Temitope Odunlami, popular for her song, ‘Ijo Ope’ is a gospel artiste with a hi-life vibe. In this interview, she speaks about her music career and her love for God.
Tell us about your background?
I was born the Sodipe family in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Growing up, what schools did you attend?
I attended Samuel Ajayi Nursery and Primary School, Oke-bode, Abeokuta, Ogun State and Rev’d Kuti Memorial Grammar School, Isabo, Abeokuta, Ogun State. From that point, I moved on to obtain my National Diploma at Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, also in Abeokuta, Ogun State. Today, I am married to Oluwaseun Odunlami.
How did music start for you?
Singing has been an intrinsic part of me ever since my primary school days. I could remember I started leading the school cultural group when I was in Primary Two. Joining the church choir when I was in Primary Five was also an important feat in my music formation.
At what point did you decide to start doing music professionally? null
Initially, my singing was not beyond the four walls of my church until 2018 when I got married to my husband. He saw the vision and he saw a minister in me, which was not obvious to me until he pointed it out to me. So, the move to go professional started as initiated and championed by him. Basically, I would say it all started in 2018.
Why gospel music?
I would say it is gospel music because that is what I have devoted my time to doing ever since I joined the choir of my church (United Spiritual Church). It later became more natural for me when I assumed the post of the choir mistress.
What has the acceptance rate been like for your songs, do you regret going into gospel music?
My hi-life gospel style has prompted a lot of people, most especially those in Abeokuta, to liken my style to some popular gospel artistes in Nigeria, which is a testament to the wide acceptance of the pattern. I have no regrets at all.
What is the biggest challenge the gospel music industry in Nigeria has in your opinion?
There are lots of challenges facing the gospel music industry, but I think the chief amongst all is what I can call societal influence. It is obvious that the society of now is drifting more towards hip-hop style, which has also influenced most of our gospel musicians to dilute their songs, which I think is killing the messages most times. The dilution is eroding the message and I see it as a challenge. Also, the issue of promoters is a huge challenge as well.
Who are your role models?
Sola Allyson and Tope Alabi.
What inspires you?
I will say anything that will bring down the presence of God ignites my spirit to sing. I love to worship His beauty and the euphoric atmosphere of His presence always inspires me to sing.
Tell us about some of your programmes and concerts.
We have a monthly programme tagged ‘An hour Street Praise with Ijo Ope’, which holds every first Tuesday of the month and there is another one which is yearly, it comes up on every second Sunday of August, called ‘Shalom Praise’. My song IJÓ OPÉ has also been constantly trending.