‘I want to inspire people through my music’
The Shell Hall of the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos, was beehive of activities recently, as gospel music artiste Sam Okenye launched his much-anticipated album, Take It. The event, which started with a red carpet reception, brought together family members, friends and colleagues of the banker, who came to witness the event.
Though a day dedicated to Okenye, a Deputy Managing Director with one of the leading commercial banks in Nigeria, the evening was spiced with musical performance by notable gospel acts such as Eben, Onos, Efe Nathan and others. Also, comedians such as MC Abbey, who anchored the event, Pencil and others took turns on stage to thrill guests with jaw breaking jokes.
However, highpoint of the evening was the appearance of Okenye on stage for his first performance. Backed by a live band, with his producer Wole Oni on the piano, he performed songs from the new work to the admiration of guests.
“I feel so great; I’m indeed grateful to God. It’s a dream come through. Right from my youth, I knew that God gave me this talent, but then, my professional life didn’t give me time for this. But it got to a point in my life, I just realised that, if I don’t do this, I will have a question to answer when I meet my creator,” he said in an interview with The Guardian.
Aside from his natural talent in the area of entertainment, Okenye informed that, lack of good and inspiring music spurred him to produce his album.
“I know that today, good music is lacking and it’s my commitment to give back to the society. If you are having challenges today, God has the power to turn things around. With God by your side, you can do great things. I’m really glad; it’s a dream come through. This is the mandate God has given me, to go and spread the word through music,” he said.
On how he copes with his job in the bank and playing music, the artiste explained, “as you can see, all my colleagues are here; my boss is here. The reality is that my job takes me from morning and I probably leave around 8pm. But then, on Saturdays, I go to the studio; I sleep there all night. When God has given you a mandate, you need to make certain sacrifices; nothing good comes so cheap. Even on Sundays after service, I go to the studio to work.”
For Okenya, the 10-track album titled Take It, is a dream come true, adding that, “you need to come to the point you realize that God has a good plan for you. The title means take good health; drop sickness. Don’t allow yourself to remain in sickness because, what God assured you is good health. God has good plans for the humanity; so, all we need to do is to embrace that, which He has for us,” he said.
On the choice of Wole Oni to produce the work, he said, “Oh, Wole Oni is a great producer; he produced the album. I’ve worked with another producer before now, but since I met Wole, he has taken my music to the next level; you’ve listened to some of them. I must confess to you, about 10 years back. I did my first album, but I didn’t push it. But I just realised that this is the time. I really thank God that I’ve obeyed Him by getting this album done,” he enthused.
Now done with the formal launch, Okenya is no focusing on the charity angle of the project tagged 50/50.
“It’s a project I conceived years back. When I started off my life, I came to a point where I had challenges; I was in JSS three then. My father took ill and he spent all his fortune just to remain alive; my mum was left to fend for us and I’m the first son. It was even difficult to pay my school fees; I knew what my mother went through. But when I realised God’s grace and how he saw me through, I decided to give back. There are youths out there, who were born to be great, but they are not given the necessary help, they might end up not achieving their destiny,” he noted.
Part of the plan is to use part of the revenue from the album to help humanity
“Today, I’m a profession, I work; I’m a Deputy General Manager in a global bank. But I’ve made a commitment that any revenue I generate using the talent He gave me, I will share it 50/50 with the needy, especially youths, who can’t pay their school fees. There was a point that I needed help and God helped me, so, I’m giving back now,” he said.
A seasoned Cyber Security professional, e-business security strategist, certified information systems auditor, certified risk & control professional, specialist in computer forensics and a Fellow of Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria, Okenye’s professional work experience of over two decades cut across Manufacturing, Consulting and Banking sector.