Bolaji Olanrewaju is a certified Estate Surveyor. But he is a full time Music Minister. He was converted and raised at the headquarters of The Sword Of The Spirit Ministries under the strict tutelage of Bishop Francis Wale Oke. He is an ordained minister with the Redeemed Christian Church of God, and has been serving with the ministry for the past 19 years. Olarewaju Bolaji popularly called Big B (Big Bolaji) a member of the board of directors for the Living Spring Music Festival which has been in existence for the past 36 years. He is also the visioner of Turn It Up, a radio programme which features music, interviews, comedies, inspirational words from prominent and seasoned speakers. He is a well traveled minister of the gospel, who is making great impact both within and beyond, an erudite worship leader, a Psalmist and Levite unto God with a unique blend of humour. He’s married to Tolulope and blessed with 2 children. Recently Big B spoke to City People Magazine about his life & career.
Can we meet you, sir?
My names are Bolaji Adedotun Olarewaju.
What was your growing up like?
Ahhhhh all the challenges of growing up noni ooo, but my childhood memories are great, it was a lot of work growing up on a poultry farm but the training of the early days keep me till date.
Are you married?
Yes I am married. It’s my 11th year this year
Tell us about your first experience on stage.
wow, that was a while back , well over 30 years now, I can’t remember all the emotions i experienced but I remember the ovation, it wasn’t a gospel performance then, it was a performance for the end of the year party of my college in London.
What were the challenges you faced at the beginning?
The challenges were many like staying true to the call, putting a team together, understanding the plan and dictates of the word, financial challenges and balance…. but truly, in all I faced, the word of God was key to bringing me out.
Who is your role model(s) in and outside the industry?
I have many oooo, but to mention a few, my elder brother Muyiwa Olanrewaju, Panam Percy Paul. Mummy Toun Soetan. Pastor Steve Bamimuye. Bishop Wale Oke, Daddy Adeboye, Daddy Abiara, Mama Bola Are, Pastor Femi Atoyebi, Pastor Lanre Jooda.e.tc.
What is the most embarrassing thing a fan did to you?
Jumping on my back to take a picture, I was so shocked, and the first time a fan would hand me a gift when coming off the stage , that was also quite shocking
What’s your definition of Style.
Comfort, Sleek, and Godly
What’s your assessment of the Gospel music industry in Nigeria today?
In Nigeria the gospel scene is getting much better. We just pray for a better control structure and for true connection with the Holy Spirit, many gospel songs lack this. It can still be a great dance song yet carry weight and depth.
Where do you see the Gospel Music industry in Nigeria in the next 10 years?
Better than now by the special grace of God, if the Lord tarries.
What role(s) can the Gospel Music industry play in the development of Nigeria?
Same role as the church: to Instruct, to reform, and to refresh. Our ability to get this done would go a long way to building and stability of our nation.
Tell us what people don’t know about you?
I love my chilling time a lot. I don’t like to hear any form of Loud music once am not on stage , no sound , no music , just simple quiet chilling .
How do you unwind?
I love watching movies when I’m at home with my wife and kids, I seldom go out once am back from the weekend schedule
How did “Turn it up with Big B” start? What was the idea behind it?
A few years ago at the inception of the Osun State Radio in Osogbo many years back I wanted to have a Sunday program for many who don’t go to church on Sundays , but they wanted me to be doing it live always and that wouldn’t work with me. The opportunity to visit the idea came again 7 years ago with Splash Fm 105.5 and we started it then and it’s been Good and God ever since.
What made you go into music? And what year?
Music has always been a part of me right from my primary school days. I guess this is because my late mother Rev Mrs Sola Olarewaju had the Arts flowing through her vein (Music, Drama, Poems and more)
What kind of music do you sing?
I do Gospel music and we minister through gospel music on all the platforms made available to us be it a party, church , crusade , Disco hall , anywhere am allowed to step into will get a feel of the brand, which is gospel music .
How did you have your big break?
I wouldn’t say there was a big break as such, just consistent benefits that got bigger, and my contacts with Bishop Francis Wale Oke, the presiding bishop of The Sword of the spirit Ministries changed my life. My Years with Rev Sam Rotimi Ore fanned the flame to fire and my contact with The Redeemed Christian Church Of God , under the grace of Pastor EA Adeboye turned my ministry around . So you see it’s a string of benefits and access that God gives me daily.
Take us back to the very beginning, where were you born? Where did you grow up and the schools attended?
Bolaji Adedotun Olanrenwaju whose eulogy ( Oriki ) is Alani omo Erin tin jogun Ola grew up in Ibadan Oyo State, but am from the loins of Osun State, Gbongan, I attended nursery and primary school in Ibadan , at Subuola Nursery and Primary School. I attended, Loyola College for one term and continued to complete my secondary school education in London at Archbishop Tensions High School Oval, London and rounded up my higher education in Nigeria and graduated as an Estate Surveyor from the Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin. I also have my other Professional exam qualifications. My educational journey has been quite interesting because I am not done yet I have PHD in view.
Who were those you grew up to like and emulate in music?
Wow! I grew up listening to amazing music from the likes of the late Ayinde Barrister, King Sunny Ade, Alhaji Kollington Ayinla, Ebenezer Obey, Good Women Choir, Mama Bola Are, Evangelist Toun Soetan, Panam Percy Paul, and many on the international scene . But my mentors in Gospel music are my elder brother Muyiwa Olanrewaju, Panam Percy Paul. Mummy Toun Soetan. Pastor Steve Bamimuye.
How come you live in Ibadan?
Hahahahaha It’s where I have the comfort and peace to be my base. Once my guide and partner, The Holy Spirit, says to move to any other part of the country or world, I shall run there expressly.
You have a unique voice and a rich Yoruba intonation. How did you achieve that?
The voice is a gift from God oo. And I am Yoruba by birth and I love the Yoruba language, hence my love for the music and person of Sister Tope Alabi and Sister Sola Allyson.