Interview: Munachi on turning down devil’s deal, His style of Gospel music, Psalms of a Hood Boy EP & more
Carving a niche in a very stereotype industry for a potential star is a very daunting task. Especially, when the perception seem a lot off the grid.
When you think of Gospel music, chains and blinks, sneakers, rough curls, ear rings and studs are not what readily comes to mind. Also, street slangs are very far from the vocabulary but this is all what Urban Gospel artiste Munachi is bringing to the table.
It’s easy to cast off Munachi as a sell out, but he is deeply rooted in his belief and has had many opportunities to deviate from his calling, but the young talented and unusual minister keeps sticking to his purpose.
He released his “No Lele” album earlier in the year. The album saw atleast 3 promotional videos – “Love,” “My Trumpet” and “Jupa” – and also a nationwide marketing distribution. Munachi is on the verge of dropping another EP titled “Psalms of a Hood Boy” in the same year and he says his motivation is never to hoard any song.
In this interview with Alex Amos, Munachi reveals plans going forward, upcoming videos and a let in on how he rejected a satanic deal!
SelahAfrik: Can you tell us about your background?
Munachi: I was born and raised in Enugu. I’m the first child of my parents, I have 7 other siblings. My dad was a pastor, he’s late now & my mom is also a minister of the Gospel. I studied computer science at Imo State Polytechnic.
SelahAfrik: Why did you choose Gospel music despite your seemingly mainstream approach?
Munachi: Well I understand that God made each and everyone of us for a purpose. He gave us gifts & abilities to fulfill that purpose. He gave me the gift and ability to make music and with it I’m serving His purpose.
SelahAfrik: Tell us about your style of Gospel music
Munachi: My style of Gospel music is based on the sound. It is more of Contemporary/Urban sound. Like the sound that you hear today on radio. I’ve seen a hashtag that says “Afro Gospel,” I think it’s another way to relate it. Cause when you listen to my music you hear Afrobeat, AfroPop, Highlife, Reggae but the message is the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. So Afro Gospel goes well.
SelahAfrik: What inspires your style of Gospel music?
Munachi: I didn’t just choose to do this style of Gospel music, the truth is, this is what I’ve been doing because I didn’t start by doing gospel music. I started as a secular artiste before God found me. He started dealing with me and I didn’t know what to do with my career anymore, cause I understood the power in music and where the energy of most of the secular music comes from. I couldn’t continue making the kind of music I was making then and I didn’t want to start doing the kind of gospel music I hear in church. Yes, I am a Christian but that wasn’t me. I didn’t want to be corny and fake. I felt I didn’t belong in that genre. God led me and I started discovering music artists that serve God with their gifts in music in a way I could relate to. Ministers like Rapper Lecrae, Da’ Truth, Xavier Omar – he use to go by the name Spazzy Rocket – Bouqui and many more. I realized I didn’t need to change the sound but just let GOD take what I already know to do and spin it to what will bring glory to Him and also connect with people who He wants to reach through me.
Due to your style of Gospel music, has there been any almost insurmountable temptation to test the mainstream waters?
Munachi: As a matter of fact, yes! But I don’t call it temptation, the biggest victory is what I would like to call it. I did turn down the deal the devil offered me. This would be the first time I’m sharing this publicly. It was just another night and I had laid down to sleep. I found myself in a nice sitting room with very cool setting. Nothing there looked like the devil is here. For those who might think satan has horns, wears black and stuffs, no he doesn’t. So in this room was a flat screen TV playing the music video of an artist I don’t want to mention. I was sitting facing this middle aged man and he said to me see how much you have suffered, see all the efforts you’ve put in and still no head way, do you want to end up like your dad? Look at your family only you can change these things, I can give you all that you have ever wanted. He pointed to the television on the wall and said look at all these – the screen displayed flashy music videos, cool life style, fame and all. He said I can give you all this & more, all you have to do is accept to give me your life. And you’ll have all. At this point I had started pondering all he was saying about my struggles, my family and all that but when he said “all you have to to do is give your life,” I found my self saying “my soul is not mine to give, my soul is not mine to give, my soul belongs to GOD.” I got up sweating in fear the air in my room felt so heavy like there was super natural presence in there with me. It was obvious it was not just a dream. This happened at my lowest point, nothing was really going in my favor then. If I didn’t have the spirit of GOD in me and if GOD was not with me at that moment, I could have sold my soul for fame and money. I’ve heard a lot of music artists talk about this & I’ve always thought it was just music, that day I realized it wasn’t. It’s not like there are no temptations today but GOD picks me up everyday and set me on the part of righteousness and victory.
SelahAfrik: You have recorded 2 EPs this year and you are about to drop the 2nd, Tell us about that:
Munachi: I’m someone who records lots of song & one of my OGs advised me. “No hoarding, keep the releases coming”.
SelahAfrik: Tell us about the earlier released “No Lele” EP:
Munachi: “No Lele” is a street slang that means ‘no problem’ and that’s like my favorite reply when people come at me with negative vibe. I decided to name the album that cause I made those songs surrounded by a lot of unbelief and doubts from people who genuinely thought they were advising me well. Some said I’ll never make it doing Gospel music, then there’s the ones in the Gospel industry that said I’ll not be accepted cause I don’t look, dress and sound like what a Gospel minister should. My reply to all that is “No Lele”.
The title track “No Lele” was originally written for Faze cause my home boy Dr. Finesse and I were invited by him to co. write and produce some tracks for a new project he was working on then. But he ended up not using the track, so I kept that for my own project. “Jupa” was a last minute call, cause I had finished the album and have already started promoting the first single “No Lele” when my brother Posyble Da Grace Baller sent me that instrumental on WhatsApp. I wrote that song in 20/30 minutes and just like that we had a new lead single. There’s a whole lot of stories behind each song that If I start sharing all it will take all our time. Other songs off the project include “Love” and “My Trumpet”, which I’m sure you have heard.
SelahAfrik: Tell us about the new project (Psalms Of A Hood Boy) dropping anytime from now:
Munachi: The New EP is a personal project that’s why I titled it “Psalms Of A Hood Boy” like in the Bible Psalms where you find the psalmist sometimes in a praise mood other times venting, on this project you will find me in the same kind of position. I try to be real in my music and the motivation behind “Off Dem” is the story I narrated at the beginning of the song those where real questions from real people and I need God to answer in a way that will turn an unbeliever to a believer. Just like the miracle of Lazarus shocked the system.
SelahAfrik: Should we be expecting new videos for “Psalms Of A Hood Boy”, as it has become your tradition?
Munachi: By God’s Grace Yes, maybe one or two. Already, we’re working on something for the first single “Off Dem.”
SelahAfrik: You are quite stylish with your Urban look, What inspires your style?
Munachi: (Laughs), well I don’t see it like I’m trying to be stylish I just try to look my best. My style is just the way I am wired.
SelahAfrik What do you do for relaxation?
Munachi: I’m mostly an indoor kind of guy so when I’m not working I play video games, I like football, I watch sometimes.
SelahAfrik: If you had the privilege, what would you like to change in the Gospel Mindustry?
Munachi: I think the Gospel industry needs a Don Jazzy kind of figure, someone who’s willing to give the rising music ministers a platform. I want that & more for the industry.
SelahAfrik: Since your music is tailored for the youthful, what is the overall message you want to pass across with your music?
Munachi: I won’t say my music is tailored to the youths alone, I think the elderly can relate too. So my message is to everyone reading this “GOD is not waiting for you to change before you can come to Him, He has made a bridge through the flesh of His Son Jesus Christ and He is asking you to come as you are then the changing process can begin. That’s the message.
“Psalms Of A Hood Boy” (EP) by Munachi drops September 19th. Pre-order:Download