Daniel Udeaja Precious is an up and coming Nigerian gospel artiste – full of aspirations to be a fully utilised talent in the areas of: song compositions, movie writing, poem scripting and, even, dancing. A music trainer who had once featured on Wale Adenuga’s Super Story.
In this interview with our Editor-In-Chief, Emmanuel Oladipo, Daniel talks about his growing up, challenges that he had faced and the likely assistance that he would like to receive from well meaning members of the general public.
Good morning, nice to meet you.
Good morning sir, nice to meet you too.
How would you describe life with you so far?
It’s not been easy at all, but I’ll say my life as a whole is all about God’s grace.
For how long have you been doing music?
For about 19 years now. I started out as a teenager in the church choir.
At what age did you decide you would be doing music?
At age 15.
What motivated you into music?
Several things motivated me to go into music as a career. My mum, loved ones. The first time that I sang it resulted into the church having some new converts who said they came in because they heard me sing: this was a long time ago.
Also, I had this strong urge to do music right from start. I used to be a dancer but then I discovered that I have a very good voice; each time I hear people singing I usually feel this strong urge to be part of them. Thus, I decided that in addition to my dancing – I would be singing also, that was how I joined a church choir and a singing group.
Do you have other talents aside music?
Yes I do: I dance, write and act too.
You mean that you write songs, playlets and the likes. Moreover, what else do you do aside music?
Yeah. I write songs both for people and myself, I wrote a movie script too. For now, I’m an intern in a musical studio and I teach too. I also do private music tutorials.
Are you getting students for your tutorials?
Yes. Though, I stopped at a point.
Have there been any efforts to produce the movie of the script you wrote?
Yes, though, it’s been a while now.
Which group do you dance with or do you dance with artistes?
The Tribes Of David (TOD), it was a popular group which started out in the church.
I started out with Michael Jackson dances because he used to be my mentor. So I do more of his moves. I still danced last year, 2018. I was invited to a school graduation where I danced to one of MJ’s song. In July, this year, I was again invited to dance: I’ve got a part of the video on YouTube.
Have you been featured in any major movies or how do you perform your acting?
Yes, I had been once on Wale Adenuga’s Super Story Where I acted as a movie production personnel. I also voiced the Wap TV advert sound track.
Again, I was also featured in a song titled, Its My Life, by OELA which is now on YouTube and iTunes.
What was the response like after the cast? Was it encouraging for you?
Yeah, it was. Although, the reason why I was cast that day was because the needed someone for that scene was not around, and the scene appeared just twice in that episode. So I was called and asked if I’d love to act and I said yes.
Have there been any other offers after these?
No, not at all. I do them mostly for fun, but I have a poem that I’d love to publish. I would send it to you if you’d love to read through, I think you’d love it.
Sure, I would love to read it.
Ok, will send it. Please let me know what you think about the poem.
You’re most welcome.
What were the ambitions that you had at the time of starting out in music and would you say that you have been able to achieve any of those ambitions?
Really sir, my aims when I started were to first, reach out to people’s hearts whenever they hear me: there should be a strong sense of connection to my music and voice.
Then I want to tell my stories in a way that would relate to everyone as if I’m, as well, telling their stories. Moreover, I want everyone to understand that there is someone up there (God) who wants to be part of our lives… I’ve been working and I’m still working real hard to be a legend in my style of music.
Have you ever worked with any artiste of your dream?
Who are the artistes that you have ever dreamt to work with?
First, I hope you won’t complain because I might mention mostly foreign artistes. I have Jonathan Mcreynolds, very talented young man who also loves God: his style of music is just so unique that you’d have no other option but to fall in love with him. He’s my mentor too. I’d so much love to work with him.
Then Jazmine Sulivan because she’s got a very good and stable dept in her voice which had helped me well too.
I’d love to work with IBK of Tim Godfrey: I’ve always loved her passion, strength and zeal… She’s a wonderful Nigerian gospel artist.
What roles do you play in the Church at present?
I’m a chorister.
What would you say are your challenges in music ministry?
In the music ministry! In church or my challenges in music generally?
The music ministry that I know is considered an important part of the church, and even outside the church it still holds great importance so it needs to be taken really seriously in every way possible: I give my opinion based on the fact that I sing in the church.
It pains me when people aren’t taking music seriously. In some churches, for instance, anytime there’s a major programme coming up and the music ministry is expected to minister, members of the choir wont begin serious rehearsals until the date for the event is near, and then, they would start rushing and conclude that the Holy Spirit will take control – things like that get me pissed.
Well, sometimes, people don’t consider music to be important to the point that it could a career. In fact, my parent and family members do not like the idea of me studying/doing music.
So how do you convince your parents and siblings to support you or are they still against you for doing music?
Not like they are against me they aren’t just sure of me doing music. They still have their doubts for me: they wish that I’d just do something else rather than music.
What was growing up like for you?
Growing up was hard for me. I would love to share in details but all I can say is that each time I tried to give up on myself God finds someone to encourage and then put me back on track.
What genre of music do you and what informed your type of music?
I do Urban Contemporary Gospel Music. It’s a kind of genre to speaks directly to one’s soul: a combination of R’n’B and Soul.
Tell us about your new work
It’s titled Better. It’s an abridged version of my story. The pains, hates, tears that I experienced while growing up. So I looked back at those days and realised that while I was going through all that God never left me not for once and He never stopped loving me.
The song, Better, is so unique in that anyone would find out that it speaks to him/her. Whether you have been abused in several ways or your growing up had nothing to write home about, you’d surely get the message.
It took me two years to finish the song (both the lyrics and melody). My wish is to heal many souls through the song.
From where did you derive inspiration for your new song, Better?
My past experience while growing as a child/teenager. I had every opportunity to be a really bad boy but, somehow, God had always helped me through several stages of my life.
What challenges have you faced so far on this new song that is yet to be released?
I get comments like, the song is great but it’s not a gospel song. Some people even say things like ‘you are gradually leaving the gospel world’.
However, I wish to work with someone who’d see the light in the song; with someone who, probably, understands the message and not want to change the message and the genre.
What message do you intend to pass across with the new song?
That everything which comes our way is an indication that something real good is coming to us; that every trouble which comes to us is a preparation to our next level and that when we look back at where we started from then we’d realize that we are better at the present than what we used to be.
What kind of assistance do you look forward to on this new song and in your music career?
For the song to be produced and that many people get to hear it. I wish to, also, go really further in music as a study.
What challenges do you think exist in the Nigerian music industry and what solution do you suggest?
Smiles… Well, first I think I’m just like a lad who is just starting out in the music world. I’m not known yet, though, I wish to be, smiles…
I think in the gospel world, Nigeria is doing really well: our gospel music had grown really strong and is still growing, it’s just that the success part is just poor because there is no good benefits in the area of royalties.
You probably hear your song being played on the radio station and the next thing that would say is that they are doing you a huge favour.
Any word of advise for music ministers, the Christian music industry in general and the government regarding the music industry in Nigeria?
Hard work, I’ve always been told pays. So, I advise that gospel musicians keep keeping up with every good job. The Bible made me understand that I should study to show myself approved and this comes with working really hard, to always give our best and when God sees how hard we’ve worked, He’ll bless us.
I wish that the government would look into music so that musicians can be very much sure that their work yields fruit for them, especially, in the area of royalties – every musician should be able to enjoy the many benefits even after retiring in the field.
There should be an agency in charge of making sure that every musical work is paid for considering the fact that this is what these people (artistes) do for a living. Let the Copyright Agency stay true to their work too: they should just help in any way possible.
Thank you for your time. It’s been an honour interacting with you.
Thank you very much, sir, for having me. It’s an honour and I’m humbled.