing that until God gave me the opportunity through Christ Embassy (Believers Love World) and I thank God for everything.”

Can You Please Share Your Salvation Encounter With Christ?

“Wow! Beautiful Story . . . I have my salvation story on a website called wikisoso.com, a forum initiated by God through my Man Of God where people share their Salvation experiences. My story is titled Salvation Story based on Love not Fear. Reason being that, I got born again in 1991/92 after watching a movie called Burning Hell—an old movie that most people who gave their lives to Christ in the 80s watched. In the movie, I saw people in the burning fire crying and screaming but they were not burning up. It was an intense and scary site to me; it made me cry so much after seeing it because I was afraid of going to hell and passing through those sufferings. I started attending church service back after seeing the movie and I gave my life to Christ in my church back in Benin. However, when I joined Christ Embassy in 1998, my revelation began to change. I began to understand that God did not want me to give my life to Him out of fear but because of His love for me . . . “For God so loved the World . . . He gave His Only Son.” (John 3:16). Since I gave my life I have not looked back and it is over 20 years now”.

How Has Your Journey Through Gospel Music Been?

“Hmm, when I wanted to start music I asked God to give me songs that people will want to listen to in the morning. You know, songs that will set their day aright. Songs that will help people calm down after a long day’s work . . . the Bible says, “There is a spirit in man and the inspiration of the Almighty gives the spirit understanding” which has made me conclude that there is a space in man that seek relationship with the “Spiritual entities”. My kind of music refreshes, reinvigorates, renews, and all the re’s (smiles). Most of my songs are short, simple but straight to the point hitting the nail on the head. They hit your spirit, help people to love God more, and help men to continue to praise God irrespective of their circumstances.”

Can You Remember Your First Break in Music? How was it like?

“Ehrrrrm… I have been singing since 1993/94 because I was leading praise worship back in my church at Benin. I answer this question with the picture of when I first sang to a large audience, a new place. It was on a Sunday Service. Before that day, God had instructed me to start getting materials to prepare me. So I started buying albums of foreign artiste from America from a shop around the under-bridge area in Ikeja, I wish I locate the man now . . . I bought albums of artiste like Donnie McClurkin, Alvin Slaughter, and Ron Kenoly but I stumbled into one of Gary Oliver’s album and fell in love with him because I have the same voice texture as his. I started learning one of his songs called “Cast All Your Cares Upon Him” at home. About two weeks later during the rehearsal, we coincidentally started rehearsing the same song I had been learning (Uhhh! I feel God’s presence right now); God was arranging . . . He was setting me up for glory. A question was asked if anyone could take the lead of the song, my hand “flung up” and I cannot still explain how. I had never sang in that church before (November, 2001) but I was given the opportunity that day. This has made me to extend that gesture to people because you never know how talented people are until they are given the opportunity.”

What Are Your Challenges So Far?

“To be very honest with you, it is not money or financial issue. Nonetheless, I would not like to sound too different from others because everyone has money issues when it comes to music. The only difference is that I had set my priorities right before I set out to do music. I am on an errand; I am an errand boy as it were. God has sent me on a mission and He arranged for every financial detail to be taken care of. One challenge I had though was perfect timing to get myself groomed and prepared. I also did not like being around those who were not true to themselves and God sorted it out for me. Lastly, I will say that the fact that the media did not get to know about my “content” then was an issue, so there was no serious air-play. That also has been sorted by God as my songs are now being aired. “

Have You Been Asked To Encourage Financially Before Your Music Could Be Aired?

“Yes Of course. Well, it is not peculiar to Nigeria alone as one of my friends in Germany said. Even some of the big American artists had the same issues. That being said, I have told my friends in the media that if my music isn’t good enough, they should not play it regardless of our intimate relationship. I am not game when it comes to paying for my music to be aired. The truth is, no matter how much you give, if a song is not good it will not stand the test of time. The money paid will buy that time but the music will soon fade away.”

What Effort Are You Making Beyond the Church Platform to Encourage Young Up and Coming Artists?

“Last year, my team and I gave credit to God for using us to be a blessing to the Church of God and we are also committed to the Church. We are getting well accepted by the media and we have decided to see how we can through the media help those who for some reasons have left the church hoping to get famous on some platforms and continue their “Christian Life”. Unfortunately, many have not been able to return. Because of this, we created a portal so to say where we now try to extend a hand-of-fellowship to our brothers and sisters “over there” to enable them see the beauty of gospel music. We are out making the name of Jesus beautiful with the works that comes from or music, music videos, and content basically. For instance, when my studio was being fixed, it was done with the mind-set of making it a world class studio that will bring glory to God not a gospel studio. So when these works are seen by these people, they are made to reflect on their relationship with their God. We do not see them as outcast but as people who need their relationship with their Father restored. We are also making effort to ensure that those who are still in the church do not wander away. A platform called JASI (Joe-Praiz Artist Support Initiative) was created to that effect. This is a platform where we from time to time pick out young artists that are good, do a song for them free-of-charge, and help them promote it. This has been done for one person and we hope to continue once I am finished with the production of my 3rd album; we hope to do more and better.”

How Do You Make Money With Pirates Around?

“It has not been easy but in Nigeria, pirates sometimes are useful as they help to promote our songs. With the level of piracy in Nigeria, making money is almost very difficult. Nevertheless, I make money from events, we separate the church from the money-making mechanism we put in place.”

Could You Please Define the Church?

“Ok. The church is where we primarily minster. So most of the events we take are not because of the money, we rather work around whatever the invitees are comfortable with. We accept programs based on the need of our presence and the impact we are likely to have on our audience. Money is not the reason we do what we do, we are Ministers in a Ministry.“

Have You Been Taken Advantage Of, Especially By, Say, the Church?

“Yes I have, in fact many times but such is life. Broken promises. The thing is, when you venture into gospel music make sure you separate the money-making business from ministry. We do not make money “from” gospel music; we make money to finance gospel music. How I make money is by God’s grace as I have to pay my bills and take care of other things. I tell people that if you dare put your trust in God, He will take care of everything. By the grace of God, no weekend goes without me having an event to attend but of course I separate the church and business. I know how to handle finance depending on the event.”

What Are Your Final Words to Your Fans and The Church?

“Stay true to who you are. Stay connected to your source because there is no telling how far you will go when you are connected to your source. Do not also forget your humble beginning when you eventually become that Super Star. I started from the church and the choir, I am still there, and I will remain there until the rapture of the Church Of Christ. As for the Church, we thank God for the opportunity He has given us to do what we are doing and trust me, we will not disappoint the church. Joe Praiz will never be heard singing any “Strange Music” in His Father’s Land. We will continue to sing more beautiful songs of worship and praise to God. We also thank the Churches for their enormous support and prayers over the years, when they sing our songs it gets round and even the unchurched get carried along somehow. Lastly, we ask that the media to continue to encourage and air our works so they can blossom.

Thank you so much for having me and we hope to work with you some other time- pretty soon.“

Thank you God Bless You, Merci Beaucoup, Asante Sana, O sé!


Credit: Pictures and video shoots by Sunday Goodluck Ugorji . Transcription by

Nifesimi Okeyide.

Daniel Ikwuagwu

A Christian. Conditioned to Create.

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