The desire to sing and worship God inspires me – Ngozi Orji
With over 100 movies to her credit, both as an actress and a costume designer, actress cum gospel singer, Ngozi Orji is the wife of cerebral actor, Zack Orji. She is on the verge of creating her own empire in the Nigerian gospel music. In this interview, she opened up on her evolution into gospel music and other things.
Who is Ngozi Orji?
Ngozi Orji is a mother, an actress, a costume designer and a gospel artiste. I have always been singing as I have sung all my life, but professionally, my singing career dates back to 20 years ago. I started as a chorister at Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship, then Word Base Assembly, and now in Powerline Bible Church Lagos, where at different times, I was a worship leader and praise minister. I have also been a guest artiste at different churches on different occasions. My career as a gospel artiste has taken me to different countries. For example, I have been to the United Kingdom, Ghana, among other countries to minister. I believe it is time for me to do a compilation of all the songs I have written and composed over the years, and bless the world with them; praise the Lord with the songs and express my gift on a larger scale by extending it to a wider audience. I’m a graduate of Secretarial Studies from the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu. After my graduation, I attended the Piscean School of Fashion, Ikeja, Lagos, where I hone my skill in costume designing. I also studied English at the University of Lagos, Akoka, and I graduated in the year 2000.
Can you share with us your evolution into gospel music?
My evolution in the genre dates back to the early 90’s. At the time, I belonged to the music group known as The Rock Foundation. I would say that entertainment is in our genes, because my son Lionel is also into music. I feel blessed to have him; he is a very gifted young man with about five singles to his credit and three videos. He is also one of my producers; he produces most of my songs. He is very talented and I thank God for him. I couldn’t have asked God for a better son than him.
What inspires your songs?
My inspiration comes from God, because he is the giver of inspirations. The desire to praise and worship God for who he is in my life and what he has done for me also inspires me. My family equally inspires my songs. Sometimes, I use songs as my own way of talking about my personal experiences in life, what I have gone through and what other people have gone through in their own lives. In addition, the need to use my songs to encourage other people to have faith and trust in God equally inspires me. I believe that in everything we should give God praise.
What is your take on gospel artistes not getting corporate endorsements like their counterparts in secular music?
I think it’s a corporate policy thing; this is my personal opinion, I’m not generalizing. Some of these corporate bodies do not want to spend their money on gospel artistes. Perhaps they feel they might not make reasonable returns or the music might not give their brands the desired mileage or clout they might get from secular musicians. Without sounding immodest, of a truth, gospel music has a limited audience, unlike secular artistes that enjoys the patronage of all segments of the Nigerian public. Another reason might be the fact that most of them want to separate religion from business. They are there for business, and are not ready for any religious controversy, which might have a negative spillover effect on their brands. However, I think we will get there; it’s a gradual process.
Take gospel music out, how would you describe yourself?
If you take gospel music out of my life, I will not be complete, because gospel music is what I love doing. I have other talents, but most of all, I love to sing more than anything else. Gospel music is the part of me that always connects me to God. It is the part of me that God uses to reach out to other people to bless them. So I would say that without gospel music, I am very empty and incomplete because, it is the one thing that gives me joy. It gives me a lot of joy to see people respond and blessed whenever I minister or ministering. I have other talents like acting and I went to a fashion school, where I train costume designers. I have actually acted in, and costumed over 100 movies. I’m also a businesswoman, I run a fashion boutique and I’m also into interior decoration.
What was your growing up like? Was music what you had in mind, and did your parents encourage your singing ambition?
Talking about my background, I was born into an average Christian family of six children — four girls and two boys; I’m the first daughter. Growing up was fun, but not that easy as my father was a no-nonsense disciplinarian. He brought us up with the proverbial ‘iron hand’. I would say that the upbringing I got from my family helped in shaping me to become what I am today. Like I said, my dad was a strict and a no-nonsense man; he was just interested in our education, any other talent was never to be mentioned. He encouraged me after my secondary education, when he felt I had matured enough to choose a career. So, I will say yes, but as you know, we propose and desire as humans, it’s only God that decides and approves.
When is your album gracing the shelves and what should your fans expect?
My full album will drop sometime next year. Right now, I have two singles, titled: Chimnonso and I Run Into Jehovah, which are enjoying massive airplay in radio and television stations. I sing in Igbo, Pidgin and English because I need to cut across to everyone. I’m looking at doing a new song in Yoruba. The idea is to reach everybody and express the gospel. In one of the songs, I featured a popular Ghanaian singer. Even though the song is done in Igbo, the video is subtitled in English for everybody to understand.
What is your advice to the Nigerian youths?
Whenever I’m given the opportunity to address the youths, I have this to say: always believe in yourselves, have faith and trust only in God, as he is the only one that cannot fail you. Never give up on your dreams and never lose hope. When there is life there is hope, never compromise. Don’t trade your destiny for anything, and no matter how difficult the situation might be, he will always make a way when you least expect it. Always dream big and trust God, as all things are possible with him.
How do you feel to be the wife of one of Nollywood’s celebrities and veteran actor, Zack Orji?
I feel good; I am blessed to have him. He is a good husband, gentleman and a good father to our kids.