Chinaniah is a gospel singer and one that is passionate about being a blessing to humanity. Recently, she released her debut album and in this interview with KAZEEEM YEKEEN, she speaks about her journey into the music ministry and other sundry issues.
Can you tell us about yourself?
My name is Akonjie Stella Ebiagbor. I am a graduate from Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma where I had my first degree in Political Science and later Masters at the University of Lagos. I am the sixth child of my parent who are sadly late.
How did you start your musical career?
When I was growing up, the feelings of been a singer was always on my mind. In short, I had been singing when I was in secondary school because I was a member of my church choir then and since then, I got passionate about singing. I had started writing songs even before I went into the university. I always sing some of my written songs in the church because I was also the choir coordinator in the church.
When did you decide to release an album?
I have had the theme long time ago but I was just waiting for the right time to go into it fully. When the time came, I decided to release the album. I don't sit down to write songs in the album because most of the songs are the challenges that I have faced in life and because of that, writing songs was made easy for me. I used my songs to pass messages to the people.
How did you get the name Chinaniah?
Ebiagbor is my native name which means 'Whom Jehovah is serving'. Chinaniah is a Hebrew word which means 'one who Jehovah establishes'. It connotes my name Stella which means 'star' and both names fit in. So, Chinaniah is someone Jehovah established.
Can you tell us about your album?
Like I said, I faced lots of challenges for which I began to pray and wait on the lord for His intervention. Just then, My pastor, came and said, 'All the songs that you have been writing, it is time for you to go into the studio and work on them'. Before then, other men of God had spoken in that line, even the ones that I knew and those that I don't even know all spoke to me about my musical career.
I joined a ministry led by Pastor Chinenye and every month then, she usually had a programme and in one of those meetings, she told me that I was going to be a preacher. She also ministered to me that before that year runs out that I would come out with an album. That to me was just like a motivational push and I started writing the songs. That was how God started making provisions for the preparation of the album. When I went into the studio and started working on it, it was like a joke but gradually, it has become a reality today.
On the title of the album, 'My Testimony', I am testifying that this God is a living God. He is alive and not dead. When he speaks concerning one's life, it will come to pass. All those things that I was facing and the challenges, He knew about them. He knew when I was formed in my mother's womb and had been encouraging and guiding me in whatever actions that I had taken.
What are the challenges you faced while preparing the album?
I went through a lot of challenges especially in the studio while I was composing the songs. Money was one of the major challenges but I thank God He proved himself to me. It was the lord who said that the album would be released before that year runs out and it came through.
He made everything possible for me and saw me through. The album has twelve tracks with one instrumental making it thirteen tracks. I featured some artistes like Sola Barbs, Bukola Disciple and a reggae guy called Ezra.
What do you do apart from singing?
Beside singing, I work as an administrator in my church the Bethel Ministry International.
Are you into music for the love of money?
I am into music because it is what God has destined me to do in life. My music is also to bring the presence of God to men so that they will have an encounter with him that will transform their lives forever to the glory of God.
Who are your favorite artistes locally and internationally?
My favorite artistes locally and internationally are the likes of Yolanda Adams, an American gospel singer, Frank Edward, the Midnight Crew and Lara George. These people inspire me a lot.
How does being a student of political science and music go together?
Music has been in me right from my childhood days. This, I can say in all sincerity. Going to the university to study Political Science does not mean that I have to be a politician. According to political science, political scientist as those that analyze the politics of the nation and how it should be run. It is just that studying political science has helped and refined me and also makes me function well with my musical career.
Are you married?
(Laughs)... I am still single for now. But when the time comes I will inform you people to come and rejoice with me.
What is your take on the Nigeria music industry?
The Nigeria music industry is fast growing as you can see, It is now more vibrant unlike before. We have those that sing R&B, hip-hop, reggae, afro, gospel and these people are now using their genres of music to pass their message to the masses. I believe that every song has its message and points whether good or bad. Nigeria music industry will continue to grow as time goes on. Music is forever and it will continue to improve progressively.
Were your parents in support of your musical career?
Yeah.......My parents supported me very well. When I was still young, they allowed me to go for rehearsals. They were always happy seeing me ministering the word of God. They had encouraged me a lot.
As a beautiful lady, how do you cope with your male admirers?
Whenever they come you are supposed to know how to handle them as a lady. All I am praying for is that my admirers should always be seeing the glory of God in me.
What will it take a man to woo you?
Everything we do in life is by God's grace even the life we live is by His grace and it will also be by His grace for a man to woo me. My dream man is God's best for me. My dream for Nigeria is to be able for the country to become God's instruments of change to the world.
Can you describe your personality?
I am someone that fears God a lot. My life is very simple and I love being around people all the time.