Nigeria’s music industry is an all-comers sector.
It takes a combination of work, uniqueness, talent, and innovativeness to hit the spotlight.
No wonder musicians transition from one genre to another in search of relevance.
It is not peculiar to Nigeria, but the world over; musicians switch from one genre to another in search of fame.
Whether gospel music, Afrobeat, R&B, or RAP, singers seek the genre befitting the cravings of over 200 million Nigerians.
No entertainer would want to stay aloof while opportunities to tap into Nigeria’s $44 million music sector abound.
In the music sector, like any other industry, one must stay in touch with the trends to stay relevant.
The Daily Post identified Nigerian musicians who have transited from one genre to another for fame, especially from gospel to secular music.
Famous Nigerian Afrobeat singer, Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, professionally known as Wizkid, started recording music in church at 11 years old under the stage name ‘Lil Prinz,’ during which he formed a group with a couple of his church friends called the ‘Glorious Five’ and released a collaborative album with the group prior to its disbanding.
He started going by the name ‘Wizkid‘ after transitioning from the church to secular music in 2006.
The Nigerian singer Simisola Ogunleye, better known as Simi, started her career as a gospel musician and a member of her local church’s choir. She wrote her first song at the age of 10 and released her debut solo album, titled ‘Ogaju," in 2008.
Simi later chose a different path as a secular music singer and released her songs ‘Joromi’, ‘Selense’, and ‘Jamb Question," among other secular albums that have helped her become famous and successful.
Popular Nigerian gospel singer and songwriter Mercy Chinwo used to perform secular music under the stage name ‘Mecindo’ before becoming a well-known gospel singer.
Popular Bayelsa hip-hop artist, Inetimi Timaya Odon, better known by his stage name, Timaya, started in the church before he became a backup vocalist for Eedris Abdulkareem for three years and began his career in solo music in 2006 when he dropped the single hit song, ‘Dem Mama’.
Famous Nigerian musician and rapper, Divine Ikubor, professionally known by his stage name, Rema, started in church. He was a member of a group for gospel rappers called 7 Dimension.
Chidinma Ekile, in 2021, announced her switch from secular to gospel music, having done a few projects alongside Tim Godfrey at Fearless and Frank Edwards. The singer was signed by Eezee Tee under Eezee Concept with the release of her song, Jehovah Overdo, and her EP, New Covenant.
A Nigerian female pseudo-juju-gospel singer, Janet Oluwatoyosi Ajilore Iyun, simply called Saint Janet, was also a chorister in Cherubim and Seraphim, C&S Church, before moving to a mix of secular and gospel music.
Nigerian gospel singer Tosin Martins, who started as a gospel singer, moved to a mix of secular and gospel music.
Defending his style of mixed music, Martins, in a post on social media two years ago, stated that people’s expectations from artists were usually high, hence the need to excel, adding that “a secular environment presents you the opportunity to influence other people with the ideals and values of our faith.’’
Former American recording artist Robert Sylvester Kelly, professionally known as R. Kelly, grew up in a musical family and started singing at age eight.
R. Kelly was groomed as a musician at the same church where his mother sang and led the choir. His second self-titled album was filled with a number of songs with gospel-infused lyrics.
An American singer, Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson, started her music career as a gospel artist but later fell into pop and found fame when she collaborated with producer Dr. Luke on ‘I Kissed A Girl’.