ARIZE Nwobu is a man of many parts: a chartered stockbroker, a business journalist and a minister of Christ. Today, he is trying to carve a niche as a gospel and circular music crooner, a romance that started way back in the 1970s, having been influenced by a number of musicians, prominent among which were Jimmy Cliff, Al Green, Jack- son 5 and Fela Kuti, Grandfunk, Boston, Rare Earth, Deep Purple, Strangers, Wings, One World, Funkees, Headfunk, to mention a few.
In his higher school days, he worked part time as a radio DJ and vocalist for a resident band in one of the top hotels in Kano. He disengaged from music as an undergraduate at the University of Lagos. Later on, when he travelled to the USA, he recorded some songs in the popular Bristol Studios in Boston, Massachusetts.
Wobu sings gospel songs “to lift up the name of the Lord Jesus Christ”. He also sing “clean
and meaningful secular love and conscious music that will appeal to a wider audience.” Recently, he released his latest single “Faithful One”, the second in the series of the gospel genre. Before it was “I will Follow You”, which was released in December 2019 (both distributed online by Amuse, a digital distribution company in Sweden).
“Faithful One” is an elevated pop/rock gospel song which ex- tols the faithfulness of Jesus. The artist told Daily Sun, “Je- sus is good and faithful, not just sometimes but all the time. The Holy Spirit who is the Potentate of the Omnipotent God inspired and downloaded the lyrics and beat of the song into my spirit to proclaim His faithfulness.
“It’s a powerful song with a rock feel. The Holy Spirit lifted me high to deliver it, and, if you listen to it, you will know what I mean. I am sure that Jesus and all the stars of Heaven will always enjoy the song in His assembly- Church of the First Born in the heavenly Mount Zion.”
His style of gospel is quite different from the dominant brand. “It’s because I like to distinguish myself from others in the way I do my thing. I don’t flow with the crowd but I appreciate the crowd. I am very idiosyncratic and like to pass through the idiographic path charted for me by God. I love melodious pop/rock songs which I internalised and now externalising in my type of music,” said the artiste.
Besides gospel, he has had a lot of “unique clean secular songs” lined up for release in due time soon. “They are beautiful songs that will appeal to all demographics who have ears for good music. They are the kind of songs you will like to have on your playlists and remember for a long time,” the artiste assured.
Won’t his secular songs contradict with his Christian faith? Nwobu doesn’t see it that way. “What matters is that, since music is sacred, it should not be abused and with profanity.
You abuse music when you sing about things that don’t glorify God nor edify humanity nor relate things that are worthy of note as life experiences either in reality or imaginary to impact society in meaningful ways.
“To that effect, the lyrics of a song and the spirit behind it make all the difference. I brand my secular songs as my ‘Solomonic series’, adapted from Songs of Solomon, also known as Song of Songs in the Bible where you find a lot of love and romance Psalms on courtship, consummation of love, marriage, honeymoon, and all those romantic things that are common in legal relationships between man and woman.
As it seems, garden variety stuffs don’t appeal to him. He echoed, “My effort is aimed at redefining the music space with my kind of music, both gospel and secular. And I hope that it will be possible to partner with a label/promoter who will un- derstand and appreciate my kind of music and be able to support and promote them to cascade to a wider audience, both locally and globally, and with a maximum impact and power.”