She started out as a child prodigy who would sneak out of the house at night to pursue her passion: music.
Now, with a career spanning over 30 years, to the Ogun State-born Temitope Odusola, gospel music is a mandate, a calling and a divine assignment from God.
In this chat, the talented singer opens up on her career, challenges and plans for the future. Enjoy it.
Tell us about growing up?
I was born into a very religious family. My dad is a pastor, my mum is also a pastor while the rest of the family sings and plays musical instruments in the church. My parents are very strict and godly and I appreciate them for that.
Music started for me at a very early age. I was told that music has always been part of me. In fact, as early as when I was three years old, I was already singing. There was always music around me because of the kind of upbringing I had. I was told that there was a day I sneaked out of the house in the middle of the night, just to join the choir to sing in church; and when my parents realised I was not at home, they began to look for me. They ended up seeing me in church, singing with the choir. I guess that was how singing started for me. By the time I turned seven, I had grown to become a lead backup singer in our church.
Which church was that?
It was my father’s church. Dad used to pastor a church before he set up his own. My uncle, who was the choirmaster back then, also encouraged me. I was allowed to join the choir, and from there, I started traveling with the choir for ministration outside Lagos.
Is your mother also in support of your music career?
Yes, very well. You know, mothers are always praying for and supporting their children.
You’ve been in music for how many years now?
I turned 40 last year…
Wow! But you don’t look it…
Thank you. I would say I have been doing music for 32 years now. However, my first album was released in 2005 to celebrate my dad’s calling.
What’s the title and what inspired it?
It was entitled Serving The Lord, and then we lost the last-born of the family; and that really slowed down our work. However, some years back, I released a 4-track praise medley. Also, in March this year, I released two singles entitled, Thank You Lord, which was produced by Sound Breaks Production and I Believe, produced by Olaitan Dada.
Do you plan to release more singles before the year runs out?
Surely, by God’s grace. But aside the video of the two tracks that we are working on at the moment, which will be launched this month, I will also be starting my one-hour online praise session via Instagram and Facebook. It will be broadcast twice a month.
Aside music, what else do you do?
I am a serial entrepreneur. I am into hospitality and I also consult for companies.
Between music and your hospitality business, which is paying your bills?
Music is a mandate, a calling. It is not a business, but if it turns out to be a more profitable venture, then it would be the icing on the cake for me.
So, you’ve been funding the music with money from your hospitality business?
Let me say that grace has been speaking for me. Some people will just hear me sing and say ‘oh, I want to support you’ and some would promise and not come back, while others will. God’s grace has been speaking for me, I must confess.
How have you been coping doing business alongside music?
You see, when God is in support of what you are doing, everything tends to work out for your good. My boss is so supportive. As I speak, Hannah Oyebanjo, who happens to be my boss, also doubles as my spiritual mum; and because of that, I am enjoying her encouragement on all sides. And I equally want to appreciate my church’s pastor, Pastor Sam Adeyemi of Daystar Worship Centre for his support and encouragement.
How do you get inspired?
If truly you are called, you will constantly hear from God. Most times, inspiration comes from my dreams or when I am in the bathroom having my bath. Once I get the inspiration for a song, I hum it and quickly record it on my phone so I don’t forget it. After that, I ask God what He wants me to preach through the new inspiration.
Are you thinking of collaborating with any of the popular gospel artistes?
There is no time that it will not happen, because I believe in always drawing from God through God’s people.
How would you describe your kind of gospel music?
I do ‘Alujo’ because of my background, but sincerely, I am not limited to one type of gospel, I sing to praise God.
Can marriage stop you from doing music?
Never! God will not give me a man that will hinder the assignment He has given me.
Being pastors’ daughter, are you also considering marrying a pastor?
(Laughter) If God throws that at me, I will easily hug it.
Has there ever been a time you had a rethink on why you are doing music?
There was a time I wasn’t singing like I used to, I was just singing in the choir and I was like ‘is this all God want from me?’ But people kept telling me that I had more to offer. So, in a way, I felt carried away and I just had to let go of some things and follow His will.
Who are those you look up to in the gospel music industry?
I listen a lot to Nathaniel Bassey; I also draw from Tope Alabi, Sinach, Don Moen and many others.
Where do you see yourself in the next couple of years?
I see myself going global by God’s grace. I see myself doing more of contemporary African songs and very deep worship songs too. I can speak some Ghanaian and South African languages, so it has helped me in my musical career.
I learnt these languages through my dad’s constant transfer to various countries. He has a church in the UK, Germany, and you know, when they (parents) move, the family moves with them. I am staying back in Nigeria because of my job and all, but I do visit them regularly.