Riding the Waves: Over South Africa and Coming to a Dance Floor Near You
By Bongani Siziba
From physical and spiritual perspectives – G-Pius’s road to the front line has been a rough one, fraught with hurdles and stumbles. His story is a typical street-child-turned-gospel sensation – and he has much to thank God for.
His remarkable story – of stardom and salvation, serves to remind us that success is not to be measured by one’s popularity before men – but with one’s position with God.
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Whether performing in an arena, in church or recording a top-ten album – G-Pius will never forget his Lagos roots.
His down to earth personality is as much a part of him – as his talent for singing, and here he tells me his remarkable story with characteristic wit and warmth – in his own words.
For him, life was extremely difficult while growing up in the streets of Lagos – G-Pius was a shy child who struggled with anxiety, but he found the courage to overcome his fears and follow his passion for performing.
Born Ouluwa Gbenga Oladimeji and fondly known by his fans as G-Pius – he grew up in Surulere – then the government sit of Lagos, Nigeria.
Once a man with no place to call home, his is a journey of a thousand miles. He met a man who went beyond just acknowledging his raw talent, and was introduced to the church as a drummer.
Growing up in a white garment church he had no idea of playing drums – but this was a trip that he was to embark on to change his life.
“I remember I used to sleep from one abandoned car to another in Lagos. One day a friend told me they were looking for a drummer in his church, I didn’t know how to play drums, but I took my chance and auditioned, and that was the beginning of my journey,” he recalls.
From being a drummer – he graduated to being the music director of Overcomers Word Outreach. But although he was singing gospel with all his heart – his mind was far from it.
“ I wasn’t a Christian then, I was just doing my thing because l wanted a place to sleep,” he says.
He recalls his ministration at a local university in Lagos in 2010, an experience that still rings in his mind.
Years later he later moved to South Africa to look for greener pastures, but his passion for music got him involved in church activities, then he grew from just being a musician to a server.
From performing in churches, G-Pius stepped out of their comfort zone to work with biggest artist like the late Neyi Zimu, Anietie Ezeimo Nigeria, He also shared stage with gospel songstress Ntokozo Mbambo and international artist Gabriel Eziashi among others.
Added to this, he recently released his own single to satisfy his calling and numerous fans. The new song, “AKA JEHOVA”, is fast becoming a favourite for traditional gospel music fans across South Africa and beyond.
“For the first time I have seen people dancing to my song with joy. They have received it as a blessing to their lives. I have so many good stories coming from people on this song,” Pius said.
The transition from the west African vibes to the Southern part of Africa has made his music more popular. He now has fans from all over the globe.
Claire CJ Jones from Zimbabwe said the song has been a blessing in her life.
“ The song has been a blessing to my family, it makes one long for God more. l love his ministration it carries you along” she said
Another faithful fan from Nigeria Olubunmi Joel Fretless who sang the song lyric by lyrics told the Sunday Express about how the song has become his daily dose.
“Anytime G-Pius is on stage he is fire, right here in Nigeria we love him, we appreciate his music, God bless him for blessing our lives,” Joel said.
When the special version of “AKA JEHOVA” was unveiled , G-Pius had this to say: “I am speechless, thank you so much. This is an amazing moment for me, to have so many of my peers acknowledge the song and its sentiments, and that they can use that to further something much bigger than all of us. Thank you.”
The song is elevated by a historical moment in time and has the power to cross over to different audiences.
The vibrant blend of central African vibes and pop gospel rhythms make all the difference on the song – through its beats that break through barriers.
His collaboration with Congolese gospel artist, songwriter, singer, and drummer, Yvestone Mutandi brought tuneful new styles, backed with euphonious voices – making the music pleasing to the ear.
“This was one of my best collaborations, he told me that he needed a Congolese vibe on in his song and I just gave it to him, the song is just something else.
“Music means everything to me so when I do it I give my best, listening to AKA JEHOVA I can feel my home beat, kwasa kwasa, rhumba in it and this brought another dynamic to the song,” Mutandi said
There’s something seemingly novel about a song from South Africa going viral to the extent that it’s omnipresence on the sound where fans are posting countless videos of themselves participating in dancing, accepting the Aka Jehova dance challenge.
The vibe of this song is amazing, G-Pius friend and church mate Portia Dube said.
“The song has a fresh beat, its crisp and definitely my up-and-go song. I listen to this jam anywhere, when I drive, when I’m cooking at home it just gives you that vibe to dance too,” said Dube
With high-powered production led by talented and versatile producer and keyboardist , Seun Michael the new song is bound to anyone’s calling to another height. The celebrated Aka Jehova exponents are no doubt soaring higher with the masterpiece vibes which has refused to bow.
“I was privileged to work on this with G-Pius, it took us years to work on this project, it has not been an easy journey. Since this song has been released l have been amazed by the response. I love the spicy Congolese vibe,” he says.
As much as the song has captured much attention among believers, it has also inspired curiosity among those already familiar with definitieve gospel music.
Aka Jehova is in good company. Its popularity comes not only at a time when songs with a dance sequence often have a viral life. Beyond its message of thanking God for protection over one’s life in a turbulent time, it is also relevant for this time of Covid-19 when almost everyone across the globe is going through emotional times.
As expected the song has taken Christians by storm and they are enjoying the fruits of a man who has over the years stood out, singing the sophisticated gospel, and he’s got both national and international appreciation to his emergent craft.
Bongani Siziba is a correspondent for The Sunday Express.
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