Chris Ottah’ is a blogger with ‘Sycamore Naija’, a Human Capital Developer with ‘HCHCDI’ (a registered NGO poised to stir up the spirit of leadership and originality in the youth) and an independent brand/publicity consultant. As an Entertainment Enthusiast and a gifted writer he’s passionate about inspiring people through words and letters.
He sits with Award winning Gospel music minister – Samsong – in this interview. Samsong has stayed relevant doing the Father’s work for over 2 decades now. From the days of contesting in the debut edition of StarQuest to releasing the Mega hit and album “Count Your Blessings.” He followed the effort with the release of the 2004 album “Still Counting.” He has released several album since then including the widely acclaimed “ChurchBoy Reloaded” album. Samsong is currently working on a new album. and he has revealed the exciting list of features that will be on the album.
Samsong has won several awards and has performed with various gospel artiste including Marvin Winans, Donnie McClurkin , Panam Percy Paul and more.
CHRIS: You’ve been actively involved in the music scene for close to 20 years, from your point of view has the Nigerian music scene improved over the years or is quality and standard dropping?
SAMSONG: It’s definitely been an upward movement… I remember back in the days both radio and club DJ’s played predominantly foreign songs but today it’s different. People want to hear and celebrate our indigenous songs. Today all around the world Nigerian songs are topping charts and winning international awards. There’s still room for a lot of improvement though, we are not where we desire to be but we are sure not were we used to be.
CHRIS:What were your musical influences growing up as a child?
SAMSONG: I use to love to sing hymnals (giggles) a lot ’cause I grew up in a church that sang a lot of hymns during service, but as I grew older I started craving for something more, a new style of singing or better put, new and more interesting ways to do music. Then I stumbled on Commission 7 CD and that was how my music changed.
CHRIS: You have an amazing voice… everyone agrees to that. Why did you choose to do gospel music and not secular which seems to be more popular these days?
SAMSONG: For me it’s not a matter of secular or Gospel, it’s a matter of the lifestyle . I am born again that’s the life style I have chosen to live and the only kind of music that is congrous to this life style is gospel music. Some people say they are gospel artist but live a secular life, that’s double standards and you know what the bible says about a double standard man. The voice is a gift from God. I am a son of God and I love my father, if He’s given me the gift of the voice to glorify him and preach the full gospel then by all means! So technically God chose me and it’s a privilege I honour.
CHRIS: So your last album ‘Church Reloaded’ was fantastic and till date is still blossoming, however we hear from the Grapevine that you have something mind blowing – as per an upcoming album – up your sleeve. Is this true. If yes, when do we expect it?
SAMSONG: Mind blowing is the word! Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you! (Laughs). My next album is going to be “Wow!”. The best part is that it has something for everyone- the young, the old, the R and B lover and a whole new dimension of me that you’ll certainly love. It should be out in the first quarter of 2014.
CHRIS: Are there any special features on the forth-coming album to look forward to? Is it going to be Samsong as usual or are we going to be seeing a new side of Samsong?
SAMSONG: Hmmmm I guess I gave a little clue on this from your previous question. Well, there are a couple of collabos on this one. People like Dr Panam Percy Paul, Chioma Jesus, Chinyere Udoma, Chris Morgan, Cwesi Oteng, Martin Pk and a host of others. It’s definitely a new side of me but I’d want my fans to know its still totally “Samsong Churchboy”. I simply followed the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Its one album that I’m very enthusiastic about and the album title is…no I won’t let that out yet just watch out for it…(Laughs)
CHRIS: Tell us a little about ‘Boogie Down Conceptz’ is it a record label you are signed onto or one you oversee. Are there other acts under the label?
SAMSONG: I’m signed on to BDC and I also am the CEO of Boogie Down Conceptz. There are other acts under BDC like Steve Willlis, Promise benson, Christian Doherty, 565….etc
CHRIS: What inspired your hairstyle? It’s quite unique you know?
SAMSONG: I just wanted to create a brand. Something people won’t forget in a hurry so despite knowing Samsong as a vocalist, they also know samsong as they guy with the Afro…and it has worked for me over the years.
CHRIS: Currently, you have three (3) NGMA nominations and three (3) NGMVA nominations as well all in this year 2013. That’s a handful you know! How does that make you feel?
SAMSONG: (Laughs) I’m exhilarated to say the least. It makes me feel loved and appreciated by Nigerians and its a huge encouragement to me also; at least it goes to say we’re making progress.
CHRIS: How do you feel when you get love from fans outside or while on stage?
SAMSONG: Its always good to put a face to the names. I know there are people out there who love Samsong Churchboi but it feels good to “actually” see them. I take my ministry very seriously, the stage is my own pulpit and it gives me a sense of fulfilment seeing lives being blessed and the unsaved transformed into new creations in Christ. Seeing a fan is always a pleasure. I have the most wonderful fans in the world and they are dear to me.
CHRIS: What’s the hardest part/thing in being a celebrity… especially a Gospel artist?
SAMSONG: Every ministry or occupation has “Occupational hazards”, everybody expects you to be perfect ’cause you are a celebrity. That can be hard, though I try to be myself o! I don’t flaunt the celebrity status on people’s face so they see me just as I am. That way it’s not so difficult after all
CHRIS: Looking down memory lane, is there any song of yours that you would point as your big break?
SAMSONG: I think Its “Bianule.”
SAMSONG: I have the best wife in the world! She’s God’s special gift to me, she’s my biggest fan, she’s very supportive. She’s the one that has to nurture and mend me when I’m all spent from events. My boys are wonderful too, we make the most of the time we can spend together. Samsong Jnr (my 1st son) now knows the difference between “Daddy” and “Samsong Churchboy” (laughs)… he’s a huge fan too, he can sing almost all the lines in my albums (laughs again). His little brother’s definitely following his cue also (laughs).
CHRIS: Do you have any regrets or anything you wish to do better if given a second chance?
SAMSONG: No,I love my life and who God has made me to be.
CHRIS: Many young people in Nigeria seem to have embraced the entertainment industry and are getting involved. Any word for upcoming acts?
SAMSONG: Stay focused. Don’t involve in unhealthy comparison and competition with other artistes. No one else can teach your sermon, no one else can sing your song, no one else can be what God has chosen you to be. So create a niche for yourself and you’ll be amazed how far you’ll go.
CHRIS: Lastly, for some years in Nigeria it’s been topsy turvy Politically, Economically and even our Education system seems embattled. What’s your take on it all and If you had the opportunity to speak to our leaders what would you advise?
SAMSONG: Nigeria’s a strong country, we’ve been through so much that other countries could cave in if subjected to half our drama. I believe God’s not through with us. I’d encourage our leaders to go back to the drawing board, the point where it all started, to the beginning… God.
– Written by Chris Ottah (@ChrisOttah).
– Edited by Alex Amos