Grace Oluwadiya (El Grace) grew up in Ekiti State, Nigeria. The musician attended the Federal University of Technology (FUTA), Akure where she studied Architecture before moving to the US. Her passion for music has kept her on track, still having her sound recognized in Nigeria, having concerts and keeping up on her career as a nurse abroad. She speaks with FAVOUR BOLUWADE on her achievements, style, and other issues.
How did you keep up being abroad and still able to resound your music in your motherland?
Through the grace of God, the internet, and my promotion team, I have been able to make some impact.
What influenced your diversion to gospel music?
I grew up in the church and I have always been into gospel music. However, my background was more of classical music and hymns.
Do you think it is easier to be recognised when your music can be played to any audience?
I think it depends on the purpose of your music and the message you want to pass across and to whom the message belongs. Some people write inspirational songs that carry a good message but not necessarily to the church. Even though I am a music minister, my music is not just for the church, it’s for the whole world. However, my music reflects my God and who He is, which is my message to the world. I think when a song has a good melody, then a good message appeals to everyone regardless.
Challenges so far?
First, it was hard to get anyone that would believe in me, to produce my songs, but I think that’s because God wanted me to work with the right person. Also, I have to work harder being outside the country, yet making my music known on the side of the world.
How did you come about your stage name?
El’ Grace means God’s Grace, but I removed the S so people don’t call me Els grace and sound like Hell’s grace. My first name is Grace, hence, God’s Grace.
You had a concert in Nigeria last year; did COVID-19 stop this year?
Yes, I had a live recording concert last year September 2019 theme (Abundant Praise) featuring renowned saxophonist Beejay Sax, Efe Nathan, Yetunde Are, Bukola Bekes, Segun Atoyebi, Kunle Adeola, Tosin Alao and some other great musicians. This year I wanted to do another, but with the pandemic, I had to let it go and focus on other projects.
What’s your next collaboration game?
Of course in the nearest future, I will have. I don’t know who yet.
Who are your mentors?
I have people I watch and learn from, like Tasha Cobbs, Nathaniel Bassey, Victoria Orenze.
Do you feel fulfilled with what you do musically?
Of course, I am, but I am a perfectionist, and my own number one critic, I strive to be better each day.
What genres of music have you explored so far; what is your peculiar sound?
Wow, my album has 12 songs, where 11 are totally different. I have explored as many genres as possible. I have contemporary Christian Music, soft rock Ballard, slow high life, and so on.
Would you, now that you do gospel, team up with a secular singer like others do?
We are all created by God, I do not discriminate. As long as the song is not in any way mocking God, and as long as it does not promote evil.
What notions are wrong about Gospel music and you wish could be changed?
Some people believe all gospel artistes sing for money, or they are just jobless people that are singing for money or fame. Not at all, I work. I am a Nurse and it’s a ministry and my singing is one other that God gave me.
How do you juggle with music?
By God’s grace. I do juggle both. I prioritise and take one thing at a time.
What’s your new single about?
It is a song of testimony; it’s about God’s greatness and His power to save and deliver; Agbanilagbatan as the Yorubas would call Him. Even with the Coronavirus situation, I had to work with people with Corona pandemic. God was totally faithful hence the reason for my song.
In Nigeria, I studied Architecture and did work as an architect for some time before I traveled to the United States with my family. I started singing in church as a little girl and I played the violin when I was 2 years old. Music has always been a part of me. However, I started writing my songs in 2013 and I started recording professionally in 2017. My first song titled ‘You are beautiful’ is still available on all digital platforms.