The University of Lagos Campus was rocked by Serenade, a worship concert which took place earlier last month! And the convener was none other than Ayokunle Okungbowa. It was a deep spiritual awakening, a time of worship and refreshing. And members of the audience could not agree more!
‘I really enjoyed the atmosphere….The only person the musicians were out to please was God’. Chinedu Okerekeocha
‘I began to soar….and the congregation also! And we didn’t stop. Nothing is impossible for those that love God…I can’t wait for the next Serenade!’ Princess Onkar
‘Serenade was a phenomenal experience…it was soul lifting and thoroughly refreshing… The presence of God was so thick that people-myself inclusive-didn’t want to leave at the end…patiently awaiting 2014 edition’ Jean John
Self assured and confident of God’s love, Ayokunle’s heart for God knows no bounds. Gospel music is more than an art to him. It is something much deeper. He’s not an artiste, he says. He’s a minister. I had a chat with him recently and he had so much to say about Serenade, music and ministry!
1. How was serenade inspired?
Ayokunle: Serenade was inspired by the Holy Spirit. I knew I was going to do a worship concert and, so my team and I started praying. The name ‘SERENADE’ came up, with the idea that people would indeed worship in spirit and in truth and express their love for God without restraints. That is why the sub-theme ‘Head over Heels’ came up.
2. How did music start for you?
Ayokunle: I have always been in an environment of music, my whole family is into music one way or the other…I started singing as early as 3-4 years of age but music in ministry started for me about 4 years ago…
3. What is your take on secular music?
Ayokunle: Secular musicians know who they are trying to reach. I do as well. It’s just that my list includes them.
4. Would you do a collabo with a secular musician?
Ayokunle: NO I Won’t.
3. Why not? Is it just a ‘you thing’ or do you think it is something that every gospel artiste should adhere to?
Ayokunle: Because what I am focused on cannot allow me to be double minded. And for other gospel artistes, it is dependent on them, but if they were ‘me’ they wouldn’t as well.
4. What do you think makes a gospel artiste actually gospel?
Ayokunle: The GOSPEL….and realizing that he/she is not an artiste but a Minister sent to his/her world.
5. Tell me about other events lined up on your calendar. Are you coming out with an album anytime soon?
Ayokunle: SERENADE is yearly so we will have it in the 1st quarter of the year we’d also have iPraise. And yes, I am coming out with an album soon.
5. What musical influences have shaped the genre of music that you do now?
Ayokunle: I’m a bit versatile. I do rock ( my influences there are Hillsong, Jesus Culture and Casting Crowns), RnB (Bebe Winans). But generally, my major influences are Kim Burell, Tonex, Paul Wilbur, Michael W Smith, Donnie McClurkin and JESSICA REEDY!)
6. What is music to you?
Ayokunle: Music is a lot of things to me but I have begun to see music as a tool to send a message to people because people absorb music fast. And the message I’m spreading is the Gospel.
7. What other hobbies do you have apart from music?
Ayokunle: I dance
8. Do you do anything with your hands?
Ayokunle: I’m the only male child and I can cook.
9. How many songs have you written?
Ayokunle: I can’t say the actual number, especially because I have both complete and incomplete songs. But for complete songs, I would say between 10 and 20
10. How do you write your songs? Do the lyrics come first or the melody?
Ayokunle: Song writing comes to me in different ways. Sometimes the melody comes, and then I try to find words for it. Other times I may ask a friend to play any tune on the piano and I just find words for the tune. Later, I fine tune the words.
11. Have you ever written a song that was totally inspired, music and lyrics, with no need for corrections?
Ayokunle: Yes I have