I bet most of her fans doesn’t know her name, that’s because we all call her Sinach. Her real name is Osinachi Kalu, a wife and one of the Top female gospel vocalists in Africa (if not in the world). In this chat with The Punch, she talked about her life, ministry, growing up and a lot of other things that will inspire you. Read the interview excerpt below.
Did you know you would become a celebrated singer from the onset?
I didn’t even think singing was a career. When I joined the choir, I didn’t know any famous choir singer to tell me that singing in the choir could make me famous.
I didn’t start with a band or start with a branded identity; so, I will say that becoming a famous singer is simply by God’s grace.
Was music all you wanted to do as a child?
Growing up as a child, I had flashes of dreams of being a singer because I have always loved singing and everyone around me felt I could sing as well. But, to be honest with you, I didn’t think I would end up as a singer. I strongly believe God designed my life for me.
Why did you settle for gospel music?
Like I said earlier, God has a hand in what I do today; doing gospel music is God’s choice for me.
It’s important we realize that God created us for a purpose and it is very important for everyone to find that purpose and fulfill it.
So, I will say I yielded to God’s purpose for my life.
I have been singing in the church since 1989, though it started as a hobby.
I initially planned to leave the country after studying Physics at the University of Port Harcourt in Rivers State, but Pastor Chris Oyakhilome invited me to serve in the ministry.
But for him, I might not have discovered my gift. Also, serving in the church has given me a solid foundation that helps me stand strong.
How would you describe Pastor Chris’ impact on your life?
He is my mentor, life coach and a spiritual father to my husband and I.
How would you describe your childhood?
I had a very beautiful childhood experience. My parents taught me a lot of things, which formed the bedrock of who I am today.
I can also remember my formative years in the house of God; it has also played a vital role in my life up to this moment. I am the second daughter of seven children. I am from Ebonyi State.
When did you become a born-again Christian?
I got born again many years ago when I was younger and I have experienced increasing grace and favor since then. The Bible says He takes us from glory to glory.
As a kid, who were your role models?
My biggest role models have always been my parents. My dad was a man of conviction and my mum is a woman filled with so much wisdom and love.
I inherited my father’s tenacity and deep love for people and God. I also have my mother’s wisdom, her ability to organize, create things and to see beyond the ordinary. I miss my dad, but I am so blessed and happy that I still have my precious mum with me.
Which of your songs is so dear to you?
This is a very difficult question for me to answer. All the songs God has blessed me with are very dear to me. I am a fan of my songs. They bless me and have ministered to me at different times in my life. For instance, I Trust in You is a prayer song that gave me the strength I needed during a certain time in my life.
Do you agree that I Know Who I Am is your biggest song so far?
I am not sure I understand your definition of ‘biggest’, but I will say God has enlarged my music at different levels in different languages, networks, territories and places.
For instance, on Youtube, Way Maker has over 65 million views while I Know Who I Am has about 40 million views. Way Maker has been remixed by different people in different nations and in different languages. Also, Great Are You Lord is sung in almost all languages in churches around the world.
My point here is this naming a song as the biggest hit so far is very relative to the science we use in measuring it. We may get to heaven and God gives accolades to my song you probably have never heard of. However, my next song is always my favorite because it is new to me.
How did you get the inspiration for I Know Who I Am?
I wrote it during my preparation for a youth concert in 2012. The idea was to create an upbeat track that could excite youths. It was done, but I didn’t perform it at the event for some reason. Later, when I was doing a live recording in South Africa, I included it.
The song has been well received all over the world.
What has been the secret of your rise?
In my song, No One Knows, one of the lines says, “Your favor surrounds me like a shield, your love amazes me, your grace has lifted me!” In other words, God’s mercy, favor and unusual grace have made my life so beautiful.
My mentor, Pastor Chris said that God’s grace has come into our lives to prove that the word of God can make your life beautiful no matter where you come from or your environment! That’s always my testimony and message; God is a way maker.
My love for God and fellowship with Him has sweetened my life. He leads me in the path I should go, which is living a God’s purposeful life.
If you find yourself living a life of purpose for Him, you will be successful. Even if I were called to do something else, I would still rise to the zenith.
However, putting your life in God’s hand doesn’t mean you should not be diligent; improve yourself and seek to become the best at what you do. Quality and excellence are important ingredients for success, and they are products of diligence.
How will you feel if your music is played at a nightclub?
Recently, a friend sent me a video of my song being played at a club. I noted from the reaction that they were singing along as they listened to the music.
When you produce the right music with the right lyrics, people will look for it. Everyone needs encouragement, love, and inspiration. My music is powerful and when people listen to my music, they will get inspired.
What are your concerns for the gospel music industry?
I don’t have concerns but rather I am excited about how far we have come and what is ahead. Gospel music is a form of entertainment, but it also inspires with the right message.
When properly showcased in every available platform to reach as many people as possible, it can encourage and inspire people to move in the right direction.
I believe that my music has the right content to make an impact in the lives of both the young and old people globally.
Many people, especially the youth, have lost hope in the environment, leaders and the Nigerian system. Many youths have lost their minds and some are taking the easy way out through suicide, quick money, immorality and drugs. But gospel music can heal hopeless souls.
Do you think gospel music can ever be appreciated as much as secular music in Nigeria?
Absolutely, yes I think so. We have many people who listen to gospel music because it means good news. The number increases daily more than you can imagine.
With your busy schedule, how do you make time for your family?
I prioritize well. When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Also, my husband is my biggest supporter; his encouragement is a great help to me. He is not afraid to let me shine and he is always happy when I excel. My husband is a precious gift
Do you see yourself quitting music to focus on other things in the near future?
The most important thing is fulfilling God’s purpose for my life. He leads, I follow.
What is your biggest fear in life?
I don’t have fears and I don’t have regrets either. I have fewer challenges because I have a team behind me. I am blessed because I belong to a good ministry and I am always around good people.
If music had failed, what would you have settled for?
With God, there are no failures. I couldn’t have failed as God doesn’t sponsor flops.
What are those things you still wish to achieve?
I currently have lots of philanthropic works going on in different parts of the world; I will make them public soon. Also, I receive requests from different parts of the world for mentorship. By God’s grace, September this year, I will debut the ‘Sinach Mentors, Live initiative.’
How does your success story make you feel?
As an individual, regardless of your success, there is always something more you like to achieve.
There’s no resting on my oars as God ministers songs and lyrics to me all the time. To whom much is given, much is expected.
People know me everywhere I go; so, it’s hard sometimes when I want to have private moments with my husband or loved ones.
Fans will always approach one for pictures and I understand their excitement. I feel surprised when I go to a country I have never been to and they know my songs.
How do you handle criticisms?
If you are not doing something good, nobody will criticise you. Criticism is a sign that you are making an impact and influencing lives.
Though I do not dwell on negative criticisms, I pay attention to constructive criticisms. I am so blessed to be surrounded with valuable and Godly mentors who continuously offer positive and constructive criticisms.
When do you regard as your lowest and highest points in life?
I don’t have any lowest point. Of course, challenges arise, but God knows the way through the wilderness and walking with Him keeps you flying high.
I have high points every day. When I read comments, posts and see what the Lord is doing with the gift He has given me, those are special moments for me and I experience them daily.
What has fame changed about you?
Fame has made me realize more than ever before that we are the living epistles of the Lord Jesus Christ because you’ve got the whole world watching.
How do you cope with pressure and demands that come with fame?
Once you always have the right people around you, and you are always in the right place at the right time, life becomes easy for you.
How do you get inspiration for your songs?
I am a servant of the people; so, I try to service their needs. I have realized that everybody needs encouragement as there is so much going on in today’s world.
My music comes from the sermons I hear from my pastor. I grew up in the church and it inspires what I do.
What advice will you give to young gospel singers?
They need to remember that they are Christians first and artists second. All gospel artists need to serve in the church so as to receive discipleship.
Some of them are not strong Christians, which explains why they fall into certain traps and the media blows it up.
But failing in one area doesn’t mean they are not Christians. The grace of God covers our sins and restores us; so, we shouldn’t be too hard on them also.
I always tell young artists to know their season. If something does not work for you at the moment, there is no need to force it. They need to know when to wait and when to move.
Also, they should know that excellence commands attention. You have to work hard to be the best at what you do. Artistes need to believe in their talents and invest their own money into their music. It is not always wise to depend on sponsors to get you to the next level.
How do you relax?
Music relaxes me. Also, I like to sit in my garden, listen to the birds chirping and enjoy the freshness of nature. I spend a lot of time with my family and loved ones too and I cherish it a lot.
What is your favorite food?
That will be my husband’s delicacies; he has some special recipes for me. Those special moments when the Lord ministers to him, I love his delicacies.