These are very delicate seasons where hopelessness is the order of the day. These are periods when hunger, hate, death, violence, insecurity, corruption, drug and many other social vices look just normal, what is the hope and light available for a hungry soul in need of love, compassion and help divine?
Sometimes one begins to wonder if there is truly a God who deserves our attention. However, fast-rising gospel star Funmilayo Anihundidun in her debut single titled ‘Adore’ has opened the of hope and love to many as she expresses a deep feeling of passion for her creator who despite all challenges of life gives hope to all.
Adore is a song of love, Adore is an inspiration, Adore is a song of hope, Adore is a song of worship but beyond these, Adore makes you understand that you are not alone in any situation you find yourself. There is a great had upholding you.
In an exclusive interview she granted City People, Funmi Ani opened up on how the most talked about gospel single was received, enjoy the excerpts below.
Can we meet you?
I’m Funmilayo Anihundidun, I’m a lover of God, music and a very inquisitive person. I love research and I also love encouraging people to enable them become who they want to be.
What was growing up for you like?
I had my pry and secondary education in Lagos and off to Ondo state, Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba-Akoko to bad my first degree in Chemistry. Growing up for me has been a kind of interesting because I have these lovely parents in person Mr and Mrs Anihundidun, their kind of phylosophy about life shaped my destiny. These are very conservative people, they raised me with good virtues which made me who I am today. Most especially my mum, she’s the no nonsense type, a disciplinarian and it took me years to understand that everuthing she was doing was actually for my own good. [laughs]
Why did you decide to do gospel when you know well that other genres of music can sell you out more?
I try to define music based on what propels me into it. I’m a christian, I grew up in a family where we always listen to things about the faith and gospel music has always inspired me. I grew up with that; my mum loves hymns, every night she gathers us, we sing hymns, she taught me most of the hymns I know today. Everyone has his own opinion as to why he goes into music and what he intends to get from it, but for me, it’s a life to me, I said earlier on that I love encouraging people to enable them become who they want to be and my kind of music is to give hope to those who are in despair and that’s the brand around gospel itself. That’s why I delved into it; it’s not about the monetary gain as it were. I’ve seen people who have tried to introduce me into other genres of music but to me, music is more like a calling and I wouldn’t want to disappoint those I feel God is calling me to actually reach out to.
Is that to say that you don’t have the intention of making money from your music?
[Laughs] Ok. Let me be blunt with you, it takes a lot of money to do any music production and it’s not as if I’m running an NGO. I also need money to run the music but the priority is not the monetary gain, it is about reaching out to people. Even those that run NGOs source for fund but the priority is always about helping others. So, in a situation where I’m being called to an event to bless lives, my concern is not going to be about how much can they pay me but what God is set to do in the lives of the people involved. Of course, the bible says seek ye first the kingdom of God and every other thing which includes money shall be added, that’s just it.
Is Adore your first music production?
Yes… Adore is my first single. It is a song that captures everything around my journey with God. It captures a deep emotion I share with God. I could remember the day the song came to me almost 2 years ago, I just had a wonderful devotion that morning and some things have been going on in my spirit. That morning it just came like a whisper ‘adore’, when you try to capture someone and the person ended up capturing you instead; you know I was lost, the room was not even enough for me so I went to the bathroom, the echo became a flow, I had to pick up my guitar, then adore began to flow out of my inner-most expression; my feelings and understanding of the person of God at that time birthed adore.
How long have you been playing the guitar?
Emmm… I fell in love with the guitar in 2011 and basically, I’ve been learning to play it since then. It has always been my first love as you know that the accoustic guitar is always there for you, you don’t have to wait for power supply, unlike the piano. So the guitar has always been my life partner in this music thing, I just easily pick it up and the music flows.
When did you start music?
Like I said earlier, considering the kind of family I came from, I can’t specifically peg down the age I music started music. Music for me started a long time ago as a kid. As a kid, I often wake up to different kinds of gospel music which in a way shaped my lines of thought and then I found myself in my primary school choir; my mum is also a gifted singer so we sing in the house. That was how it started, then I was a part of my school choir in secondary school as well then the church choir… That was how it all started.
Professionally, when would you say music started for you?
Professionally, it started with a choir I joined way back in 2009, they a known as House of Clay, a section of the youth choir with CAC Somolu Olaleye in Lagos here because then we went into some music productions so that was my first professional experience. But for me personally, I pushed into this thing four years ago.
What and what did you put in to enable you come out with such a beautiful piece ‘Adore’?
Sighs… First and foremost I think I must commend my producer, Akinola Gbenga, I met him in a very wonderful way… When I sent him the song in its raw state to him, we had to dwell over it for sometimes to see how we can really capture the true emotions of the song, how we can accurately pass the message; it took a lot of time, there was a time we did something and we have to start all over again and afterwards, he arranged another tune but it still wasn’t it. He came back to me and said Funmi can we do this all over again? Immediately I started the singing to the new version he gave, I knew this was it. The Holy Spirit really helped me to be able to communicate the heart of the song to the people.
After Adore what’s next?
Adore is just the starting point; to me, I’ve not even started. I have the intention of releasing an album later on this year, Adore is my debut single. It’s is meant to create an awareness of what God is set to do through me to people. There are so many more songs to come, concerts to come, collaborations to come, events and more.
Who and who do you intend to have collaborations with, foreign and Nigerian based?
If I’m going to do any song with a foreign gospel artist, it’s going to be Cee Cee Winans because she inspired me a lot when I was much younger. Her songs were useful for my rehearsals then so if I have that opportunity, It will be her. But right here in Nigeria, I love the spirit this man puts in his song, his ministrations are always full of blessings and spiritual and that’s Nathaniel Bassey.
Female gospel singer?
[Laughs] This is a wonderful woman, she may not fit into the class of music I do but it’s Tope Alabi. She’s blessed, she’s a woman that has consistency in the gospel music in Nigeria.
And you don’t mind that she has controversies trailing her?
Controversies? controversies are meant to come. Like I know if I happen to sit with Tope Alabi, she will clear the air. There are so many things that the media try to push out that are not really true story. Controversies are meant to come, it will even push out the real persons that we are. Not withstanding, she writes, she has written many beautiful songs, there was a time I was reading a magazine about her and I read that she has written about 800 songs for Yoruba movie soundtracks not to talk about her own gospel songs. So Tope Alabi is a talent, she’s a wonderful minister of God.
Who do you look up to in the gospel music industry?
That’s pretty difficult because Nigerian gospel artistes are really coming out so strong. I was still talking to someone yesterday about Eben, that man is really pulling me but there’s this woman called Sinach… her life story, her personality, she is well packaged all around, spirit-filled, not just that, her lyrics, her words are seasoned with grace. So if there’s anyone I want to model after, it will be Sinach.
Outside music, what does Funmi Ani do?
I’m into fashion, I make most of my outfits and I make outfits for people. If you look at the artwork on Adore, the custome I wore there was made by me. I love fashion, it’s one of the things I do and I love children. I’m also into education and that explains my love and drive for children. I’m also a web developer, I’m crazy about it. I’m also a lover of football, if you find me doing anything outside the above mentioned, it will be football.
Is that to say we have a female football superstar in the making here?
[Laughs]… not at all. I don’t play football, I enjoy watching it, I’m a Chelsea fan but I can analyse teams and players very well.
Tell us about your family
I’m the first child of the family of four girls, I’m from Ekiti state, Dad is late but Mum is super strong, bold and beautiful.
So what is it like growing up amidst girls?
[Whistles] Very interesting… Let me tell you. It’s not as if sometimes I don’t feel like we should have a girl in the house. You know sometimes we tag the house girls hostel especially when we lost Dad, the house became that of four girls and a mum but believe me it has never been boring. We can do all the talking, gisting, not that there’s one man in the house threatening and all. I have adorable sisters, they were my first back up singers. Most of the songs I’ve written I sing to them first, so they are my first audience as well. One of them is a very good alto singer, the other is a good suprano singer and we do it together. Sometimes we record using a keyboard and they make the house very lively.
After Adore, what’s next?
There’s a song I’m and it’s going to be out soon. It’s almost done but I won’t tell you the title yet. I want it to be a suspense. You haven’t seen anything yet. I’ll be releasing one more single before I launch my album later in the year.
When is the album launch coming up?
I can’t precisely give you a date but we are looking at September maximum.
As a gospel singer, can you do a collabo with secular musicians and who precisely?
That’s a very sensitive question. It depends on the kind of secular artiste you are talking about here. If at all I’m going to do a collaboration with a secular artiste, such a person must carry the life and must have the same musical orientation as I do. For me right now, I don’t know and I can’t say. I can do a song about my country, I’ve written some already, I can do a song about other themes and philosophies as well but to go outside of these, I’m not sure.
Can we have your social media handles?
Of course… Instagram: Funmiani, Facebook: Funmilayo Anihundidun, Twitter; @funmiani