…Laments neglect of gospel artists’ welfare
Edith Mark, a gospel artist, a graduate of Philosophy from the University of Abuja, a wife and a mother.
She is also a trained caterer, bead maker and studied Computer science at the Auchi Polytechnics.
‘Strong and Mighty’, her first album was launched in Abuja, the federal capital territory recently. She is planning a video shoot for the album at the moment.
In this interview with Abuja Business Reports, Edith Mark speaks on her life, music and more. Excerpts:
How did the songs in the album ‘Strong and Mighty’ come about?
I have written so many songs that could last for four albums; ‘Strong and Mighty’, is by inspiration just like all other songs. I could be sleeping and the song just comes and I will write it down and record the tune so I’ll not forget it. That has been the experience for almost all the songs. Most times they come in choruses; it’s the chorus part that I receive most times and I have to construct the verses in line with the choruses.
For how long have you been in the music industry professionally?
Professionally, it’s getting to three years now. But I have always been in the choir since like 10 years of age till my polytechnic days and later I got married. However, I withdrew for a while before God called me to return to the music ministry. I then joined the Dunamis Church choir in one of the branches. However, two months into the choir, I was called by God to go into music, and the calling came with a passion, which gives me the joy to keep going in my music ministry.
I began in a very naïve form; this is someone who has never entered the studio before, though I have been in the choir, but never recorded for one day and there was this call to go into music. Though it started in a very naïve form, but along the line I gained confidence and I was able to go into the studio and come up with this album. I thank God that the calling came with passion. That has been the drive and I’m happy.
What has been the challenges since the journey started?
The main challenges facing musicians are the inability to finance their musical career and lack of acceptability. It has not been easy because in recording an album, you are not going to enter the studio and say ‘God has sent me to come and record free of charge’. You have to pay and whether you like it or not, the producers, you have to pay them to record and all that. Such has been the challenges. For me, it has not been easy, but God has been faithful.
Now, in the five years, where do you see yourself?
Whenever I’m asked such questions I feel that people want me to maybe I will record two more albums and all that but for me I see the world. I don’t just see myself confined in one local place like that; I see myself flaying all over the world ministering. Someone may say, ‘oh, see is talking too much. But, that’s what I see. I know I will record more album but I see my albums go round the globe. That is the mindset behind my ministry and that’s what I see. And I know that God will make it possible. I also see a growth in the industry and I thank my fans for their continued support.
If you are asked to choose one local artist and one international musician that you would like to “collabo” with, who would that be?
Internationally, I like Kim Burrell. I like her kind of music, I like the way she sing, her voice and all that. I like her and I know she had a collabo with a Nigerian artist Dunsin Oyekan and she is someone I would like to collabo with.
Locally, I like Nathaniel Bassey songs. Those are the two people I admire in the gospel world.
How did your family receive your acceptance of the call to go into the gospel music ministry?
Like every other ministry and every other person, your family might not at accept it at the beginning but I believe that with time they will get to know and accept it. But myself, I wasn’t really accepted but I wasn’t stopped. Like my husband said, ‘I didn’t say you shouldn’t go into music’, but I believe that with time he will know the reason why I went into it and I will get full support.
Apart from music, what else do you do?
I do so many things: I’m a trained caterer, I read Computer Science in Auchi Polytechnics in my OND, I’m a bead maker, I do a whole lot of things, including business. I’m a multifaceted person.
We see many artists, especially gospel musicians, who are not well taken care of churches, how will you react to that?
I see the challenges artists face out there. You will see artists that are not sure where their next meal may be coming from. And he is being called to minister and at the end of the day there is no honorarium, he is not even appreciated. You understand. We should try to appreciate our artists. It will go a long way. It’s not only about money but we should appreciate them and encourage them. It will boost their morale and help them to continue in the music industry.
Looking at such frustrations and lack of support for gospel musicians, how do you fell seeing many gospels artist going into circular music?
I don’t really know what it is all about but I believe that this is faith; this is about faith God wants us to spend our whole life in, and now you are deviating from the faith you once knew, the faith that you have been building all these years. And you just make up your mind that you want to go secular; that is like backslidden, that’s how I see it. It’s like leaving God and servicing Satan. I believe that God will not be comfortable with it. I believe that for the artists, it’s even so difficult to do. Maybe they are being force by frustration and all that but it’s not really a good idea. I would like our artists out there in the secular music industry to do a re-think and not lose faith because at the end of the day we shall all be giving account of our lives to Christ.
My advice for upcoming artists in this regard is that they should believe in themselves and remain focused, and God will bring that vision to past. Our established artist can help promote the upcoming ones. They can do a collaboration with them, which will go a long way to helping the artist grow faster.