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Janet Otieno to Willy Paul and Bahati: No sober gospel artiste leaves ministry

By Sinda Matiko September 20th, 2023 2 min read

Renowned gospel singer Janet Otieno has spoken out against artists who have transitioned from gospel to secular music, emphasizing that true gospel artists should never abandon their faith-based calling, no matter how challenging the journey becomes.

In a candid statement, the “Napokea Kwako” hitmaker underlined the divine aspect of gospel music, stating, “Gospel is essentially doing God’s work; it’s a divine mandate. Ultimately, you will be held accountable. Being a gospel singer means God entrusts you with His ministry. Therefore, shifting from gospel to secular raises the question, ‘Who called you?’ If it’s God, there should be no room for crossing over.”

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Janet Otieno firmly believes that artists who switch from gospel to secular music were never genuine gospel artists to begin with. She suggested that such individuals may have entered the gospel music scene with motives unrelated to their faith, such as pursuing financial gain or fame.

“When you find yourself singing gospel without a true calling, it means you came with your own agenda. It could be about making money, seeking fame, or simply wanting something other than doing God’s work. And when you don’t achieve what you set out for, you may feel compelled to venture into the secular realm to fulfill your desires,” she explained.

Over the years, several Kenyan artists who initially gained recognition in the gospel music industry have transitioned to secular music.

Among them are Willy Paul and Bahati, who began their careers as gospel artists before making the shift.

Recently, Tanzanian gospel star Christian Shusho, who frequently visits Kenya, defended the Kenyan gospel industry during her stay in the country.

Shusho expressed her belief that the Kenyan gospel music scene is still thriving, despite occasional setbacks.

“My perspective is that Kenyan gospel music is doing well. While there may have been a few missteps along the way, the industry remains intact. There are still a few dedicated artists who have remained true to their calling. I can assure you there are some good remnants here, including Mercy Masika, Daddy Owen, Guardian Angel, and others. There is quite a number,” Shusho affirmed.

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