Dunsin Oyekan is a Nigerian contemporary Christian, a worshipper, singer-songwriter, producer, multi- instrumentalist and recording artist popularly referred to as 'The Eagle'. Oyekan, who is the convener of the Code Red Worship Experience started playing the bass guitar at age 10. His love for music and song-writing can be attributed to his late father who also loved music and encouraged him to learn the guitar. Generally described as an erudite and prophetic worship minister, his lyrics and music are born from the place of encounter and personal walk with God. With over 30 songs to his credit, his debut album Code Red, a 14-track album was released in 2016. Currently on a 'Victory Tour' worship experience with Abuja and Lagos done and dusted, while Kaduna edition is loading with details to be released soon, Oyekan in this interview sheds more light on his career as a gospel artist. Chiemelie Ezeobi brings excerpts:
Dunsin Oyekan has over 30 songs to his credit including Open Up, Imole De,Keiyadosh stiring up revivals everywhere they are heard and sang. In 2016, he performed his single 'Na You' with Kim Burell at The Experience (gospel concert), Africa's largest gospel music concert held annually in Lagos, Nigeria. He has shared stage with gospel music notables including Tasha Cobbs, Kurt Carr, Don Moen, Byron Cage, Tye Tribbett, William Murphy, Kim Burrell, Sinach, FrekeUmoh, Micah Stampley to mention a few. He has been named by Ynaija as one of 100 Most Influential People in Christian Ministry in Nigeria.
What inspired you into doing gospel music?
I started singing and playing the guitar at age 10 but my love for music and songwriting can be attributed to my late father. He was a lover of music and worship, in fact he was the leader of the music group called Spiritual Singers and he really encouraged me to learn the guitar. So growing up all I had ears for and access to was gospel music. I can say that has shaped me and my mind, coupled with the teachings I was exposed to.
Do you have the support of your parents, friends and the industry?
My father always wanted me to do music. In fact, he wanted me to study music in the university but my mother wanted something else. She felt daddy alone should face the ministry thing because of the challenges that comes with it I guess were her reasons. But I kept at the it,always rehearsing and practising my guitar. Few years down the line, mummy realised this is what God had called me for and trust me that today I can tell you I have never enjoyed support from anyone like I have from my family, and also from friends who believe in what I do. As for the industry, well I am in God's industry and support has been great.
What has been the story so far since you ventured into gospel music?
So far I would say God has been good to me. I have just been following Him as He leads. We are not running any man's race. For me seeing Jesus lifted up is the greatest fulfilment. So every time I have the opportunity to stand on any platform or work on any music project, the ultimate is that God is glorified. So the story has been from glory to glory. Yes there are prices to pay, especially if you are one like me who doesn't joke with excellence and we do our best to pay the price.
What is your desire?
My desire is to see another moment of AZUZA revival in this end time as Jesus is lifted up. He has a large heart yearning for youths of his generation as he hopes to see them understand the essence of power and glory that only God can give.
Do you have specific as well as general challenges as a gospel artist in Nigeria?
Well I think one of the major challenges gospel artists in Nigeria face today is getting our songs to play on radio and our videos on television. If you check the ratio compared to secular contents, it's quite discouraging. Thank God for the few Christian tv networks who readily accepts our videos. Terrestrial radio in Nigeria love to play gospel contents mostly on Sunday morning when people are on their way to church, and I ask what happened to other days and belts like they call it in the media. For me that's a major challenge, every other challenges are the usual expected or that any gospel artist should prepare ahead for, it differs too based on persons and kind of music.
It has always been financially challenging for most gospel artists that they end up embracing or crossing over to the secular music. Do you think you can adopt that strategy for financial stability?
With due respect to those who have found themselves in that shoes, for me the answer is a NO; I won't even be thinking about such strategy. Faithful is He that calleth who also will do. God doesn't send you on an errand without adequate supply of all you will need. Am I saying there won't be times that it looks like there are no supplies, No, but fact is different from truth and my truth has been and still is God has been and always faithful. He meets the needs Himself and I am grateful for it. Crossing over is not an option. The assignment is clear and we are following the One who gave the call so until He tells me "I can't meet the needs anymore" which is never going to happen. We are still here.
How many Albums, tracks and how well were they received?
God keeps giving songs and we have recorded a few of them, done mostly live on different platforms. I have released just one album titled Code Red with 14 tracks and a number of singles. The second album is due for release any moment from now.
What are some of your popular tracks and what is the genre as well as central theme(s) and message(s) of your songs?
Popular tracks at the moment I can say are Imode De, Open Up, Keiyadosh, Amazing, If all I say is Jesus, among others actually. It is humbling when I get to places to minister and I raise a song and the whole place is filled with voices from the worshippers. Glory to Jesus. Also, the central theme/message of my songs is the Revelation of Jesus. That Jesus be seen as and for who He truly is to mankind. All I want to see is Jesus Glorified. That's why you'll always catch me saying "We don't sing songs, we sing Revelation"
Any planned concerts, collaborations and ongoing projects?
For me collaborations are born from relationship, as much as I haven't done so much of that, I have done a few with some of my close buddies in ministry. By God's grace we have been hosting a worship experience called CODE RED and we have about nine editions already. We kicked off a Victory Worship Experience Tour just recently with Abuja and Lagos edition done, Kaduna is up next because plans are in progress. Our album release concert is slated for November 3, this year, plans are ongoing as well.
What are the possible opportunities, projects and future plans?
We take it one step at a time. There are more songs to write and release to the world, there are more worship meetings to host, so we don't stop working as God gives us grace. We have plans to create mentorship avenues to build the next generation of ministers. Some times in future, there may be a foundation attached to our ministry just to give back to the people as we are enabled. Once the blue prints have been delivered fully by God, we will set to work.