Gospel musician, Bigger Ibekwe, is not only fluent in Mandarin, the official language spoken in China and Taiwan, but he can also compose songs and sing in the language.
Recalling memories of his stay in Taiwan, where he lived for 12 years, in an interview with our correspondent, the artiste, said his only regret was not being able to showcase his kind of music in that country.
“I was too busy trying to earn a living to do music in Taiwan. If I had got the inspiration, I would have made an album featuring songs in Chinese, English and Igbo languages. The album would have done very well, too,” he said.
Bigger also revealed one of his biggest plans for the music industry: to record a new album that would be richly flavoured with songs rendered in Chinese.
“The Chinese listen to music a lot. But they also need to be talked to about God. I am sure that if one comes up with an album filled with messages about God, it will be widely accepted in China. I think I’m going to do it,” he said.
Not pleased with the little progress made by gospel music in Nigeria, the artiste, who is currently working on a new album, wished that gospel musicians would begin to experiment with more music styles. He also wished they could be creative enough to whip up more enthusiasm for gospel music, as well as attract more fans and investors.
“Besides, a typical Nigerian gospel artiste should always have a target audience in mind when writing or composing songs. Whatever you do, you must have a target audience.
“I have done songs for children on some occasions. My next production, which is a four-track album, is all about children because you have to catch them young for Christ. Yet, all lovers of good music are my target audience. That’s why I do different kinds of songs,” he said.
Asked if he ever thought of veering into secular music for a change, Bigger said he would like to try what he called ‘moral music’ instead. He said, “What I mean by moral music is music that is used to pacify the soul, instruct, advise and address issues that require people’s attention. Secular music is a big ‘no’ because the lyrics matter so much to me. What is the content of the lyrics and what messages are they passing across to the audience?
“I have never wanted to be known as a secular musician. I have never felt comfortable about it, anyway. Honestly, I cannot bring myself to make that kind of music because it is provocative.”
However, Bigger disagreed with those who argue that gospel musicians have no business seeking fame and riches, while spreading the message of Jesus Christ through music.
He said that being a gospel artiste, mostly in obedience to a divine instruction, did not mean that a musician should wholeheartedly embrace poverty. “It does not mean that gospel artistes should reject money, if their songs become popular or good enough to yield financial benefits. However, I think the initial concern should not be about money or fame; it should be about winning souls for God. In my case, I did not go into music because I wanted to make money from it. My concern has always been to spread the gospel,” he added.