Nigeria's Top 10 Gospel Artists

Frank Edwards, Tope Alabi, Sinach, Buchi, Others Make Connect Nigeria’s Top 10 Gospel Artistes

 gospel top 10 Connect Nigeria

Michael Abimboye

In Nigeria, Gospel music has mostly had to take the back seat especially as it concerns constant airplay and financial success. This is in spite of the fact that Nigerians are faithful adherents of two of the largest religions in the world. Occasionally, some Gospel artistes have had to add some flavour of secular music to their works to give it a broad appeal. But beyond the fact that the artistes on the Gosepel scene are largely overlooked for major concerts and endorsement deals by corporate firms, it is imperative to point out that they contribute in no small measure to upholding societal values and morals, while reinforcing the need to live a life that is praiseworthy to God and to humanity. In honour of these artistes, Connect Nigeria takes a look at ten artistes that stand out in present times.
Though there are other artistes that are considered honourable mentions good enough to be on this list, the compilation was carefully conducted by Connect Nigeria’s beat reporter, Michael Abimboye with consultation on listeners’ preferences. Tweet at him @mmakesense on Twitter if your favourite Gospel artiste is missing on the Top 10!

Frank Edwards
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Nicknamed Rich boy, Frank Ugochukwu Edwards, a member of Christ Embassy Church in Nigeria is signed to the church’s LoveWorld Records. Frank, a talented instrumentalist, broke into the scene with his debut album, The Definition, which was released in 2008. Frank returned to the studio and in 2010 and produced his second album, Angels on the Runway; he hit the market with another, ‘Unlimited’, in 2011.
Frank began singing at the age of ten years as he learnt how to play the piano from his father. Currently, he has four albums to his credit, with the latest one ‘Tag Jam’ released in November 2011 which took frank to the A-class of  Gospel artistes. He also made a cameo appearance in label mate Sinach’s video ‘I know who I am’.
In May 2011 he was nominated as the Gospel Artiste of the Year at the 6th Annual Nigeria Entertainment Awards (NEA). He won the award for the Best Gospel Rock Artiste in the 1st edition of the awards. He also won West Africa Best Male Vocalist in 2012 and Best Hit Single at the Love World Awards 2012.  Frank also bagged three awards at the Nigeria Gospel Music Awards (Male Artiste of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Male Vocal).

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Also signed to LoveWorld Records and a key member of the music team at Christ Embassy, Sinach has become a household name in Nigeria. She has over 200 songs to her credit, including  ‘Awesome God’, ‘Simply Devoted’, ‘I am Ready for Your Spirit’, ‘Shout of the King’, ‘All Things are possible’, ‘Born to Win’, ‘Fire in Me’, ‘More of You’, ‘No Failure with God’, ‘This is Your Season’; also winning the Song of the Year, Song Writer and Vocalist of the Year’ at the Love World Awards.
Inspired by the ministry of the word by her Pastor, Sinachi also ministers as a vocalist and worship leader of Christ Embassy, alongside LoveWorld Music team. Through her Godly talent, she has ministered to millions of people all over the world in mega programs such as Night of Bliss with Pastor Chris, Word at Work conventions with Pastor Chris, Youth Conferences with Pastor Chris, The Higher Life Conference, The Christ Embassy Healing School and many other programs by Pastor Chris with record attendances reaching millions.

Lara George
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Regarded as one of the classiest Nigerian Gospel artistes, this multi-talented singer, producer and music director has a spell-binding and captivating voice, she was a member of the former KUSH group which was one of the contemporary Gospel music groups in Nigeria in the early 2000s. Lara released her first solo album in 2007 titled Ijoba Orun. The single was a hit and it still enjoys a huge support and airplay on radio stations, churches and homes.
The Lagos born singer and fourth child of five children developed passion for music while she was a member of the choir at her alma mater Queens College, Yaba Lagos, and kicked off her music career as a professional in 1997. She released her first hit single, ‘Ijoba Orun’ in 2007 and has since released hits like, ‘Orin’ ‘I will write a song’, ‘Season’, ‘Fig Tree’, ‘Forever in my Heart’, ‘I can’, ‘Ko ma si’ {Nobody like you}, ‘More than anything’, ‘Higher’, ‘Rise’, and ‘Higher’.
In 2008, the graduate of Law from the University of Lagos released her second album, Forever in my heart’, which won her several awards, including the 2008 Voice of the Year Award at the Nigerian Music Awards, Female Artiste of the Year at the 2009 Nigerian Gospel Music Awards. Lara returned with a 14 track album in July 2009, which features Lord of Ajasa, and Midnight Crew’s Pat Uwaje. The album contains hit songs like ‘Run with You’ and ‘Ko le baje’.
Lara is married to Gbenga George and blessed with a son – Adeoba Alexander George. Her last album which was released in 2012 was titled ‘Higher’. Her husband, a legal practitioner also doubles as her manager.

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Born in Kaduna, Nigeria to parents of Abia State origin, Buchi’s early education began in Enugu and took him through Methodist College, Uzuakoli and Federal Government College, Enugu. In 1983, he came to Lagos to study English Language and Literary Studies at the University of Lagos, where he obtained a BA in 1986 and a MA in 1988. Later in the same year, he took up an appointment to lecture at the same institution while studying for his doctorate degree. Buchi remained at the Department of English until 1994 when he yielded to the higher calling to propagate the Gospel of Jesus through writing and singing in the reggae genre.
While in the university, his casual involvement in black activism through reggae club grew more intense after listening to Oliver Thambo and the officials of ANC (African National Congress) from South Africa during the club’s exhibition on “Apartheid in South Africa”. Again, having studied the black activism literature of Dennis Bruts, Wole Soyinka, Muta Baruka and the likes, Buchi’s preoccupation with reggae music as an “outcry against oppression” became deeper. Little wonder he also became involved in one of the campus’ confraternities which at the time prided itself as an anti oppression movement. This preoccupation with reggae music took a new turn when his friend Ras Kimono invited him to join the team of deejays on the Floating Bukka – a reggae nightclub situated on a docked vessel in Marina, Lagos Island.
Foremost on the list of Buchi’s strong musical influences are Eric Donaldson, Joseph Hills, Burning Spear and Frankie Paul. In 1992, Buchi gave his life to Jesus Christ at the Christ Embassy Church and transferred himself from the nightclub to the choir of that ministry where he has remained till date. His first album released in 1999 (These Days) second album released in 2002 (So Beautiful) third album released in 2005 (What a Life). Buchi is married to Jane and they have four children. He has ministered in church concerts including Reinhard Bonnke’s stadium-packed outreaches. Multiple award winner including prestigious AMEN for Best in Gospel Category, 1999 Faith, POMP and TOMA Awards for Best Artiste, Reggae Artiste and Gospel Album of the Year variously.

Midnight Crew
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Midnight crew, the faith-based musical group founded in 2001 when Patricia Uwaje King, Gbenga Oyebola, Odunayo Ojo and Mike Abdul teamed up is its 13 years of existence and has released four albums within the period: ‘Fusion’, ‘Tungba Unlimited’, ‘Igwe’ and ‘King Of Nations’.
Describing their music as eclectic, robust and full of character, taking something from every genre of music available, the crew has performed at several enviable platforms alongside Gospel music greats including Lionel Peterson, Mary Mary, Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, Panam Percy Paul, Kurt Carr, Ron Kenoly, Bob Fitts, Ebenezer Obey, Israel Houghton, Tye Tribbett, Sammie Okposo, Fred Hammond and Don Moen.
The award-winning crew is also socially responsible as it lends helping hands to the helpless children of Koma Hills, helping to tell the world that these children still need clothes, medical care and formal education.
The Crew has won several national and international awards including Music Group of The Year: City People Awards, 2009; Gospel Artiste of The Year: Nigerian Entertainment Awards (USA), 2009; Best Traditional Song: Nigerian Gospel Music Awards, 2009; Most Popular Song of The Year: Nigerian Gospel Music Awards, 2009.
Other awards won are: 2009 Album of The Year at the Nigerian Gospel Music Awards; 2010 Best Non-UK based group at the Africa Gospel Music Awards UK; 2010 Best Non-UK Song of the Year at the Africa Gospel Music Awards UK amongst others.

Chris Morgan
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The name Chris Morgan Abah Ochogwu might not sound familiar, but this talented Gospel singer, songwriter, composer, and performer is the brain behind “WORSHIP ON THE HILLS OF AFRICA”, a vision that is dedicated to raising people to worship God in spirit and in truth.
The Orokam-born Benue State singer is no doubt an accomplished music minister, whose songs are filled with the divine presence of God, with great lyrical depth and inspiration and a great message of hope for our generation. Morgan has also ministered on the same platform with great international Gospel singers. Since stepping into the Gospel podium, the Ifeoma crooner has continued to carve a niche for himself by marking the beginning of a new worship trend in Africa.
The Abuja-based gospel artiste is happily married to Queen Eunice.

Nathaniel Bassey
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Nathaniel Bassey, born in Lagos, Nigeria makes the list of Connect Nigeria’s top 10 Gospel was a minister in The Apostolic Church Bashua Assembly before taking up the position of director of music at the Redeemd Christian Church of God, developed a love for both music and the Gospel at a very young age.
According to the young music minister, he was inspired when he saw Dr Panam Percy Paul, a prominent Nigerian Gospel music icon in concert over twenty years ago and since then, his passion for music has grown and translated into various musical experiences.
Nathaniel’s debut album ‘Elohim’ was recorded and mixed in Cape Town, South Africa in the year 2008. It has been described as a spiritual and artistic masterpiece with the hit track ‘Someone’s knocking at the door’ a soft-rock tune currently generating so much interest locally and internationally.

Joe Praize
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Joe Praize, singer and song writer, also belongs to the Christ Embassy Love World. Born Joseph Omo Ebhodaghe, the acclaimed Gospel music minister who hails from Edo State released his debut album, ‘My Praise’. Joe Praize has performed around the world including cities like Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria, KZN – all in South Africa, and countries like Canada, United Kingdom, United States, Nigeria, Ghana.
The award-winning singer bagged the 2010 song of the year award at the prestigious Love World Awards for the song ‘Mighty God’ which is the fifth track on his album ‘My Praise. He was also nominated for Best African Gospel by SABC Crown Gospel Award in 2011.

Tope Alabi
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She holds sway when it comes to singing Gospel in Yoruba language with over five albums to her credit and over 800 movie sound tracks.
The beautiful music minister who hails from Yewa, Imeko of Ogun State joined the then Jesters International, a theatre group with acts such as Jacob, Papilolo and Aderupoko at Ibadan and since then, she has distinguished herself as both a talented actress and singer.
Tope Alabi is a pacesetter of soundtrack makers in the Yoruba Home Video Industry.

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Samsong is a dynamic Nigerian Gospel artiste based in Abuja, Nigeria. He has had a successful recording career with radio hits like ‘Bianule’, and a handful of accolades such as The Psalmist Award in 2000, and recently being nominated for the Best Gospel Artiste by the Nigerian Entertainment Awards (NEA) in New York in 2008. He has graced the stage with Gospel greats like Marvin Winans, Donnie McClurkin and Panam Percy Paul, as well as successful mainstream artistes like Donnell Jones, Kenny Lattimore, 112, TuFace, D’Banj, Faze, and Styl Plus.
Born Samson Uche Mogekwu in Delta State, Nigeria. He discovered his talent for singing while in high school. It was also in high school he was adobted the stage name Samsong.
In 1991, he formed a quartet known as Praise Creation and  got signed to Ivory Music Label with a debut album in 1996 titled ‘Best of Life’. The group however broke up and Samsong became a solo artist, releasing his debut album in 2002, which was titled ‘Count Your Blessings’. His album was a success, garnering airplay, and resulting in winning The Psalmist Award that same year.
His sophomore album was released in 2004, ‘titled Still Counting’. He continued his award winning streak, snagging The Best Male Vocalist of the Year Award at Today’s Music Award in 2004, and Best Male Vocalist of The Year Award in 2005 at The Amen Awards. Samsong had become a bona fide celebrity and Gospel star at this point, having songs and videos in rotation on radio and TV, while receiving top billing at concerts.
At The Vigoma Awards in 2005, he received The Best Video of The Year Award. His third release which was titled ‘The World of My Dreams’ was issued in 2007 and was his most ambitious release yet. It featured a remake of the mega hit ‘One Love’ by music icon Onyeka Onwenu, in which he performed a duet with her. The album also had a collaboration where Samson recorded the track ‘Live Right’ with Styl-Plus.
His ambitious output was recognized as he was awarded with The Grace Honorary Award for Excellence in 2007. In 2008, he was nominated for The Best Gospel Artiste at The Nigerian Entertainment Awards (NEA) held in New York City. He embarked on an international tour to promote his album, with stops at South Africa, the United Kingdom and Germany. In Germany, he had recorded and performed with Chris Lass, the famous German Gospel producer and artiste.

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