How did you get the name Chioma Jesus?
The name Chioma Jesus came to me as a divine inspiration from the Holy Spirit. My hit track on my first album was titled, ‘Chioma,’ which means my good God. I prayed and asked God for the name of the song and he said I should title it ‘Chioma,’ then add Jesus to it. That was how the name stuck after the success of the song.
Has it always been your dream to be a singer?
It was never my dream to be a musician. My goal was just to love and serve God. I was into business when God called me but it took me some time before I answered the call.
What do you mean by God called you?
I was a business woman but during that time, I had visions where I saw myself singing and churches were inviting me for ministration.
Are you the first musician in your family?
No. I learnt that my father was also a singer when he was a young man. During their youth meetings in the village, my father used to entertain his peers through music but it was not gospel music.
Why gospel music?
I chose gospel music because I belong to that clique. As a born again Christian, I can’t sing highlife or hip-hop music. I know that by singing gospel music, I am winning souls to the kingdom of God so I have to propagate the gospel by singing Christian music.
What challenges have you faced in your career?
The challenges have been many and tough but the grace of God has been with me. When I was about releasing my first album years ago, there was no money. I prayed and God connected me to a woman that helped me. After the album was released, people loved my hit song, ‘Chioma,’ but the marketers squandered my money. I did not get any royalty from it. The marketers really pirated my songs. The name became popular and the song was booming but no income, money was not coming my way. It was a very challenging period, so I had to pray and seek the face of God.
When the marketers did not pay your royalty, didn’t you feel like quitting music?
As a human being, I felt like giving up but whenever I went to God in prayers, He always told me that promotion does not come from men but from Him, so I should hold on to Him. God further told me that when His presence and glory abounds by me, men would look for me and the value of my life and ministry would go high and that is what I am experiencing today. I thank God that I did not give up.
Is it true that you waited for 15 years before you gave birth to your daughter?
Yes it is. I had a son before I gave birth to my daughter. He is about 22 years old. After him, I had to true for about 15 years before my daughter came.
All through the time, did you lose hope of having another child?
No, I believed God that other children would come because in one of my songs, I exalted God and described Him as the one who gives children. Whenever you try to propagate the gospel of God, the devil would always want to frustrate you to know if you believe in what you are saying. So whenever I prayed to God, He always told me that He would bless me. Back then, I would go out for inspiration and pray for other women to conceive and it normally came to pass but I was there waiting until when God’s appointed time came. He wanted to use me as a testimony.
How lucrative is gospel music in Nigeria today?
It is very lucrative and you can see that most of those singing hip-hop music are switching to gospel songs. Gospel songs can never fade out. My song ‘Chioma Jesus,’ is about 14 years old but if I go for ministration anywhere and I do not sing that song, people could go as far as throwing pure water sachet at me. It is still a very relevant song. But all these hip-hop songs don’t last more than six months. Gospel songs are so wonderful that you can listen to them when you are dying, losing hope, depressed, and it would lift up your spirit. The songs would remind you that God would answer you soon. Gospel music is very lucrative around the world.
Has your career as a gospel singer influenced your style?
Not really. Since I gave my life to Christ, I have been very conscious of what I wear; that is my lifestyle. It is not as if somebody preached to me. As you grow older, you decide on how you want to live your life and how you want to dress. I have been dressing this way before I became a popular gospel artiste.
Is that why you always wear flowing gowns?
Yes. I feel so happy when I wear flowing gowns. I also believe in the word of God that says a child of God should dress moderately in a way that would please God and men. As a gospel artiste, you showcase yourself in a crowd of about 300,000 people, you don’t have to expose your body because people would not pay attention to the song anymore but your body.
I have noticed that through my dressing, I have won so many women to Christ. I have changed so many women’s life through my style. There was a time I saw a commercial sex worker who told me she loved how I dress and I should keep it up. She said that they are trying to be like that. I believe that through my dressing, I am ministering to people especially women. I learnt that some men tell their wives that they love the way I dress. My son lived in Asia and got married. He recently brought his wife home and when he introduced his wife to me, I noticed that she was wearing a flowing gown. I was curious so I asked her and she said that she decided to be like me. She said she took her clothes to the tailor and told them to do flowing gowns like Chioma Jesus dresses because I am her spiritual mother. I am touching lives with my dressing. If I am doing something that I know is changing people’s lives for the better, I have to continue doing it.
You wear a unique hat that has become your trademark. How did you stumble on the hat?
It is not that I love hats. If you are familiar with my style, you would notice that it is only that particular hat that I wear. It was the same year I released the ‘Chioma Jesus’ song that I began wearing the hat. Like I said earlier, before I do anything I pray. I asked God how he would want me to appear; the kind of headgear I should wear and when I went to the market and saw that hat, the spirit of God told me to pick it. After my first album, I began to wear the hat and I noticed that people really loved it. That is how it became a part of my brand. I looked for the people that made the hat and I began to buy it. Sometimes I would enter a room without the hat but people would not recognise me but once I wear the hat, everybody knows that Chioma Jesus is around.
How many do you own?
I have about 20 different colours of that hat.
It seems you do not like applying make-up on your face…
No I don’t like using it. If I must, it would be a very light one. It is just my lifestyle. I don’t feel comfortable with them.
Also, you hardly wear accessories…
No, I don’t put on those things.
When was the last time you wore a necklace?
I wore necklaces last when I was about 15 years old because my mother loves gold. She always bought gold for me but when I gave my life to Christ, I decided not to wear those things again. I don’t wear earrings as well.
You seem to have a flare for African fabrics, why?
I am proud to be an African. I try my best as a gospel artiste to showcase the African style to the world. I am trying to make Africa proud and also to let people know that we love our culture as Africans. There was a time I was in Germany and I wore our African attire. As I was walking into the venue of the programme, I saw the way the Germans were admiring me. Some even went as far as touching the cloth. I am so happy that I am an African and I try to portray the image of Africa abroad.
What would you never wear?
I would never wear trousers, spaghetti tops and gowns. I would never wear anything that would expose my body. I can never be seen wearing mini-skirt and no one would ever see me walking half naked on the road.
What do you have against trousers?
I am not condemning people that wear trousers but I am not used to it because I never wore it while growing up. It would be too late for me to start wearing it now and my fans would not even like it. Even those that wear it would condemn me when they see me wearing it now because they know it is not part of my lifestyle.
If you had a chance to alter any part of your body, what would it be?
I would not change any part of my body and I thank God for how He has made me. Some days back, I saw a physically challenged lady dancing with her husband on Instagram; it was her wedding day and she was so happy. She was on the wheelchair while her husband was dancing next to her.
I have two legs, hands, why would I go to the doctor to change anything? What would I do if I was blind? I have to thank God for the way He has created me for the Bible says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are made in the image of God, so any how you see yourself, you have to thank God and glorify Him.
What’s your opinion on skin bleaching and tattoos?
It really irritates me; tattoo is not from God, it is demonic. You see some women bleach so much that their skin begins to have different colours. It is not good. You see some women’s body would shrink before they clock 50; it is because of all the chemicals they have been applying on their skin. It really irritates me and I don’t like it.