Agnes shows gratitude through music
While many ladies in her condition are at street corners begging for alms, Agnes Olubunmi Dada despite all odds is putting her gift and passion into use; sing to thrill guests at big events and also to tell the whole world that there is ability in disability. Apart from performing on stage before large audiences both within and out the country, the blind singer writes her songs with the help of her Braille and other gadgets, including the computer.
Visually impaired, Agnes makes use of her other sense organs — feel, hear and smell — to get inspiration and write her songs. “I need not to be sighted to get to get inspiration. I write all my songs and get inspirations from things around me and through the study of the Holy Bible. I got the inspiration of Gbemisola from the Bible, the song talks about how God made man, how He pronounced some blessings on man and how man is a carrier of those blessings, which are like honey,” she said.
Started singing as a child in her primary school days in the Paceli School for the Blind, Surulere, Lagos, Agnes carried her hobby to her secondary school, where she sang in the school choir and from there moved to the Federal College of Education Special, Oyo State, where she studied theatre arts.
“Music is an in-built thing for me, I can’t run away from it, yet I can’t explain why I am so much involved in it. I started singing in my primary school days, where I was a member of my school choir. In the College of Education, I was the lead vocalist of the Redeemed Campus choir and was always invited to minister in different campus fellowships,” she revealed.
Agnes, who became blind at the age of three as a result of the attack of measles, recently released her third album, Gratitude, produced by Tyanx. The song, which is done to appreciate God for His mercies, is gaining grounds among gospel music lover within and outside the country.
“I wrote the songs with the help of my braille, computer and ipad. My ipad has an in-built software that enables me to do different things. I wrote the songs; it is unlike my previous CD that someone wrote some of the songs,” she said.
Many a time, mangers/producers rip off artistes under their control, but Agnes said with her situation, she has never suffered such and does not see it coming her way. According to her, she has to record with big names in the industry to avoid being rip off.
“Big names in the industry are interested in their names and would not tarnish their reputation for money. Though, they are expensive, they will surely protect your works,” she noted.
The Ogun State-born gospel artiste and National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), English language graduate disclosed that she is the first child and the only physically challenged person in her family. She said: “I have all the support and encouragement of my family members; they are my number one fans. They would do anything to make me happy.”
Agnes whose major challenges are fund and easy mobility for shows revealed that she looks forward to impacting on her community.
“Apart from music, I have the vision of reaching out to the less privileged in the society, those in the orphanages, the prisoners and others. Last year, I organised a programme for the Motherless Babies Home tagged ‘Come Worship The King. This year, I look forward to organising a similar programme for Kirikiri Prisons inmates.
“The programme aims at elevating the spirits of the inmates, give them hope to live and bring them to Christ because when they leave the prison, they will come to live with us,” she said.
As part of ways to show gratitude to those that have impacted on her, especially the Niger Wives (non-Nigerian women married to Nigerians) that have empowered many blind and physically challenged people in diverse areas including how to use the computer, the songwriter and singer plans to hold concert on her birthday, which will be on September 1 for them.
Agnes was recently in the United Kingdom to thrill her fans. Commenting on the trip, she said, “my first trip to United Kingdom was for a concert while the second trip was for London Worship Experience organised by my facebook friend, Mr. Bolaji Mogaji. When Mr. Mogaji posted that his organisation is doing a concert and I registered, people though he was fake, so I got his number and confirmed the genuineness of the concert.”
Did it not occur to you to stay in the UK and never come back to Nigeria? “I won’t lie, it did, but let me tell you one thing; anytime, any day, I like Nigeria. It’s just our environment that is not friendly; it cannot be compared to what I saw in the UK. While in the UK, I went for shopping myself, took the bus and moved around without help. Things were really easy for people like me.
“ Despite all that I just have to come back to Nigeria because I am not a UK citizen. Secondly, I do not have a residential permit, so, I would not want anybody to be chasing me up and down. Besides, I am a Nigeria and God knows why He made me a Nigerian.
Commenting on her music she said, “gospel music is my calling and I can do it in any form — reggae, rap, R‘n’B and others. And I can listen to Mololorun in the Alive album over and over. I also like Oda Oyin Si Ola Mi, it is a local Oyo track, but Gratitude is to thank God for His mercy and blessing in my life and family.”
Regardless of her physical challenges, the songwriter and singer looks forward to getting to the pinnacle of her music career.
“I see myself soaring high like the eagle in the next 10 years, that is the reason I used eagle as my logo. Though, the environment is discouraging, I would not allow the challenges that are associated with it to pull me down. I also want youths suffering from one form of physical challenge to never give up on hope; they should think positive and remain focused.”
However, when not playing music or in one concert or the other the songbird is busy working on beads, using it to make earrings, necklace and other fashion embellishments.