Why I’m passionate about gospel music- Jmode, Information technology expert
By Wilson Adekumola
He holds a first degree in Physics, a second degree in Geophysics, ventured into Information technology. But he has deep passion for music. For Pastor John Atomode, who hails from Kogi State, music is life. He is the music director of Agape Christian Assembly, Ogba Lagos.
But then he is a man with a sense of purpose and mission. Despite being a music director he has planted his feet in the information technology world. Being an IT expert, he worked for MTN Nigeria for four years then moved to CHAMS Plc, a foremost company of identity management solution resort where he is currently the head, IT Infrastructure.
He got the appointment when the company won the deal with coalition of Nigeria banks to run BVN project. He was part of the team that deployed the BVN servers to all the twenty-two Nigeria banks.
He became born again in 1992 while still in secondary school. His passion for God made him read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation three times before he completed his JSS3. He was a member of RHEMA campus fellowship in his days at the University of Ilorin where he bagged his first degree. While serving in Ekiti State in 2007, he was the secretary of Nigerian Christian Corpers Fellowship, NCCF, of the state.
On why he is so passionate about music, he narrates, “I was a member of the choir called “Spoken Words” when I was in the university. I gave a lot of assistance to the music director of the group then. Before then I had learnt how to play keyboard and drums. I normally played the keyboard and drums for my church. In those days, some people called me MP3 because of my adroitness. But there was a time I discovered that most of our vocalists got too busy and most times I would be the one that would arrange the song and the band and teach everyone what to sing.
“One day it dawned on me that since I was the one arranging all the music activities why can’t I sing it. So, that particular day, I just called the bluff of the lead vocalist, I said since you are always busy attending programs and you don’t have our time I would sing. So I took it upon myself and sang the song. That was around 1997/98.
“But I made my debut in 2002, I looked at it that I have come a long way singing. So for the first time I made a public appearance singing as a soloist. It was a song written by myself. I sang it at the indoor sports hall of Kwara State stadium during the concert organized by KMC, Kingdom Minstrels for Christ, tagged, “Festival for Souls”.
“We arranged the program and I was given an opportunity to perform for five minutes. That was the beginning of my professional music career. Since that day I have not stopped singing. I have always gone everywhere to sing. I joined the choir raised by the late Reinhard Bonke when he came to Kwara State. I also joined KC Paul then. I participated with the choir of Reverend Samson Ayorinde. I was also on the same stage with Dr. Ron Kenolly when he came to Ilorin around 2007 or thereabout. It was a group called “Instruments of the Latter House” that organized a worship concert that invited Dr. Ron Kenolly. I led the praise worship before he came on stage. You know what it means to share stage with this caliber of ministers of God.
“When I moved to Lagos I also shared stage with Sister Tope Alison, Ibitayo Jeje. I grew up with TosinBee. I felt inspired and motivated. I was also in the same group with Big Bolaji. You see, I could have delved fully into gospel music but I have a strong career going on unlike Big Bolaji and TosinBee who went ahead to major their career on their music abilities. I just went ahead to focus on my technology career. I have built the career so far. But for the past five years I have been really active in the gospel music. I have been dealing with God to really make a move to the next step of my music career.”
Jmode as he is fondly called observed that gospel music in Nigeria is making a lot of progress. He noticed that for some churches to have given exposure to gospel singers speaks volume of this claim.
“Gospel music is gaining a lot of recognition in Nigeria. Love World Ministry and Redeemed Christian Church of God have given a lot of exposure to gospel musicians. I think RCCG has done a lot with halleluiah record label. It is like TosinBee is in that label. That is a laudable effort. We have all the stories here and there but on a general note we are making a positive impact. We have more songs for people to dance.
People don’t need to listen secular music because Bible says we should praise the Lord with dance. That means there should be danceable music for gospel. I see a lot of dynamics that people are really venturing into gospel music. That makes a lot of sense. I believe we are doing exceedingly well.”
Jmode disclosed that a lot still need to be done as he appealed to concerned churches to render assistance. “Gospel music needs a lot of sponsorship in Nigeria. Love World music has a studio in both Nigeria and South Africa where they can record world class album. Such music will be acceptable anywhere in the world. That is the kind of support we need from all the churches. If the church will support, it will grow our local gospel singers.
“That same brothers and sisters that lead your praise worship on Sunday and mid-week service deserve such support. If there is anything you can do to encourage such person do it. Like my senior pastor did, he did not only give the auditorium to me to mark my maiden edition but also gave me moral, financial and spiritual support.
“In some churches some artistes are left to fend for themselves. That is not good enough. That is why we have the like of D’banj who actually ran out of church to seek help elsewhere in the secular world and he got sponsorship. That attitude has made him to deviate from what he could have done for the gospel.”
The engineer-pastor who is in his late thirties however urged song ministers not to go astray in carrying out their religious obligation. He reasoned that no matter how melodious your song is, it is an empty noise when it takes people’s attention away from Christ. He also implored players in the industry to embrace love so that their songs can reflect the scriptures.
He said, “Gospel artistes should not forget their source. If there is anything you are doing no matter how melodious your music is, if you take people’s attention away from Jesus you have lost the vision. If whatever we sing does not preach Christ, then we are just one of them. We are just making empty noise. Christ is love. If you don’t love your neighbor then you don’t know Him. Let us make sure we face the real content of our assignment and knowing Christ is predicated on your fellowship with Him. If you lose your fellowship with Him you will preach heresy. You will carry out agenda not meant for the presence of the Lord.”