•To Celebrate 50th Birthday
•20 Years On Stage
•To Launch Her New Book
The Queen of Gospel music, Evangelist Tope Alabi was our Guest recently on our CityPeopleTV Instagram Chat. For 60 minutes, the beautiful woman of style spoke about how she has coped with COVID-19 and the story of her successful career in music.
Her coming on the programme attracted a huge turn out as she revealed a lot of new things about her life.
Tope Alabi, an indigene of Yewa in Ogun State was born on 27th October, 1970 into the family of Pa Joseph Akinyele and Madam Agnes Kehinde Obayomi. After studying Mass Communication at The Polytechnic Ibadan, Tope Alabi became exposed to the acting profession and was involved in various film productions. Her talent in music gave her the privilege of becoming one of Nigeria’s frontliners in movie soundtracks. In the Yoruba movie genre alone, she has made more than 1,000 soundtracks and signature-tunes.
Patricia Temitope Alabi had a divine calling into the singing ministry in the Year 2000 with ‘Oore ti O Common’ as a debut album which shot her into limelight. To her credit are some albums including ‘Oore ti o Common’ ‘Certificate’, ‘Agbara Olorun and Agbara re ni’, ‘Kokoro Igbala’, ‘Angeli mi’, ‘Mori’Yanu’, ‘Agbelebu’, ‘Alagbara’, ‘Oruko tuntun’, a Compilation of Sound Tracks from the archives of Tope Alabi and her most recent project, ‘YES AND AMEN’. The Gospel, to the glory of God, has taken her to several countries across the world.
One of Tope Alabi’s strengths lies in her spontaneous creativity. She is usually inspired for new songs anytime she worships God. An example is the 16 track album titled THE SPIRIT OF LIGHT which was done in conjunction with Ty Bello. LOGAN TI O DE, one of the tracks is a song of hope and faith that broke the internet recently and empowered millions of people all over the world.
Today, Tope Alabi, alongside her husband, Soji(who is also her producer and manager) runs a registered organisation in Nigeria named the MARDEBRA COMFORTER FOUNDATION which caters for the less-privileged, their music label GOSPEL VIBES and also hosts an annual event tagged PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY CONCERT every third Sunday of February in Lagos with multitudes of worshipers attending to honour the King of Kings. This wonderful couple is blessed with God-fearing children.
How has it been in the last few months? How have you coped with the lockdown?
By the grace of God, we have been coping. We all understand what is on the ground and we just pray along and we are keeping safe.
When the whole thing started in March, what did you make of it?
Actually, I was in the UK when it all started, I had to rush down back to Nigeria. We all know that Covid-19 gets to you when you are cold. The first thing that came to my mind was to be in Nigeria where it’s hot. I wasn’t even thinking of what is going to be like or how long it will take. All that was in my mind is to be in Nigeria. When I got here, we started counting weeks. And you know with my ministry we do lots of events and different ministration. When I got to know that it’s already 2 months and we are still on lockdown, I was shocked and felt bad about it, but then we just have to keep safe.
Since then nobody is working and we have to eat. It’s not funny at all but we thank God.
Let’s talk about your huge brand, how does it make you feel when you see the reaction from people and how big the brand is today?
I feel good, I feel honoured, I feel grateful. Every time I thank God for where He has taken me and where He’s taking me. I thank God for his spirit because I know it is not by power nor by might and I do not take it for granted at all.
How many years now?
Officially, Tope Alabi’s brand will be 20 years this year.
Is there any plan to celebrate it?
Yes, I plan to celebrate it, because I am also going to clock 50 years by October. I actually want to do something like 5 hours praise on the street, then I will mark my birthday on a low key, not because of the Covid-19 because I never thought about it before I never knew it was coming. I am just thinking about gathering 100 people. I also have a Christian movie that I just shot “The Weight”. Then, I am also going to launch my book “the story of my life” too, in the same October. So it’s going to be like 4-1 event. I just pray Covid-19 is no more by that time. And if we are still at home we would do everything on Instagram by God’s grace.
How do you prepare for your shows?
I always pray before I go to any show. I do ask God what he wanted me to tell his people not what I want or what I am going to see there but exactly what God wants me to tell them.
Let’s talk about your lovely and powerful voice, how did develop that?
It’s a gift from God. When my mother was still alive, when we are still young, I heard my mother sing. I can still remember vividly that I sing so much like my mum. It’s a gift from God and I took it to another level. I just bless God.
He has been my everything.
Let’s talk about your love for dancing. How did that evolve too?
I love dancing so much. Most times when something I never expected happens to me or when I feel like blessing God for what He has done for me, I love dancing. I had to even ask my children to teach me some steps. Dancing is one of the things God has asked me to be doing for him. Like when my daughter gained admission into the University, I danced to appreciate God for my new big woman status (laughs).
So, dancing is one of my weapons. I noticed that over the last few months you have been doing lots of activities, what explains that?
Actually, God told me to do a 21-day praise with my family. At times He tells us to do 3-days, 7-days. Sometimes it may be fasting and prayers. That’s how we do in our family. When I heard 21 days, I concurred since we are already on lockdown, and we started. The first day I called my family members and my domestic workers together and we started at a place we call war parlour in our home. It’s a place where we call on God, where we bring our war to God. So, we gathered there and as the praises were going on my husband brought out a camera and started recording us, at first I wanted to stop him, but he said there is no big deal and I also felt in my spirit and I agreed with him.
That was how we made it public, and we have been enjoying the grace of God. We tagged it 21 days family covenant praise.
And what was the response?
The response was fantastic, awesome. The Lord used the program to bless lots of people and we thank God for that.
When you were young did you ever imagine you are going to end up singing?
Never, I was thinking of going into fashion designing because I love fashion so much. I was thinking of making clothes for people. My father was a Tailor, I met him doing the job and I love it. Aside from that I love acting too. Those are the two things I wanted to do but as God would have it, this is where we are today.
Many don’t know that you are also an actress. What was the attraction and why did you go into acting?
Ishola Ogunsola Theatre Group came to my school when I was in Oba Akinyele Memorial High School in Ibadan to stage Efunsetan Aniwura drama. I love watching them and I felt the urge to be like them. When they finished I went backstage to meet one of them and the person took me to late Ishola Ogunsola. I was given their address and I started going for rehearsal. Actually, my mother was also an actress in her school too. I think all these are in the blood.
How did you now get into doing soundtracks?
I was with Ogunsola Theatre Group and whenever we are in any location I always sing. Someone just walked up to me and said “do you know you can be doing soundtracks?” I asked what is a soundtrack? He explained all I needed to know about it. I didn’t feel I can do it until they invited me to sing for a series on NTA titled “Afefe” but the very first one I wrote and performed was “Agogo Ogbon”. Then late Alade Aromire really assisted me a lot.
At the time you started, can you recollect the people you started with?
I started with Peju Ogunmola, Toyin Adegbola (Asewo To Re Mecca). I also went to “Jaiyesimi” location at Ososa. So many experiences in the past.
How do you balance all your roles as a celebrity, wife, mother etc?
By the grace of God, we are coping. God is helping us. I always try to balance it, and God is helping. Jesus told us that we should occupy till he comes, so, there was no much time to rest except during this Covid-19 pandemic.
How has it been working together with your husband?
Working with my husband makes the job easier for me. I have him beside me doing most of the work. What people see on stage, and hail me is his handiwork. My husband, Pope Soji Alabi is a fantastic man, if I come to this world again, I want to marry him. He plays the keyboard, manages the band and so many things.
There is no home when we are on stage. He is a Minister of God to the core. It’s been an honour, it’s been wonderful working with him. At times when I am composing and he hears me, he would ask what I mean line by line, I will have to open the Bible for him to justify what I am composing. He would tell me “you know I am a Yoruba man, so I need to understand what you mean very well”.
Pope Soji is a teacher, he is a pastor with so many other qualities. So, it’s been an honour working with him and it doesn’t affect anything at home at all.
You always become a different person whenever you are on a stage dishing out messages, how do you always do it?
Like I said we always pray before I go on stage. I don’t always see myself again whenever I am on stage. I think that is why so many people say Tope Alabi is an Angel. I always forget myself when I am on stage. It’s my husband that always tells me some of the experiences on stage. I have heard so many times my band members tell me that my eyes always turn red on stage. So, it’s been God all the way. At times if I want to go on stage in 5min I might be having a slight headache, but once I mount the stage I don’t feel anything again. I also make sure I finish my ministration with prayer.
I know you play for many churches, but which church do you attend?
I attend Living Faith Church, Winners Chapel.