Gospel music is a genre of Christian music. The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of gospel music varies according to culture and social context. Gospel music is composed and performed for many purposes, including aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes and as an entertainment product for the marketplace. Gospel music usually has dominant vocals (often with strong use of harmony) with Christian lyrics. Gospel music helps to build and prepare the spirituality of Christians for the coming of Jesus Christ.
And that’s why Ada Menakaya, a budding gospel musical talent from a very large family has decided that music is what she wants as a career.
According to her, her family is the largest in her community because they are from the royals.
“We are a large royal dynasty, the late Igwe (Professor) Jacob Menakaya was the first King my town had and he also pioneered the Institute of Education at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. My dad, Samuel Menakaya, was also a staff of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Nigeria; and my uncle, Tim Menakaya was a former minister of Health. My family is very large just as we also have many prominent people,” she hints explaining further that although she has lost her parents, gospel music has continued to inspire her.
Graced with a unique, yet personable style that is completely her own, Ada considers music a passion and inborn as her late mum was a lover of music before she met her premature death. Her aunt also was a great vocalist when she was with Radio Nigeria, Enugu. So music was like a family thing.
“My mum was a sonorous singer who didn’t take it professionally, but as a hobby, at home and in church. She had a business by the side and focused more on ministry. My aunt, Lady Linda Menakaya, was a singer and she worked with popular Nigerian stars while she worked at Radio Nigeria, Enugu.
“At the age of five, I was already in the children’s choir. I moved to Teen section and then joined the Youth Choir before moving to the Adult Choir. In 2016, I decided to take it serious as career, dropping my first single titled “Onye uwa oma”, she reveals.
When asked how the reception was like after the release of her first single, she said, “To my amazement, it was well received and there were so many downloads. It was up for free downloads because then, I was still upcoming and we wanted people to know who I am first. I started receiving invitations from different people, churches both home and abroad to come and minister and sing for them. God has been faithful,” Ada states while talking about the other songs she’s working on.
“I have been busy lately in the studios recording and I have done a lot already, so I am putting together some songs to make up what will be my debut album. There would be soul lifting tunes coming your way. My fans should watch out for it. There are tracks like “In Your Name”, “Idimma”, “Yahweh” “Onye Ukwu”, “He Has Done It” and others.”
Many professional musicians from the contemporary, inspirational and gospel genres have been inspired by one thing or the other, so what really motivates Ada Menakaya when writing songs?
“I write my songs. Apart from the two written by my younger brother, I wrote all others of my songs. I’m inspired sometimes through prayers in church or during service and sometimes in my dreams. There’s this particular song titled “You Deserve It” that came in a dream.
“An Angel of God stood by my side and kept teaching me the song until I got it right. I sang it out of the dream and rushed to get my phone to record it so I won’t forget. I went back to sleep, when I woke up, I couldn’t recollect, that was when I remembered I had the song recorded somewhere. I started playing it and it was awesome.
” ‘In your name’ was through meditation. The spirit of God inspires me most because everything that happens around me just catches my attention due to my alertness to the voice of the spirit of God. I like to do worship songs because I always feel inner freedom when doing it, that’s why I write more of worship songs. Even when I go for ministrations, I do more of worship songs”.
Tell us who your role models are in ministry both in Nigeria and abroad.
“Cece Winans. She is the best-selling female gospel artiste of all time. From childhood I’d listened to anything that has Cece’s name on it. My role model in Nigeria is Sinach because she’s a worshipper. Whenever I see her, I always tell myself one day I’m going to be like her and even greater. I am also inspired by a lady called Onos Ariyo, she’s a worshipper and I am always happy listening to her sonorous voice. They are all from different denominations. The American Singer, Tasha Cobbs, is also a major inspiration and a super minister. Jekalyn Carr also is a great woman of God I admire.”
Ada Menakaya has performed on the same stage with some of the most prominent voices in Gospel, such as Frank Edwards. She believes that her talent, exposure and the Holy Spirit will sell her globally.
Her biggest dream is to authentically impact lives and people of all ethnicities and generations with her music even much more than the gospel music greats have done so far; she’s also believing God to use her to open more doors for people to enter the kingdom of God. She wants to use her songs to touch lives as ministering is more heart-warming to her.
“I have performed with many stars like Frank Edward and the likes. When I go on stage, I see God and His people, not the gospel big names. I depend on the Holy Spirit to guide me and it has always been awesome.
“I dropped a single with Big Sammy production. I’m one of the members of the choir there. My mother was my everything. I meant, after God, my mum comes next. She was my word and work partner, my confidant and my backbone. We talked about everything and everybody (laughs).
“By the grace of God, everybody should be expecting the release of my debut album titled “Beyond Limits” which talks about all what we have been through in this life. It talks about the hardship and how people must believe that one day, success would surely come your way when you have faith in God. I decided that by breaking every limitations in our lives, I would name the album and concert “Beyond Limits.” She buttressed talking about her ambition and what she thinks about the gospel music industry.
“I would like to be a great woman of God. I would like to get to the stage where everyone would know and look up to me. The level where they will sort after the minister of the gospel. I will also want to be a big business woman too. Grow my interior decoration business.
“I would say Nigerian gospel artistes are doing very great compared to their counterparts elsewhere. They are working hard and trying to work to perfection. In fact I’m rating the gospel scenery in Nigeria 95 per cent.”
She was supposed to be in South Africa for an event but wasn’t able to because of the death of her mum. But she believes that hasn’t hindered her as she looks forward for bigger and better things ahead.
“Yes that was when I lost my mum. I couldn’t go anywhere. I had to abandon everything I was doing. I was shattered. Someone linked me to the church. I was invited after obtaining my visa to go on the South African trip. It was a convention. But it wasn’t meant to be,” she explains concluding with what she does to pass time and also engage herself when not ministering.
“A typical day of my life still evolves around my businesses. I am an interior decorator/designer and I do several other little businesses. I also don’t joke with ministrations,” she says.
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