Sinach: Growing A Spiritual Edifice
Way Maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, light in the darkness, my God that is who you are introduces Sinach’s Way Maker. Viewed over 150 million times on her channel alone, translated to other languages, done as covers, Sinach’s songs have become to the destitute, the downcast, and the uplifted alike; the access to the spirit and energy their hearts have been yearning for.
“It is a blessing knowing that my songs continue to inspire, to make many wealthy, to prosper, to give hope to people.
“Way Maker was written when I was facing a challenge and it became a source of encouragement,” Osinachi Joseph widely known as Sinach tells The Guardian Life.
With over 200 hundred songs in her catalog, thousands of translations and millions of views on several platforms, Waymaker is not her only song that has become an anthem in various nations and households, each like Way Maker, a call to accept the same God she widely professes.
Sinach started singing to her family and friends as a hobby. According to her, her dreams and revelations remained constant: singing to large audiences. She joined the choir of her local church in 1989 believing that this service at the church was a fulfilment of the revelations. But as she sang, her songs started to leave the confines of her local church and spread to other parts of the country and the world. Infact, it was only in 2014 after the release of her album, The Name Of Jesus, that she started to take her music seriously.
“Did you know when it was time to go professional?” I ask.
“I don’t ever think I’ve had a ‘this-is-it’ moment. I’ve just known that I love to sing and this is what I want to do.” “When you are serving, you just want the world to be a part of it.”
Today, her songs such as Awesome God, I Know Who I Am, Overcome, The Name of Jesus, He Did It Again, have raked in over 20 million views each on several music platforms and appear in charts.
Like other professions, artistes around the world struggle with maintaining their sanity and their fan base. For those in the gospel genre, the responsibility is higher. As one of those songs stirs the faith of the Christain faithful, lifting up the spirits, and emotions require more than just lyrics. With thousands lifting up their hands in worship centres and her songs almost becoming a must-have in personal playlists, she says that she doesn’t feel the weight of the responsibility because it “comes from a relationship and is an expression of that relationship.”
“It is encouraging to see how my songs have become impactful in the lives of many who listen to me,” she adds.
Again, due to the genre she is “serving on,” the faith of many is hinged on artistes like her because the words must not only uplift but nurse and heal the needy/hungry hearts. This weight, some artistes, have admitted, makes it difficult for them to breathe, with some giving up the genre for other interests or simply throwing in the towel.
In this regard, Sinach opines, “When you have a personal connection and relationship with God, you will never have a reason to question or doubt your faith. It is important to develop a relationship first before taking up singing,” she tells me.
“The Door No Man Can Shut”
While other songs have made her gain international recognition, most garnering over 20 million views, Way Maker, acclaimed as the most globally successful Nigerian Christian song cleared the path/opened the door in unexpected ways.
In March 2019, Way Maker’s video became the third Nigerian video to have 100 million views on YouTube falling behind Davido’s Fall and Yemi Alade’s Johnny.
In May 2020, Way Maker made achieved another feat after she became the first African to have take the number 1 spot on the Billboard Christain Songwriter’s Chart. What is more? Billboard reports that two covers- Leeland and Michael Smith- of the song “make for a historic double-up on Billboard‘s Hot Christian Songs chart.” She is also the first black to have another two covers- Mandisa and Passion- in the top 40 of the same chart, all at the same time.
Interestingly, Way Maker had stayed 7 weeks on the number 1 spot before she realized it. On her social media page, she wrote, “So apparently, We have been No 1 on billboard USA for Christian song writer for 7 weeks!! Look at God!! First black person First from Africa… So grateful to God.”
Now in its 10th week, she says,
“I am grateful to God that more people are listening to the songs. It means that the good news is being spread and that is the most important of all.”
Then, on May 22, 2020, Forbes published an article, Michael W. Smith’s ‘Waymaker’ Becomes The Go-To Comfort Song In A Global Pandemic sparking comments from people around the globe on intellectual theft. Out of the backlash arose hashtags such as #ProudofSinach, and resulted to a correction Michael W. Smith’s Cover Of ‘Waymaker’ Becomes The Go-To Comfort Song In A Global Pandemic.
I ask if she was bothered about the redirection of the glory for her song. She remarks,
“Take the glory? What do you mean by ‘take the glory?’ [laughs] Look, it is a privilege to know that your work is bigger than your name so I don’t care about who is getting recognised as long as God is being praised, he takes the glory. I also have a management that handles all of my music. So for anyone to record my song, they must have gotten permission from my team, you know what I mean?”
It is almost the same reaction I get from her when I ask her about her personal life. Sinach loves her privacy and would rather talk about her faith in God and how her songs spread the word than project herself.
It is obvious that the gospel genre is in a class of its own. It would seem that the general belief is that the genre has an order: a goal to get listeners and viewers to connect with the spiritual realm first, then the numbers and the monetary value. As such, it is not uncommon to see artistes who started in this genre try their hands on other genres to increase their fanbase. I am interested to know if Sinach has an interest in trying her hands on other genres but it is not something she has considered because “If I was in it for the money, I would have dropped my pen a long time ago.”
Instead, her satisfaction comes from seeing people’s lives wholly changed. Recalling one of the memorable moments she has had, she says,
“In 2019, When I went to India, that’s Delhi in India [she is the first African gospel artiste to tour the nation], I was amazed at the thousands of people that were in attendance. Some came to me to say that my songs have inspired them. Even in Moscow, a lot of people reached out to say that they had changed because the songs had given them hope.”
As an African, this victory is even more particular: she is the instrument used to convey the songs but it is every African’s song and pride.
For those who are trying to break into the genre but are scared of failure, she says that to be a leader, you must first learn the act of service. “I have been serving for over 30 years at my local church. The secret is in service. Just continue to serve, have hope and God will make a way for you”
Despite these achievements, does she ever face any sort of discrimination? She answers me with a quote from 2nd James in the New Testament, “The bible says you will face persecution so I am not in the least worried about that. Your main purpose is to serve God with your songs. I am a Christain first so it doesn’t matter what the world is doing, your concern is to ensure that you are singing and edifying the church.”