Though a budding artiste, Michael George, recently bagged a degree in Business Administration from the Lagos State University, Ojo, he says that his major calling is to win souls for Christ. Signed to Rona Entertainment, he talks to OVWE MEDEME about his soon-to-be-released album, Amen, growing up in an orphanage, as well as his desire to touch lives through music
WHEN did you realise you had the calling to be a gospel musician?
Let me say, I am a God addict. I like doing things for God. It dawned on me at an early age that I was called to do this. It was a call to serve and because I have a skill in music, I decided to use my skill to communicate the gospel of Jesus to people. That was how I started. I started way back from school, my university days to be precise. That should be about 2009. It was in phases. But I grew into it until I found myself where I am right now.
As one who discovered a love for music early, why didn’t you study it as a course in school?
At that time, I didn’t know I was going to do music professionally. I just loved singing. I wanted to be a successful business man. So I wanted to go to school, study Accounting or Business Administration. I ended up studying Business Administration but along the line, my love for music grew even stronger than my desire to do business.
What genre of music do you play?
My genre is not laid out. The kind of music I do is diverse. For me, my focus is God, so whenever is works. I can’t really pinpoint my genre.
Have you released any album?
My first album will be dropping next month by the grace of God. It is still a work in progress.
How many tracks are on the album?
So far, I have ten tracks in it but I cannot say specifically how many tracks will be on the album. For now, we have about 10. I have two singles that dropped on my birthday, the 10th of October. They are titled Chioma and My God. They are doing very well out there.
People say that gospel music is not commercially viable. What has been your experience in that regard?
Basically, I hear people say that a lot but the reality is that no one does the things of God and starve. So if you are called and you carry out the assignment that was given to you, God is always behind whomever he has given an assignment. For me, I think it is wrong when people say Gospel music is not commercially viable. It is a give and take situation. If you bless lives, definitely God will bless you.
Is there any collaboration in your album?
Yes, I did one with Maestro. He is a gospel artiste too
What are your expectations for the album?
Like I said, for me, this is a call to service. I don’t have any fear whatsoever because I know that every song on that album was inspired by the Holy Spirit. I know the Holy Spirit has something that he wants to do with that album in the lives of people. Inasmuch as I am the one that wrote all the songs, my expectations are also high. I hope to see people blessed. I hope to see lives transformed. There are several issues that I addressed with some songs in that album, and I hope to see them being taken care of. Basically, I just want to see people blessed.
What are some of the challenges of being a gospel artiste?
The challenges are enormous; I don’t even know where to start. From paying for studio sessions to people not believing in the artiste. Like you rightly said, people think it’s not viable, people think nothing good can come out of it. That is very demoralising. Those are some of the challenges but above all, he who God has called, he would empower. Above all the challenges, God has given me the empowerment to be able to pull through. Here we are today, expecting my album to drop soon. Amidst the challenges, people are still going to be blessed, God will touch lives. So the challenges are really not my focus.
The name Michael George gets people curious. Where are you from?
People ask me a lot. It is not because I am a foreigner. I am a Nigerian, I’m an African. I’m from Edo State but the name George came as a result of circumstances. I grew up in Little Saints Orphanage and it is owned by Reverend Christiana George. So that is where the name came from. She is my mum.
What was growing up in an orphanage like?
Growing up was very interesting. It was tough because I lost my parents and because of that, I didn’t get the kind of childhood that every one desires to have, the basic things that every child will want to see. I didn’t have the comfort and the protection of my parents and all of that. I ended growing up in the orphanage.
When I got into the orphanage, all of that came in because in there, we have a nanny, the aunties, a pastor, friends, people coming in to make donations and all of that. That was where I met the family I didn’t have. Growing up was a mix of different things. From a situation that was very hard to something that became very beautiful.
As a child growing up, what were your biggest fears?
Growing up, I had inferiority complex and that was as a result of the fact that I lost my parents at a very young age. And then, I was afraid that I wasn’t going to make it. I had a lot of hopes and dreams. I wanted to be a good person. I didn’t want to be a nobody. I had huge fears because my parents left so early. I had fears that I wasn’t going to be great, that I wasn’t going to achieve my dreams. Those were my fears basically.
You sound like you have family background. How did you end up in an orphanage?
The only family I had was my dad and my mum. My dad died when I was about six and my mum died when I was just a teenager. At that time I was in secondary school. Before then, she registered as a member of a widows association. What they do in that association is to help the widows and their children.
At that point, I got a scholarship to study in a secondary school. When mum passed on, I was about fifteen. There was no relative for me to go to, so the only option was for me to go back to the proprietress of the school who granted me the scholarship. She was the one who put the call through to the founder of the orphanage.
Looking back, how would you describe the journey?
My journey so far has been very interesting. It’s been a lesson. It’s been a mix of ups and downs. I am where I am today because it’s been God all the way. Every step I took, every phase I found myself made me appreciate who God really is and how mysterious his ways are. My journey so far has been very interesting and it has drawn me closer to God. It has drawn me closer to the ‘almightyness’ of God.