‘I never planned to be music minister’
By Itunu Oloyede
A gospel artiste, Ebenezer Ayeni popularly known as Heben Ayeni Christ has said that he planned to be a lawyer not a music minister but did not work out.
Speaking with Friday Extravaganza in an interview during a concert at The Redeemed Christian Church of God Eagle’s Wing Parish, Ondo Province 6, Oke-Aro in Akure , he said his encounter with God some years ago made him to go into music.
“I have been in church but I have not been in God until I got to know God in 2008. I was not called into the music ministry immediately but it took me few years to realize that my strength is meant for the gospel and not just by talking but by singing”.
“I started as a drummer but when I got to understand that I should be singing, I left drumming and started singing. I have been singing since 2012, though I have been singing in church because my dad is a pastor so, I am used to singing on the altar. My fist ministration was at a CAC church in the ancient town of Owo”.
The student of Music at The Polytechnic, Ibadan, noted that he rehearsed often and he could sing for hours nonstop.
“As a musicologist, I rehearse often because I sing often. Singing is not about physical strength but it’s all about spiritual strength. I am used to being spontaneous. I keep singing until there is no strength in me”.
In his words: “I have been juggling both singing and studying together. There is always strength, wisdom and understanding from the Most High when you are at the right path. Actually, it was not easy because I am schooling at Ibadan and I am also directing a church choir here in Akure. So I struggle between Akure and Ibadan every weekends”.
“My vision is to carry out the work of Christ. I am not trying to be religious but to live a life of Christ. I involve myself in a lot of things for instance, I am a singer, a vocal instructor, I am also into photography. In all I do, I make sure I live the eternal life of Christ”, he explained.
The gospel artiste mentions his mentors to include Nathaniel Bassey and Todd Dulaney.
“My mentors are distance mentors and Jesus Christ is my role model. Although, I am under authority but I focus my attention on Christ because if one is attached to men, men can fall and they can give wrong ideas”.
Heben explained the challenges he faced when he started singing to include parent and church leader’s issue. “
“When I started, my parents did not support me at all. Anytime I wanted to go for a ministration, my dad who is a pastor would ask me whether I have turned into a pastor. It was only my brother that supported me, it was so hard for me. Despite the fact that I did not have my parent’s support, I never relented and after some years, I have the full support of my family till now.
“Some church leaders count music ministers as entertainers, they have this believe of everybody is called to be a minister in the building called church in which majority of us have been rooted in Christ so that we can go into the circular world and make things right musically, even Jesus said go ye into the world not in the church. Not only church leaders but the whole church is not getting us. However, I do not see all these as a challenge again I now see it as a means of giving solution to a problem”, he said.
He advised upcoming artiste to know God and rehearse a lot. “You cannot be what you ought to be if you do not accept God as your Lord. When you know God, everything will start unveiling and unfolding. In knowing God, you will see how loaded you are. As a gospel artiste, if you do not know God, you are not living”.
According to him, giving of honorarium to artiste is just a sign of respect and honor saying there is nothing wrong in collecting honorarium. He also urged the upcomings to collect any amount of money people give them.
“If you know they cannot give you honorarium and you do not have cash at hand do not go to such concert but even if you have transportation fare you can go because gospel is free”.