Lanre Teriba is often in the news for wrongs reasons, but this successful gospel singer who seems to be tired of the controversies, in this interview with Anthonia Duru, opens up on his eventful life, his ministry, and his upcoming Canada tour.
You seem to be concentrating more on your prophetic ministry than music.
This is not the case. For instance, the performances scheduled on my USA tour last year were coordinated along with my schedule at Oke Sioni Ministries. It required me to travel back and forth, sometimes twice a week but I don’t mind. It makes me happy to have two special assignments from God.
My musical career is embedded in my calling as a Prophet of God hence they both are dear to me and I am passionate about them. I guide both jealously because they are special assignments given to me by God for mankind.
At what point in time did you discover your prophetic calling?
Anyone with the gift of prophecy knows that recognising the gift is beyond what can be described with words. It is also really too private for me to discuss. But I can say when it was time to share my gift with the world, everything came into place hence the launch of my ministry.
It must be challenging transiting from a celebrity to a prophet
I don’t see anything as a challenge. Over the years, I have come to realise that people will do anything for money, cheap publicity or to be attached to your name.
Can you tell us more about your ministry?
Oke Sioni Ministries was set up to help people develop their relationship with God through prayer, mentorship, charity, and music. The tasks are huge but I have the backing God which is sufficient and who is big enough to finance the vision. God is the ‘visioner’ I am only an instrument.
What is the greatest lesson life has taught you?
Stay focused and keeps going. I learn from every event and I am working hard to be a better person.
What are some of your past actions you regretted ever taking?
I have No regrets. I work on improving myself daily so I can influence people positively. Every day is a great learning experience. I am working to be a better me who will influence people positively.
Everything has been a great learning experience. I believe strongly that when you are on top, you automatically become a topic. I don’t know those behind the many dirty stories about my person. Initially, when it all started I often feel bad but now, I have a better understand because of my heritage in God.
I am more concerned with my relationship with God. I don’t want any dent on my relationship with God hence I am more careful now. I will continue to aspire to be perfect just like Jesus Christ is perfect. Jesus know me and I know him, every other thing to me is secondary and inconsequential.
Do you still compose songs as a General Overseer?
I still compose songs through the instrumentality of Holy Spirit, my advocate. I don’t sing about myself and none of my songs are about me. God directs and he fills my mouth anytime I want to compose any song. I don’t know where it comes from all I know is that God loves me and I won’t disappoint him.
There are lots of people who have gone astray, God is still using that song to bring back the lost sheep. It is not about me but about God who sent me. All my lyrics are beyond me and they are coming from God. Anytime I open my mouth, he fills it with his songs.
You featured Oritsefemi in one of your albums, what was the motive?
Oritsefemi featured on my song ‘Work Around’ which is on the Halleluyah album. I did that to reach the youths and the secular demographic.
Why is it that gospel artiste like you can’t come out to rebuild gospel music industry through Gospel Musician Association of Nigeria (GOMAN)?
I am working very hard to uplift gospel artistes through GOMAN and churches in general. But one of the biggest challenges we are having, for now, is companies are not encouraging gospel artistes in Nigeria. How many gospel artistes are offered brand endorsements in Nigeria?
Some churches even expect gospel artistes to come and minister free of charge forgotten we also have bills to pay, yet do not expect such from our foreign colleagues. All artistes that sing about God should be valued. It is unfortunate that most of our church leaders don’t believe that, because if they did, paying our booking fee would not be a hassle.
How far with LTEE Records which you set up years back. This must have swollen your bank balance.
I set up the label to encourage upcoming indigenous artistes in gospel and other music genres. I hope I can enable musicians the same way I was encouraged when I released my first album.
Now that you are a General Overseer, do you still perform at Night Clubs?
These titles, General Overseer, Prophet, Evangelist, Doctor and so on are very funny to me. My name is Lanre Teriba. Nevertheless, I will continue to take my music to anywhere whenever it is requested.
I am the first gospel artiste to take God’s message of liberation and deliverance through songs to night clubs. It is all to the glory of God. I just want people to know that whatever they can enjoy out there, they can enjoy it withGod.
I perform at parties. I won’t stop propagating the gospel of Jesus Christ anywhere and everywhere. Even if it means going to dreaded paths, I will, because for this reason I was called to be a minister of God. This is one of my pacts with God.
As a Prophet, what is God telling you about Nigeria?
This is very deep and God actually told me he will tell me who will become the next president of Nigeria and the next governor of Ogun State during our 2nd year anniversary which will hold last Wednesday of September.
Trust God who hasn’t stop speaking through me that this will also come to pass. Until then, I won’t say anything about the state of Nigeria.
Tell us about your upcoming Canadian Tour?
It is a series of music festivals tagged, ‘Nigerian Cultural Heritage in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary’. Iwill perform in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Niagara Falls. Canadians requested my music and I am going to make sure my performances are unforgettable.
This is another manifestation of God’s awesomeness. Everything about me and around me is always a pointer toGod’s unflinching love towards me. I applied for the visa with 10 of my band members and none of us was rejected. I was drinking garri when I got the news that we have been granted visas and I praised God mightily. It is a one-month tour to Canada in celebrating Canada at 150 years.
There is this popular belief that Nigerian musicians don’t make money from their tours abroad. What is your experience on your past international tours?
I make more money in Nigeria. But I don’t go on tour because of money. I go to spread my music and learn about other cultures. That is beyond money, that experience is what I call true wealth.
You once said in an interview that you don’t want to be a pastor.
Yes, I said that. I am not a pastor. I am a leader and medium of God’s glory.
Aside from God’s grace, who are the people who helped advance your career?
God naturally inspires me. Which makes me read and learn from different people. Since I have a diverse fan base, it is extremely important that everyone feels included in my compositions.
Sometimes it requires me to compose songs about their experience with God or learn a new dance. I am a determined artiste and I do a lot of research from time to time. I do a lot of research to refresh my teaming fans out there.
Apart from research, there should be a wellspring from within that inspires you to sing. That is from God. Despite the wrong perception people have about me, I’m a man of principles.
What readily comes to your mind anytime you are on stage?
Inspiring myself, so I can inspire and move the crowd. Like I said before, understanding your crowd is very important. Once, I see people singing along, smiling, dancing and requesting for more, then, I know I am doing the right thing as an artist.
The most important thing on my mind is to make people happy because I believe in the happiness of my people. Basically, this is my vision and mission. I like to put smiles on people’s faces.
You have made lots of money in your career. How do you manage your finance?
Have I made money yet? Let’s save that for another interview. But I studied Accounting and Insurance at Federal Polytechnic, Offa, Kwara State, and they taught me how to manage money.
What is your favorite track on your upcoming album and when will it be released?
All the tracks on the new album are superb, I can’t really say one, in particular, is my favourite. All the tracks are so meaningful to me and I know it will be a blessing once we release it. The new album will be released anytime from August.