Gospel artistes are God’s mouthpiece on earth—Illuminator Gospel
Illuminator Gospel is a Nigerian gospel artiste, a singer, and songwriter, who is currently making waves in the entertainment industry across Africa and Europe. In this interview with Okechukwu Onuegbu, Illuminator, a passionate servant of the highest God, while lamenting that circular or obscene music is dominating the industry, urges his colleagues to make Christ the centre of their talents and skills.
Who is Illuminator?
Illuminator Gospel is a stage name of Pastor Kalu Pius. I am an Electrical engineer by training, a Pastor by calling, and a family man. I was born on 1st January, 1973 at Bende local government area in Abia State but I reside at Spain. My wife’s name is Vero Pius, and the marriage is blessed with three children, a boy and two girls. I am the youngest among five brothers. I bagged Electrical Engineering at Abia State Polytechnic in the year 1997.
As a Gospel artiste, the crux of my message is Christ. It is my utmost desire that people accept the Lord as their personal Saviour and to change their evil ways. My biggest goal is to continue to populate heaven while depopulating hell.
You said you read electrical engineering, what can you tell your fans that led you into the music industry?
I am musically inclined. I started singing gospel songs in my church at a very tender age. Then, I was about ten years old. And my friends and colleagues kept urging me to make it my profession. It was after my polytechnic education that I hearkened to their advice and become a full time professional musician. On my arrival to Europe, I continued with my passion.
In fact, my love for Gospel music came natural. As a strong believer, I believe that my singing talent and skills would be put into better use by praising the Almighty Creator. By His grace, I invented a unique class of gospel music called Gospel Swagger, which is also the title of my first album.
Gospel Swagger is a means to bring the gospel to the young and restless generation, by speaking their language and adopting their class of music but laced with the gospel truth.
Since 2001 till date, I had being a gospel music artist; singing in crusades, churches, conventions and seminars. But I released my first official album entitled “Gospel Swagger” on March 2010 with a hit single (Nara).
The song, Nara, has made a strong wave in Nigerian gospel music industry. The album has sold more than five million copies in the first six month of its release in Nigeria. The track (Nara) is currently one of the top gospel dance-able music in Nigeria played by so many radio and television stations across Africa such as ABS, Radio Sapiensa, AIT Nigeria, and ITV Chanel. I have even granted interviews to so many radio and television presenters in Africa because of its popularity.
What is your latest release?
My latest project is two mind blowing singles entitled "Bigger than" and "Blood of Jesus". But my latest album is "Lifted to praise" which was released in 2013 with eight tracks.
What usually inspire you to sing? Also, what have are your challenges so far, and you are scaling through them?
My inspiration comes from the Almighty and the reality of my works and miracles in our daily lives. Like many Europe based artistes, the challenges are mainly in the areas of the cost of production and promo. But once you have established yourself and your music, then some of the challenges are minimized.
Besides, my mission in music is to reach every nook and cranny with the gospel through scintillating and likeable music. As a Pastor and a Gospel artiste, I have a very clear vision on how to achieve this using musical talent to win as much souls for the kingdom as possible. Just like the world renowned literary icon, Professor Chinua Achebe says that proverbs are like palm oil with which all word are eaten
As an upcoming artist, most of my challenges were to find people who believe in me and finance to promote my albums. But because I am talented, the inbuilt talent eventually attracts the right audience and ´believers´ to me. Glory be to God that I was blessed enough with some close friends and brethrens who believed in me and supported me at the times of my early struggles. These include people like Mr Maxwell Eseoghene Anderson, Her Excellency, Princess Mrs Nwanne Campo and my lovely wife, Vero.
There is allegation that most gospel musicians like preachers go contrary to their messages. What is your take on that?
It is quite unfortunate that there are few members of the gospel fold as well as messengers of God who contradict what they profess. But they are relatively very few though. Majority of gospel singers and preachers still adhere to the principles of the Bible in their life classs. Personally, the grace of God has sustained me through very tough and challenging times. It would be suicidal for me if I were to abandon His ways. I was a Gospel artist before becoming a pastor, but both actually complement themselves. Whether you love the word or the music, I have something for you from the throne of grace.
I still have not seen a Gospel artist that is involved in such vices. But if such exist, they must recognize the fact that they serve a living God who detests sin. Every evil must be revealed sooner or later. It is only a matter of time; those who hide under the name of the Lord to perpetuate evil must meet their judgment day, either here on earth or in Heaven or both.
Putting yourself in the shoes of psychologists and atheists, do you think that music especially gospel has impacts on people?
First of all, I want to let you know that all psychologists are not unbelievers. There are believers who are psychologists. But even for non-believing psychologists, a lot of them do recommend music as a form of therapy to their clients. Music is universal, and Gospel music has been known to have miraculous effects on disturbed souls. Similarly, there are atheists who will never go into a church building. But everybody listens to music, including the so called atheists. Hence, Gospel music is highly impacting medium of evangelism and instrument of social change.
Do you think that music and entertainment industry is moving in a right direction or not?
There is a lot ongoing in the music and entertainment industry. But the world is more open to receive circular music than Gospel music. Hence, Gospel artists have a lot of works to do to push our genre into a global forefront. Every Gospel artist must recognize that they are in a mission of evangelism. Soul winning should be the primary aim, while financial blessings follow suit. We must see ourselves as the mouth piece of God in an industry that is fast submitting to profanity and religious negligence.
Your advise to upcoming talents
This is why I will advise new artists not to see themselves as upcoming. Your talents have always been with you. It is just your public recognition that is new. Therefore, keep blessing the people with your talent and skills. Be very focused on your career and be passionately dedicated to your Creator, the One who makes all things possible. And your day shall surely arrive.