‘I know who I am’ – Sinach
Nigerian gospel singer Osinachi Kalu, popularly known as Sinach, has been singing for more than 20 years with ‘I Know Who I Am’ as her biggest hit so far.
Boniface Nyaga caught up with her while she was in the country last week and found out why she will never sing in a night club and how she remains focused.
Is this your first time in the country, what do you think of Kenya so far?
Yes it is. I’ve wanted to come for a long time and we got many invitations, but this was the right time and we thank God for it. Kenyans are very warm people, they have an infectious smile and I have been received so well. Everybody is happy to see me.
You have been singing for more than 20 years and people just started to discover you, how does it make you feel when people think you are an ‘overnight sensation’?
Well I have been singing in church since 1989. At first I saw it as a hobby, but my pastor called me out and showed me it is a ministry. My initial plan was to fly out of the country after finalising my physics degree but Pastor Chris invited me to serve in the ministry.
If it wasn’t for him I would have probably never discovered my gift. Serving in the church has given me a solid foundation that helps me stand strong. People may have just heard of me in the last four years but I have been around for much longer.
Where do you draw your inspiration for your music?
I am a servant of the people and so I try to cater to their needs. In my travels, I have realised that everybody needs encouragement, there is so much going on, people just need healing and hope. That is what I package in my music, and people connect with my songs because that’s what it is, good news, something that inspires them and lifts them up. My music comes from the sermons I hear from my pastor, I have grown up in the church and that is the inspiration for what I do.
“I know who I am” is your biggest hit so far, how long did it take you to write and how personal was it for you?
I wrote it while preparing for a youth concert back at home in 2012. The idea was to put an upbeat track that would excite the youth, we finalised it but we ended up not singing it at the event. Later on we were doing a live recording in South Africa and we included it. It became an instant hit and it was not until last year that I did a complete video.
What do you think about your songs playing in the clubs?
Everybody needs God. The message of the Gospel is for everyone, which is why I sing in a language that everybody can understand. However as a gospel artiste I have no business performing in clubs. That is not my place. A gospel artiste who sings in clubs is like a toilet brush that is in the sitting room.
With fame, controversy has also followed you, how do you respond to accusations about being a home wrecker?
I always focus on what I am doing, everything else is secondary, and my job is to produce quality music that is inspired by the Holy Spirit. Church also has its drama, but that doesn’t stop me from doing what I am called to do, I just keep my eyes focused on the main thing.
Your songs are global church anthems, how does it feel to have such a global reach? Where are you most well received?
People recognise me everywhere I go so it’s hard sometimes when I’m trying to have a private moment with my husband, family or friends. Fans will always approach me and request to have a picture but I understand their excitement, my music obviously means a lot to them.
‘I know who I am’, is really a global anthem, kids sing it in schools across the globe. It’s always surprising to go to a country I have never been to and find them singing my songs. The largest crowd I have ever performed to was in Nigeria, it was at Pastor Chris’s crusade. I am humbled that God would use me in this way, but I know there is more to come.
Gospel artistes are often accused of not being authentic, and singing for showbiz, what is your view on this?
They need to remember that they are Christians first and artistes second. All gospel artistes need to serve in church so as to receive discipleship. Some of them are not mature christians, that is why they fall into some things, and the media is there to magnify it.
Nonetheless failing in one area doesn’t mean they are not Christians. The grace of God covers our sins and restores us so we shouldn’t be too hard on them also. Of late I have been mentoring various artistes from all over world who want to reach where I have reached.
I advice them to know their season, if something is not working don’t force it. Know when to wait and when to move, know where and for whom you are called. Sometimes all you need is one word from God and I always pray that my artistes will walk in wisdom.
I also advice them that excellence commands attention, you have to work hard to be the best at what you do. Artistes need to believe in themselves, put your own money into your music. Don’t depend on sponsors to get you to the next level. Invest in yourself.