Cece Winans, an American gospel singer and multiple Grammy Awards winner, born Priscilla Marie Winans, will feature in the 2018 Women of Praise (WoP) inaugural concert scheduled for November.

The organisers of WoP concert, Southwest Media and Encase Group Presentation, made the disclosure to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lagos. They told NAN that gospel musicians had hitherto been limited to the church which had restricted their music from being heard and urged them to come out of the four walls of the church.

Mr Ike Ogbuebile, the Chief Executive Officer, Encase Group, said that no adequate platforms to showcase the creativity of gospel artists had not been provided except for mega-events like “THE EXPERIENCE’’ in Lagos, hence the need for the Women of Praise concert in other parts of the country. Ogbuebile, however, told NAN that there was no competition between the gospel and circular music because both were creatively delivering content in their spheres accordingly. “There is no competition in the music industry, artists produce music, the music itself is all part of God’s creativity, now the difference is the focus and the message that is being sent out. “So, because of that, it seems like most gospel artists are put in a box just like the church has been put in a corner and we are saying it is time to come out from the corner and go mainstream. “Go into the mainstream and be able to do that, we are looking at four different corners (Industry, Education, Faith-based and Governance). “So, we are encouraging our artists, come out from the four walls of the church and take the centre stage and minister the same music that anybody can listen and dance to while the lyrics inspire humanity and give God all the glory,’’ Ogbuebile said.

According to him, gospel music has a role to play in nation building and promoting peace. “Looking at the music of TimiDakolo, there is power in his music and it does not matter your ethnicity or background, if the music is good, it is good.’’ On his part, Mr Charles Ndudim, Chief Executive Officer of Southwest Media, said that the Women of Praise 2018 was a platform to expose the enormous gospel industry to the majority of the population. Ndudim told NAN that people find joy, peace and solace in gospel music which inspires the public, adding that Nigerian music was gaining attention globally. “We have been looking for a vehicle that will carry on this humongous industry to majority of the population. Majority of the population of, indeed about 70 per cent are Christians in Nigeria and they listen to one form of Christian music.

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