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“I AM COMMITTED TO PUTTING OUT EXCELLENT MUSIC”: A CONVERSATION WITH JEPHTHAH IDAHOSA AIGBE

In a recent conversation between our correspondent, Kathryn Mercy Gabriel and Jephthah Idahosa Aigbe, a multifaceted artist and minister of the gospel, a remarkable story of passion, obedience, and divine calling unfolded.

In a recent conversation between our correspondent, Kathryn Mercy Gabriel and Jephthah Idahosa Aigbe, a multifaceted artist and minister of the gospel, a remarkable story of passion, obedience, and divine calling unfolded. This exchange shed light on the intersection of two seemingly disparate worlds: music and architecture. Jephthah’s journey from a budding musician to a renowned gospel artist and architect is nothing short of inspirational.

Jephthah Idahosa Aigbe’s story is a testament to the power of faith, obedience, and unwavering commitment to one’s calling. His music, rooted in scripture and inspired by divine guidance, continues to touch the hearts of those who listen, bridging the gap between two seemingly disparate worlds—music and architecture. As he walks the path set before him, his journey from grace to glory serves as an inspiration to all who seek to fulfill their God-given purpose. Read the conversation below:

Jephthah Idahosa Aigbe
JEPHTHAH IDAHOSA AIGBE

A CONVERSATION WITH JEPHTHAH IDAHOSA AIGBE

Poemify Publishers

Hello, Mr. Jephthah. It’s an honour to have you here. Can we meet you?

JEPHTHAH IDAHOSA AIGBE

Hello. The pleasure is mine. Okay, my name is Jephthah Idahosa Aigbe. I am a minister of the gospel, a recording artist, a songwriter, and an architect.

Poemify Publishers

Nice to meet you, sir. We have been blessed by your songs; they’re exceptional. We’d like to know: How do you manage music and architecture?

JEPHTHAH IDAHOSA AIGBE

Glory to God! Well, I’d say first and foremost, it’s the grace of God. Both are very demanding, but God’s grace has been and remains sufficient. I started music professionally as an artist when I was in the 200th level at the university. Music is a part of my life, just as taking a bath is a part of a regular person’s life, so it doesn’t feel to me like I’m doing something ‘extra’ as it were. The love and passion for the work spur me on. Also, when it comes to ministry, it is a call from God. So I strive to be faithful to what He has called me to do.

I’m currently rounding up my Masters degree in architecture. Architecture is hectic, but I like it. I love creativity and being able to transform thoughts into visible and functional designs. So I work hard at both. I try to apportion my time to be able to juggle the things that are important to me, and I do my best not to give my time to activities that are unproductive.

Poemify Publishers

Okay, so bring us back to the beginning. What sparked your initial interest in music and inspired you to make a career out of it?

JEPHTHAH IDAHOSA AIGBE

Okay, so the beginning is what sparked my interest in music. I think I’ve always loved music. I grew up in a house where gospel music was always played. It was only gospel music that my dad used to play. My dad especially loved music, and in the car he had many taps and all that, so I just, you know, loved to hear songs and gospel music and all that, and while I was young, I also joined the children’s choir in our church, so I got to learn music. I was just doing it as children, loving it, so I guess the love for music started from, you know, that very tender age. It just progressed to a point, and I picked up a keen interest in instruments. It just fascinated me to see someone playing a keyboard or guitar, and when I had the opportunity, I got my hands on a keyboard and started to learn, and I started really learning how to play the keyboard in 2012–2013. In my fellowship in school back then, in secondary school, it reached a point where I was now the keyboardist in the fellowship, and I would help play songs during fellowship. I was hardly doing any singing then in the fellowship i was just playing the keyboard for them so from there when I left secondary school, I joined the music team called the band in my church my local church and I continued there as a keyboardist i was just playing keyboard for them and but somehow in 2016 towards the end of 2016 I was made the music director of that team the music team in my church which for me was a huge responsibility that I didn’t think I was up to it then I was just in my early 200 level then and you know this is a church in zaria is chapel Redemption ABU zaria which is the protestant chapel in ABU. It has a lot of people attending the church usually, when students are in school we can have up to 2,000 people attending service on a Sunday morning, so that it was an overwhelming responsibility for me and then I didn’t know but now I know God was using it as a medium to prepare me for what was coming because I didn’t know so much of music, I was just a keyboardist, I wasn’t singing so much and here I was having to handle singles and people in a congratulation with so many diverse in people students lecturers and all of that and so I didn’t know much music but I learnt about that later and one of the things I learnt that stuck with me is that people cannot be better than the leader so I went on a journey to improve myself I’ve began to build that was when the passion to really build myself musically started.

It wasn’t because I thought I was going to be an artist; I didn’t even have that in mind at all. I wasn’t trying to build a career out of it. I just wanted to serve well. The possibility had been given, so I wanted to do it well because I believe from scripture that it is required of stewards to be faithful, so I wanted to be faithful to what I was given. I began to take personal development in music very seriously, I took courses, I paid for some courses, I attended certain music schools, then Minister David Dam was in zaria and he was holding a music School so I paid for it and attended the music school, did different things just to learn, watched many YouTube videos, I was just building myself practicing, rehearsing and working so that happened a while but then early 2017, now this is where, because you asked me what inspired me to make a career out of it, I never started out thinking about a career right, it just started you know as a child and there is moved into service, playing the keyboard just to serve in the fellowship then, the church, but then I was praying with one of my friends then and a word came from God, one of my friends said to me “God is calling you to begin to self the body of Christ as a psalmist, God is calling you to begin to release songs that will bless the body of Christ”.

It was interesting because then my friends did not know me as a musician, so he wasn’t saying it because he thought I was a musician. I knew it had to be by the Spirit of God. Already, God had begun to give me some songs, but I never really made a big deal about them. I said it was one of those things, that it was very clear God wanted me to begin to record those songs He was giving me and to release them.

At the time, I was very insecure; I didn’t think I had a good voice or had a chance to stand out at all, but I knew what God said, and the last thing I wanted to do was disobey. I began to make contacts and ask questions, and the only person I could reach out to was David Dam; he was the only person in Zaria who I knew one-on-one like that who had recorded a song just before then. I reached out to my friend David Dam and asked him about the producer that I could work with in Zaria, and he recommended someone, and he produced the song.

I really didn’t have any idea how to do anything, but like I said, I was just moving in obedience to what God said I should do. It was after recording the song that I had to ask someone how a song is uploaded online. I was quite naive; I didn’t know how people made money from music. Nothing in my mind was thinking about a career at that point; it was just ministry, more like a response to the call God said that was how it started, and I produced “Spirit of Victory,” which opened the way, and it was kind of confirmation that I had God’s backing.

Poemify Publishers

Wow! There was a strong foundation, and yes, Spirit of Victory is a song I personally love. Are there any specific themes or messages that you strive to convey through your music? How do you connect with your audience and make your music relatable to listeners?

JEPHTHAH IDAHOSA AIGBE

My songs cut across different teams, so what I have as a central theme for me is the word scripture, so I can make sure that every song has its roots in the scripture. I have songs that talk about the movement of the spirit, songs about love, belief, faith, and consecration, so these are all different themes. 

I am not the kind of music minister who sings just one direction or a particular theme; that’s not how God has dealt with me; the songs just come to me. I don’t try to necessarily say I just want to write a song; it just comes to me. I sense the inspiration and then just pick it up and receive the songs. For me, what I insist on is that whatever song I am ever going to release and put out there has to have a firm and clear scriptural foundation. I’m not going to say anything; it’s just my opinion or my personal conviction, which is not rooted in the word of God, so that’s that.

Connecting with my audience, I will say I try to be true to myself. Let me just put it that way, and this is the reason: there are diverse people out there, and I am conscious that not everyone would identify with the kind of music I make, as to why some people have a preference. It is not like they don’t like me or they dislike and hate me or something like that but no, people just have preferences some people may prefer some other style of music or some other theme of music and all of that that’s fine but I’m also quite sure other people out there who will resonate with what I am putting out so just try to make sure I’m through to my own self and true to what God has called me to do, true to what the song that God gives to me and I express them excellently well I make sure the production is excellent and make sure the lyrical content is excellent and clear, the music is good and it communicates what is meant to communicate and then I believe God to take it to the people who would connect with it will resonate with it and those people are just out there. 

There’s always an audience and I believe that, so little by little over the years I’ve been able to connect more and more with people who connect with my music so I’ll just keep doing that, being true to myself and putting out excellent and quality work out there

Okay, so I’ve held two concerts now, by God’s grace, both held in ABU Zaria, and they were great. I think for both of them, we had an attendance of over 1,000 people, and it was really, really a great experience. Hundreds of people came out, and I feel it’s always a memorable experience for an artist to hear the songs God gave you in silence. You know, just in that secret place, you and him, and then you hear the people sing them along with you. It’s a beautiful experience for every artist—it is really beautiful to see others connecting to that little seed that was dropped in your heart at some point in time. 

That will always stand out for me. When I see the people being blessed, people are connecting with the songs, testimonies that came after the concert, people telling how they encountered God, and how they speak to their hearts. 

It was really beautiful to see how people come from far and near. I think this is my last concert. One thing that stood out for me was when someone came all the way from the UK to Zaria just to attend the concert, I was blown away when he told me he was coming I almost thought you were a joke, only for him to tell me the week of the concert that he was booking his flight, and before we knew it, he was around in Zaria, and he attended the concert. Some of my people people travelled in from other States in Nigeria just to attend the contact, so it’s really beautiful and humbling to see what God is doing and for me, I know it’s just a training phase, still the beginning so it makes me excited to anticipate the greater things that God will be doing in subsequent meetings and concerts and all that that will be having

Poemify Publishers

Interesting. For both artists and spectators, attending a live concert is frequently a memorable occasion. What standout moments occurred during your live performances, and how did you interact with the crowd?

JEPHTHAH IDAHOSA AIGBE

Okay, so I’ve held two concerts now, by God’s grace, both held in ABU Zaria, and they were great. I think for both of them, we had an attendance of over 1,000 people, and it was really, really a great experience. Hundreds of people came out, and I feel it’s always a memorable experience for an artist to hear the songs God gave you in silence. You know, just in that secret place, you and him, and then you hear the people sing them along with you. It’s a beautiful experience for every artist—really beautiful to see others connecting to that little seed that was dropped in your heart at some point in time. 

That will always stand out for me. When I see the people being blessed, people are connecting with the songs, testimonies that came after the concert, people telling how they encountered God, and how they speak to their hearts. 

It was really beautiful to see how people come from far and near. I think this is my last concert. One thing that stood out for me was when someone came all the way from the UK to Zaria just to attend the concert. I was blown away when he told me he was coming. I almost thought it was a joke for him to tell me the week of the concert that he was booking his flight, and before we knew it, he was around in Zaria, and he attended the concert. Some of my people people travelled in from other States in Nigeria just to attend the contact, so it’s really beautiful and humbling to see what God is doing and for me, I know it’s just a training phase, still the beginning so it makes me excited to anticipate the greater things that God will be doing in subsequent meetings and concerts and all that that will be having

To the question of how I interacted with the crowd It’s just by being myself—the usual me—that I try not to put on some kind of facade to minister to people. I want to just be myself and allow the Holy Spirit to do his thing. 

Being myself doesn’t mean I’m inside my strength; I minister by the grace of God and under the anointing of the spirit. So it is like you put on that mantle as it were; you just step into that anointing of the Spirit and minister by the spirit of God. Normally, off the stage, I’m a very soft-spoken person. You may never hear my voice lifted up, but on the stage, there’s that anointing I’m ministering under, and when it comes to just ministers, the Holy Spirit leads us. That’s it I minister singing the songs as He leads us to sing, speak words as it leads me to to speak the words and you just flow.

Poemify Publishers

Okay, what aspects of Nigerian culture and heritage do you, as a Nigerian musician, put into your music? What features of Nigerian music do you think need to be preserved and promoted to a wider audience?

JEPHTHAH IDAHOSA AIGBE

That’s an interesting question. Personally, I don’t try to consciously put Nigerian culture into my music, like I said. For me, the thing that is constant in all of my songs will always be the scriptural foundation of the song, as I said earlier, right? Aside from that, scriptural foundation, excellence of the music, lyrical writing, and all that, I try to make that standard for all my songs, but everything else is a variable.

I’ve done some songs where I put in some afro feel, which is basically African music, not just Nigerian music, so I have at least three songs that have that vibe of afro music; you know, it is just there in the music.

In one of my songs, I sang a part of it in Igbo. By the way, my mom is Igbo, so I sang that song in Igbo.

So, like I said, songs come to me; they just come to me, and I try to interpret what I receive, and, you know, it just flows out, so however it comes to me, that is how I interpret it. When a song comes and if I interpret the song, the inspiration I’m receiving to be something that a Nigerian vibe of music would communicate well, then I’m perfectly okay with it, and I’m going to go all out to express that style of music, but it’s not something I try to always put in my music as a Nigerian musician.

So what features of Nigerian music do I think need to be preserved and promoted to a wider audience? Already, music is doing great in mainstream music, and now even in gospel, we have what we call afro-gospel, and it is already doing great, so let’s just keep doing it.

There are those who, you know, do afro gospel and just stay in afro gospel and not do other genres of music, which is perfectly fine, so we will just keep pushing the music.

One thing that stands out for Africa is the best: the groove and the vibe. That groove that gets you just dancing and all that—you know, that’s what stands out in afrobeat generally, so it’s something that is catching something you know people are latching onto. For some of us, that’s not our primary place. Sometimes God may give us songs that sound like that, but it is not always right. It is actually seldom for me that I get songs like that, so I stay with what God gives me, but I’m fully in support. I love afro-music.

I listen to you know the guys have been able to do beautiful afro music, excellent, godly lyrics and all of that, so I’m all in support of that.

Poemify Publishers

Afro-music is cool. Could you share some insights about the Nigerian music industry? What possibilities and obstacles exist for musicians in Nigeria, and how has the market changed over time?

JEPHTHAH IDAHOSA AIGBE

I see the Nigerian music industry as a world of opportunities, but one of the problems we have at the ground level is largely a lack of structure that can guide young artists who are just starting out to navigate in the industry. I am speaking generally in the industry, but more specifically in the gospel music and industry, because I’m a gospel artist, so I will definitely speak more in the place where I’m much more knowledgeable. A lot of gospel artists, as you know, have passion, zeal, the anointing, and know ministry, yet they have no idea about industry, and they are two different things.

So there’s a world of opportunity out there in the industry, but people just need guidance to be able to navigate it. We don’t have structures that teach people industry in Nigeria; we have established structures that teach industry practically in Nigeria. There are people who are trying to do it little by little, but it has not yet become an established structure, like the way you go to university. For instance, I went to university to study architecture, and then I have the knowledge that I need to go into the field and use Excel as an architect. There’s no system that I know of yet in Nigeria that teaches, you know, that any standardised system teaches the industry current trends, you know, and all of those things and gets young people prepared to know exactly what to do. So I think it’s a world of opportunities, a world of possibilities, but we need more people who can guide us young ones. There are mistakes I made when I started out that I would not have made if I had someone holding my hand and saying this is exactly what to do, and the thing with the industry is those who know, who have done it and have worked for them, and they know these things usually they are the celebrities, they are the ones up there, and they are usually unaccessible to the ones who are the grassroots. So I’m not even saying the celebrities and established artists should teach the younger ones; if they feel led to do it fine, but they hardly even have the time, that’s the thing, so more and more as God is helping me and lifting me, I get to understand more why these people do it the way they do.

Some people say they don’t respond to DMS, they don’t, you know, they don’t this, they don’t that, they hardly have the time, and they have, you know, so many people flooding their DMs and all that, so it is difficult for upcoming artists out there to just get their attention and get their time to learn something. They hardly have the time to give you no like that so but I wish we can have systems like University, a structure that teaches people the industry, the possibilities that are there, the obstacles that are there and I can’t begin to list all of them now but there’s a world of possibilities there so many possibilities and the obstacles that are there to a large extent are obstacles of lack of knowledge lack of understanding of how it works, cause once you can catch that and then you begin to apply the principles, you begin to do the right things, you’re consistent you are diligent and you just trust God, over time you will begin to see results definitely, as long as you do your own but the results are sure to come, it may not come immediately but surely going to come. 

That’s been me, and I’ve just been learning, growing, and applying the things I’ve learned consistently. I’m seeing the results little by little; steady growth just keeps moving, so that’s it.

A very major change is in the era of the internet. Social media revolutionised the music industry undeniably, so social media now has a very great impact on the performance of song artists and all that on the music industry generally. So it’s really changed the market in a very drastic way, so I tell artists now who care to listen that social media is good and that, as an artist in this generation, you can’t afford to not be on social media. Even if you are not that person, get someone to help you just manage your brand over there because it has changed the game largely. It has given, to a great extent, free promotion, free access to interact and connect with fans, connect with people who can resonate with your music, you know, and all of that.

Social media has really changed the game, the internet generally has changed game and we also have platforms now that that enable independent artist to be able to to own their business and and their careers to distribute their music across to earn money from their music without having to go through a record label like in the past it was almost impossible for an artist to become successful independently without been under a major record label but now it’s happening, thanks to the internet and the platforms that have been created that enable independent artists like me to be able to put out their songs their promote their songs by themselves, network connect and market their songs and then you know they see the results so there’s been a lot of change and to a greater extent it is a positive change.

Poemify Publishers

You have already answered the next question on how technology and digital platforms have impacted your music career. The Spirit is leading. It’s great that it is a positive force for reaching a wider audience. We would wrap up this by sharing any upcoming projects or collaborations you are currently working on. What can fans expect from your future releases, and what are your aspirations or goals as a Nigerian musician?

JEPHTHAH IDAHOSA AIGBE

Okay, yeah, I have a lot of projects that I’m currently working on, which will be rolling out for the rest of the year. Yeah, let’s just stay within this year, and definitely things will keep coming, and God gives me a lot of songs. And I am at a place in my life where I believe, you know, Jesus said it is more blessed to give than receive. Personally, I feel it really applies to things like this,  meaning that whatever God has given to you, you received it from God. It is more blessed to give it out, so God gives me a song, and I meant to give it too. God give me an idea. The blessing is not receiving it; it is giving it out to the world, so when God gives me these songs, knowing that he already told me from the beginning that you want me to release them to the body of Christ, I just want to be faithful to just put them out there, and I believe that the more give, the more it comes to me because you Jesus said Give, and it shall be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over shall men pour into your bosom. I am not afraid of running out of songs because I believe I’m connected to the source, so more songs will keep coming, so expect a lot of songs.

For collaborations, I have a few collaborations with some amazing artists that I have worked with and that I’m working with this season, so expect to see some collaborations before the end of the year.

We have music videos and a lot of good stuff coming up. 

My fans can expect to be blessed. Yeah, definitely. I am committed to putting out excellent music, meaningful music, meaningful lyrics, and meaningful words that minister to the hearts of the people that will listen. So I will keep doing that. The songs we sing are songs that would minister life to the people touching different themes, different areas of life and spirituality, and all our spiritual journey, so whatever it is that the song is touching, I believe that when the songs are realised, it will minister to the people in that area.

My aspirations and goals as a Nigerian musician are not just as a musician; every musician wants to be held in the spotlight. I do want to be heard by a much larger audience. Every musician wants the world you know to sing the songs to know their songs, so I want that, and I’m not wanting it just for the sake of wanting it; on my own, I don’t want the spotlight personally. I would have loved God to have just given me a very quiet and successful life. I’ve seen some people like that; they’re not making noise, but they’re successful and comfortable living their lives without being public figures. You know, I would have loved that, but well, it’s a call. We don’t determine the call that we are given, but just have to respond to the call, answer the call and it’s part of my aspiration that millions of people hear me and be blessed

Poemify Publishers

May God give you grace. It was a wonderful time with you, sir. Thank you for your time. We’re glad to have you.

JEPHTHAH IDAHOSA AIGBE

Thank you for having me.

Kathryn Mercy Gabriel
Kathryn Mercy Gabriel
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