He is talented. He is hugely gifted. Emmanuel Emeka Ahangba popularly called Tnaj is one of the fastest rising gospel artistes in the country. This young, good looking dude has been around for a while but took a short break from music to deal with pressing issues holding him down at the time. But now, Tnaj is back, better, stronger as a vocal artiste and ready to break boundaries. Currently enjoying lots of positive reviews is his hit track, ‘God Don Do Am,’ and he shot a lovely video to push the song as well. Apart from “God Don Do Am, this versatile gospel artiste who sings and raps in different languages is presently putting together his EP titled ‘A Shift.’ Each time Tnaj steps on stage, there have been testimonies of people getting healed as a result of his soulful voice and powerful songs filled with the wonder-working power of God. City People’s Senior Editor, WALE LAWAL (08037209290) had a brief chat with the dynamic singer two weeks ago and he took us through a bit of his background and why it’s been difficult for gospel acts in the country to get the big breaks that they desire.
It’s been a while, Tnaj, tell us, what’s been happening to you musically? Take us back to how music started for you and how you have been able to sustain the brand till now.
I started doing music for quite some time now. I started way back in Benue state in 2004. I came to Lagos and I have been trying to build myself and be a better artiste. Some situations came up that held me down for a while, including the loss of my mum. I have been rebuilding and rebranding myself, trying to step up my music to ensure I can relate to the both the old and the young. I am currently working on an EP that’s already on major streaming platforms and it’s titled, ‘A Shift.’ That’s the project am working on right now and hopefully, within a short while from now, I hope to go on an interstate tour to enable people know me and my brand. I do gospel music but I also rap. I also do love songs and I see myself as an inspirational artiste. I also do songs calling on Nigerians to unite, like I have one titled, ‘Proud of Nigeria.’ I have songs that can inspire all ages and different kinds of people.
Why Gospel music, why not secular music?
Personally, I believe everyone has a call. I believe God gave me my voice so I can win souls for his kingdom. I am not saying those who are doing secular music are not doing the right thing, but like I said, we all have our calling. It gives me joy when am singing and people are getting touched, getting healed, it gives me a whole lot of joy, aside from even making money from it.
How challenging has it been for you doing secular music? Do you sometimes feel that if you were doing secular music you would probably have been making more money from music or gotten big break by now?
Okay, sir, as a matter of fact, secular artistes get more opportunities than gospel artistes. A secular artiste can go to the club, they play your music and you mime to it and somebody likes the music and picks you up. From there, you could get signed to a record label and that’s it. But for a gospel artiste, there’s a lot more involved and it can be very challenging, especially the financial end of it. It’s always tough for a gospel artiste to find an investor who will be willing to invest in you. But for the secular artiste, it’s much easier for them because they are everywhere. They attend concerts and they are able to meet promoters and the likes. Another thing is that gospel music is regarded as religious and so, only Christians are expected to consume it. But with secular music, Christians, Muslims, pagans, even Hindus, can enjoy secular music. So, lack of sponsorship and not having a record label are some of the challenges we face as gospel artistes.
So, how have you coped because I know you have shot a couple of videos that I found impressive considering that you bankrolled the cost of shooting yourself?
It’s not been easy, sir, I must confess. Prior to the time, I embarked on this project, I had to make ends meet working as a Uber driver. I just couldn’t rely mainly on my career because I have bills to pay. From its proceeds, I shot my video for the song, ‘God don do am.’ The video is already on my Youtube channel @tnaj music and if you go to streaming platforms and you type in Tnaj or A Shift and my music will pop up and then you can stream. So, that’s how I have been surviving. I am praying I will get a sponsor in the shortest possible time.
What if somebody reading this wants to get in touch with you, how can they reach you?
They can Dm me through my Instagram @tnaj music and am on Facebook that’s @tnajtnaj. You can send me an email via ahangbaemmanuel30 @gmail.com You can also call me on 08132673724. I am open for business, I am open for sponsorship. I rap and sing in different languages and write my own songs.
Who are the gospel artistes that really inspire you at the moment?
From the old artistes, I will say Kirk Franklin. Then, in Nigeria, I really love the way Mike Abdul, Frank Edwards, Sinnach, Eben, Moses Bliss do their thing. And I also want to thank the Lord for Chidinma leaving secular for gospel, it’s a huge blessing.
If you were to choose, which one of them would you like to work with?
For the foreign artistes, I would love to work with two people, Kirk Franklin and Travis Greene. In Nigeria, I am trusting God that I would work with Frank Edwards, Sinnach, Mercy Chinwo and then Mike Abdul.
What sort of support are you getting from the church?
I worship with Dominion City at Island, Ajah. My church supports me greatly. Before the end of this year, I have a concert tagged Tnag Ministry tour. This will come up before the interstate tour. My pastor has been a blessing. He has been of immense help to me.