14 July 2024

From the Heart: GTPraise shares his inspiration about his music journey



by Damilola Odunukan

Truly, life is unscripted, however, man lives according to some dictates unknown to him; a path charted by some forces that control the cause of his existence.  Everyone is charting their courses in life and working to ensure they get it right and do not fall out of purpose; after all, we are still figuring out life.


GTPraise is not different from everyone regarding what a human should be. However, his uniqueness has singled him out, and life’s fate will always have its way; he is living his life, his purpose, and treading the path his fate has designed him to walk.

In this article, he is sharing his journey of life so far, how long he has been on this course, and how he rose from that young undergraduate at the University of Ilorin to traveling to the United Kingdom for his master’s degree programme and venturing into music.



In this interview, Gabriel Oluwatobi Akande, popularly known as GTPraise, shares his journey and how he found joy, purpose, and fulfillment after channeling his gift to good use. He shared how he rose from an educationist to becoming a gospel minister and how being a gospel singer is more fulfilling to him.



To start with, your name, GTPraise, what is the motivation behind it?


(Smiles), okay, Gtpraise is a merge of my initials. I did that during my undergraduate years at the  University of Ilorin about 15 years ago. It is actually the fusion of my full name, that is, my first name, Gabriel, and my middle name Oluwatobiloba, which is shortened to Tobi. So, I decided to add Praise to my initials because I am very energetic and enthusiastic about praising God. So, that is how GTPraise came to be today (Laughs).




What sparked your passion for music, and when did you realize you wanted to make a career out of it?


GTPraise: Music has always been inborn for me; it is a part of me; I live it. You know when you just can’t control something that is troubling your soul or your mind, and you keep thinking about it all day, all the time? Just like how Tope Alabi sang that ‘a maa gbe mi ninu, which loosely translates to something troubling your mind and asking for freedom, that is how I feel about music. I feel as though there is a burden inside of me that wants to be let out, and keeping it to myself will do me no good. So, that is how I feel about music and it is more than just a career; it is my being, the reason I said it is inborn.

Moreover, I love to hear good sounds and as I said earlier, it has always been my dream to do music for a living even though I have a career in healthcare management.




What were some of your earliest influences? Were there any specific artistes or genres that shaped your style?


Ahhh, I love listening to Donnie McClurkin, Marvis Sapp, Don Moen, and Cece Winans, to mention a few; these great ministers have influenced me greatly in a way I can’t even explain. You know, the thing about music is that it is soulful and spiritual, and more importantly for someone like me doing gospel music, it is, actually, deeper than what we see. Music is soulful; gospel music is more spiritual and in-depth, hence why we say ministration. We minister music to souls, not just sing for the sake of it.



Can you walk us through your creative process when crafting a new song? 


Song, for me, is inborn; like I said earlier, my viral single, titled IBA, came to me while just listening to sounds. You know how the Psalmist said praise Him with praises and harps and cymbals? You should understand that feeling when you listen to music and you start having goosebumps and chills all over you. That is proof that the song is ministering deep to your soul; you can feel it in some deep place in your body. That was how I felt when I came up with IBA, and how melodious and sweet would it have been if this inspiration could be channeled to praising the God Almighty?


What do you attribute your success to?


No two-way about it. My success is solely on God, nothing more! He is my source, and although I know that He won’t come down from heaven in His glory, it is human beings He will; he is still my source, and I owe, everything I am today,  to Him.



How do you maintain that connection with your audience?


It is not a difficult thing to do at all. I just immerse myself in deep and true worship, and like a magnet, my audience clicks; they connect. Besides, they are a source of joy to me because we belong to the same tribe, that is the tribe of God. Because it takes one true spirit to connect and carry people along, and I am glad that they support me and my brand as well.



Looking back on your journey, what advice would you give to aspiring artistes just starting out?


Well, there is not much to say at all, but to you all upcoming artistes, make God your everything, and He will make you stand before Kings and not mere men because I believe in the scripture, which says The gift of man makes way for him and makes him stand before Kings, that is Proverbs 18 vs 16.



What’s next for you? Are there any exciting projects or collaborations on the horizon?


Yes, there are a whole lot of projects on the way. Currently, we have IBA by GTpraise on all digital platforms, and I can tell you the streams are very impressive. The video will be dropping soon as well. Loads of features are coming as well; we will be working with some notable prominent gospel artistes both home and abroad.



Okay, that’s quite impressive. You know, there is no sky without a silver lining; how has your journey been so far? Can you share the hurdles you scaled, as well as your ups and downs since you began singing?


My journey as a gospel singer has been a rollercoaster ride, but I’m grateful for every moment. When I first started singing, I faced rejection and discouragement from those who didn’t believe in my talent. I had to scale several hurdles, including self-doubt, financial struggles, and competition from other talented singers. However, I persevered because of my passion for singing and my conviction that God has called me to spread His good message through music.



What is the force motivating you that regardless of what comes your way, and why you won’t give up on music?


For me, it’s my faith in God. I believe He has called me to use my gift of singing to spread His message of hope and redemption. My faith is the driving force behind my music, motivating me to keep going despite the challenges. I also draw inspiration from the Bible verse in Psalm 138:8, which says, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.” This verse reminds me that no matter what obstacles come my way, God’s purpose for my life will ultimately be fulfilled.


Alright. So, here is a question burning in my heart, and I would like you to answer it.  You know many people go into something for different reasons; why did you choose to do Gospel music and not secular music?


I chose to do Gospel music because it’s not just about singing or making money; it’s about serving God and using my talent to glorify Him. I believe that Gospel music has the power to transform lives and bring people closer to God. As a Christian, I feel compelled to use my platform to spread the message of salvation and redemption. I want my music to be a reflection of my relationship with God, and Gospel music allows me to do just that.


What is your long term plan in the gospel music industry?


As a gospel singer, my aspirations is to continue to create songs that inspire and uplift souls. I believe that music has the power to bring people together and to inspire positive change, and I hope to be a part of that movement.


In the short term, my goal is to release new songs regularly and I also plan to continue collaborating with other gospel singers and producers to create fresh and spirit filled songs that resonate with a wide audience.

In the long term, I hope to be known as one of the most influential and respected gospel singers of my generation. I hope to be able to use my God given gift to make a positive impact on the world.


How do you hope to weather the storm that comes your way?


As for weathering the storm that comes with being a gospel music minister, I believe that having a strong faith and a supportive network of friends and family is key. I also believe in surrounding myself with positive people who uplift and encourage me, rather than tearing me down.

Additionally, I also believe in taking care of my mental and physical health, which is crucial in this industry.


Can you mention the platforms where your music can be streamed?


Yes! My music is available on various platforms, such as Spotify, YouTube, and AudioMack. You can find my music on all of these platforms.



If you had the opportunity, what gospel minister would you like to sing or minister with?


Wow! That’s a great question! There are so many talented Gospel ministers out there whom I admire and would love to collaborate with. Tope Alabi, Mike Abdul and Ebuka Songs. Their anointing is incredible, and their music has been a blessing to me personally. It would be an honor to share the stage with them and learn from their experience.



Can you explain the concept of gospel music ministration? You know how people say that a gospel singer is not an artiste like they call their secular counterparts; they’re rather ministers of the gospel as well. What can you say about this?


Yes! Gospel music ministration is more than just singing songs; it’s about ministering the Word of God through music. As a Gospel singer, I believe that our role goes beyond just entertaining people; we are called to minister the Good News of Jesus Christ, and my melodies are meant to lift people and draw them closer to God. As a minister of the Gospel, I am accountable not only for my words but also for my actions and behavior on and off stage.


In essence, we are not entertainers; we are ambassadors of Christ, using our gifts to bring people closer to Him. This responsibility is weighty, but it’s also an honor to be able to serve in this way.



What is the inspiration behind IBA?


IBA was inspired by my relationship with God to create lyrics that talk about the beauty and wonder of God. And as I said earlier, I was enjoying the melody and beauty of some instrumentals and this triggered me to channel that beauty and power that music carries, especially gospel music, to praise God Almighty.



GTPraise is a gospel music minister who has just released a track titled IBA. He can be followed on TikTok and IG, where he shares updates about his music and videos.



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