The mantle of evangelism of the Gospel ministry handed over to her by her mother Legendary Dr Bola Are, is a big task, but Yetunde Are has strived hard to keep the pace between her own ministry and her mother’s personality.
The Gospel industry in Nigeria has taken a new shape in recent time with the creativity quota added by Yetunde Are.
In this exclusive interview I had with Yetunde Are, she speaks on the challenges faced at differentiating her own ministry from that of her mother, her candid view on Gospel singers collaboration with secular artists, is Gospel music a profitable business?, and many others.
Can We Meet You
My name is Yetunde Are, a gospel singer and by the special grace of God, I have been doing music for over two decades, and i bless God for his faithfulness over me.
I was born into a music family, my mother is evangelist Dr Bola Are, my father is late, now over 20 years ago and through the help of God and because of the music foundation that I have, I am doing great in music but from an angle that is different from my mums.
I went to Omolewa Nursery & Primary, Oritamefa Ibadan, and then I went to St Annes Secondary School, Molete Ibadan. I had my National Diploma at Federal Polytechnic Offa, Kwara State and l also had my BSC in Business Administration at Ambrose Ali University and to be continued.
What is Your Experience in Your Childhood Days?
All I know in my growing days, is that I have this juvenile quiet experience and my mum didn’t want me to sing due to her own personal bad experiences but later she finally allowed me to pursue my own dream. After reaching an agreement with her, I just had to balance my academics with my music career.
As a Business Administrator by Profession: What are Your Challenges going back into Music?
I have never had any experience working in a firm with my business administration certificate.
How and when did you start doing Music?
Have been doing music since my childhood days at age of 8 and was later ordained, but this year will be my 20 years in the game.
What are Challenges you face in Your Musical Career
Hmm, there are several challenges l have encountered over the years; the first one I encountered is the issue of honorarium which I didn’t know about. I can vividly remember my first ministration, after finishing the ministration, the pastor called me into his office and said ” Thank You Ma ” and I told my band members which they agreed with, but after the third ministration, they started complaining gradually but l was able to deal with the issue by Gods grace.
The second challenge is the issue of financial resources for my project such as Albums and Concerts. There is this interesting scenario when people started calling and mailing me that they have grown tired of my album, which implies that they want me to release another album.
Such experience makes me to understand my calling. There was a time I had to reach out to one of my colleagues Gbenga Adenuga, to seek his own view, He said Yetunde, there are some times that he would go for ministrations and they will give him honourarum will be nothing to write home about and also the issue of instrumentalists going for the highest bidder. But with time all those things are actually built to make you stronger and also give you opportunity to move forward.
Any improvement in Gospel music in Nigeria?
The gospel world in Nigeria has really improved over the years, lets first take it from the angle of Lagos, which has the dominance factor.
Lets forget about the musician now, the church choir have also improved a lot which is different from my mother’s era, when everything was difficult and there was no encouragement from any anybody, she even told a scenario where rain destroyed all their equipments .
Is Gospel Music Profitable Business?
Yes…….. Gospel music is a profitable business for anybody to go into, but you’re to first take it as ministry which is like you’re sowing seed without even thinking of making money from it at the beginning. The more effort you put into it and your consistency also will germinate for you at the long run.
Just for me as an example, sometimes I don’t collect money, while sometimes I do charge for my ministration. Most upcoming act believes that the voice is only meant for you to succeed, they don’t know there are ups and down in the journey.
Let me share a scenario , I was invited for a ministration sometimes ago, on our way the suddenly developed a fault on the highway where nobody was ready to help, well some people thought we were thieves, but with the intervention of God, we got to the place. After finishing my ministration, the pastor remember us through our band outfit; because he also passed through that highway on his way to ministration; guess what, he had to double my charges fee that day.
In short my advice to upcoming act is to stay focused and continuing learning every day in other to craft there own niche in this overcrowded industry.
What must be done to restructure the gospel music system in Nigeria?
Firstly, we will need to work hard more on our production, I won’t say that people should learn from the secular, but sometimes we need to listen to the secular artistes based on how they win more people to their music, while we gospel folks are not winning to themselves.
So by the wisdom and knowledge God has giving us, I believe we can do better, because there is no mediocrity in the kingdom of God. Imagine that God want you to represent him at the White House as a singer that means you’re the best, it doesn’t mean that it’s just the anointing but it is the combination of the anointing, the skills and the efficiency as well.
We need to sharpen our skills, while also our appearance matters most, because in recent days people cannot differentiate between the gospel musician and the secular world.
Some people go to the extent of revealing their cleavage while they are performing which is not good, because I don’t know the kind of message we are passing to the congregation while men also should appear in decent manner that will pass the right message to people.
Your view on Gospel Singers collaborating with Secular Artists
I don’t buy the idea of gospel singer’s collaboration with the secular artistes, but based on my own background and the kind of fan base l have built and also watching me over the years, from CAC to Redeem and now Pentecostal church.
In short I can’t disappoint God, and also disappoint myself that is why I can’t sing with secular singer for now, some people might say we are singing Gods song, but check their mind very well and you will discover it’s for business purpose.
In future can you collaborate with Secular Singer, so that it won’t Surprise your Fans
Let me start with my experience when I had my first video, which is ‘’ Shekinah Praise ‘’,am talking of Yetunde Are coming from a background of Bola Are, people were placing my standard with my mum.
I made a big mistake then putting my PA’s number on that video, people started calling me and also giving me several names such as you’re a Jezebel, you’re this and that, all those things just frustrated me until someone just called me and said what is your name?, l said Yetunde Are and what is the name of your mother (Bola Are), so you have 2 different generation you ministry to.
Sometimes you have to put some things into consideration, because they will go further by quoting the Bible that what as Light got to do with Darkness, but for me it has to be moral songs, in that context, we can do something together and also the personality of that person is the most important thing for me.
We even have some church where all these secular musician worship, but they are still Christians, but they do it for their own business.
But Bible says Go Ye into the World and Make Disciples
Yes my bible say so, but my bible further says be not conformed but be transformed by the renewal of your mind. You’re in the world, but not of this world. While the evangelism part is not about giving out tracts anymore, according to my research of giving out tracts, I discovered that they smile at me and collect it but they later drop it at your back.
If it is in terms of secular musicians, I like the style of Aunty Tope Alabi, she sings gospel songs and also sings moral song as well, but she let people understand that moral songs is part of her business, while same thing goes for Sola Allyson, because she talks about culture, sometimes she sings about God, some times she sings about morals and she sings in church and have not seen her do any collabo with secular artists.
I still stand on it, I can sing morals with people that I know that though they are doing secular they are Christians, but their lifestyle must be eternally different from secular world.
What have really contributed Mostly to your Ministry for the Past 20 Years?
I rehearse and I pray and mostly I learn from people. I don’t use my 20 years career to judge my learning ability. I acquire more knowledge from different people, because people say it is a shame on me that I have more practical knowledge of music over the theory aspect.
My obedience to God most times help me, because there are some times I could have detailed what songs to perform, but I will hear God whispering to me to sing another song over the ones I have planned for, sometimes if I don’t sing that song someone might sing the song before the programme ends.
All these obedience over the years has really helped me in my career in terms of the spiritual. Like my pastor used to say, balance it all ‘’ be good, skill wise, have the anointing, be smart and just be passionate about it, with all this you can go to places all over the world.
You have been in the Industry for the past 20 years, how many Albums do you have?
I have 6 albums (Sing Praises to God, Intimacy, Call to Praise, Try Praise, Shekinah Praise and l Praise l Worship) and I have 3 music video titled Call to Praise, Shiloh and Living Praise video.
Who is your Role Model?
I have several role models, who are just like physical role models to me, people who l seal most every day. First is my mother Evangelist Dr.Bola Are, Evangelist Toun Soetan and Mummy Funke Felix Adejumo.
But if we are talking music role model, Yolanda Adams, Shirley Ceaser, Prophetess Juanita Bynum has really been the human zeal that drives me to where I am today.
Any Project you’re working on for now?
Yes! Single, am working on it. ‘’ Total Praise ‘’a concert l hosted last year, it was a massive one, while we are currently working on the video. Am also working on a new album for the market and l have some singles for the media consumption.
Your ‘’ Total Praise ‘’ concert last year was a massive success.
Hehehehe! Yes now, it will go higher in Jesus name. At the beginning I didn’t buy the idea because I didn’t have money, but thank God for the big brother that I have, uncle Edward Sunday, who pushed me, he said Yetunde lets do something like this.
I didn’t buy into the idea because I didn’t have money and there was no sponsor for the programme, but God does his work in unusual way for us and we thank God for the success .But this year, we are planning it big, we are bringing in more people as well, because we have to give back to our community.
I have had opportunity to minister outside Nigeria, this is the only avenue of giving back to our generation and my community and also we are praying that it should be bigger than the previous years.
What did you do at your leisure Time?
I listen to songs, I love to watch American action movie like 24 Hours, but that movie almost killed me, because it wasted my time and also waste my fuel because I. was curious about what the end will be, I am trying to learn how to swim and in short be happy every time.
Any word for people generally?
Please do good, get closer to God, be the best in what God has called you to do and find your purpose and lastly acquire more knowledge towards your purpose in life.
Any advice to your colleagues and upcoming artistes
My advice to my colleagues and upcoming artistes is that if God has really called you and you have seen your purpose from the calling, please acquire more knowledge in what God has given you. So that you can stand out of the crowd and bring your fans closer to God.
Have you ever thought of quitting music?
No! My mother is going to be 70 years very soon and she has never thought of quitting music, same goes for me. I don’t think of quitting music at all and God will never let that happen to me.
It is my pleasure having a chat with you