If there is one act that is waiting to explode in the Nigerian music industry, it is Philadelphia Ekesiena with the stage name Philadelphia Kes. The young, dynamic and creative gospel artiste is gradually carving a niche for herself as one upwardly-mobile singer with potential to be great. Her latest single He Came Through is a testimony to this. In this interview with EDWIN USOBOH, the Delta-born talks about her love for gospel music, growing up and the next big step for her…
How did you start singing?
I literary grew up in church, joined the children’s choir at a very tender age. I became one of the best at the time, while in high school, still kept at it. It was during university days that when I knew singing was my thing and decided to do it for real.
Do you play any instruments?
Not at all.
What inspired the title of your song, ‘He Came Through’?
There was a time in my life where depression, regular mood swings were the order of the day. Then my cousin came up with the song and we co-wrote it, and that was how I was able to really express myself through the lyrics of the song.
How long did it take to write and produce the song?
It took about five years because we had the song since my university days and decided to revamp the song four years after graduation.
This is a single. Do you intend to make a complete album so soon?
Yes of course, a couple of other songs are on the pipe line already.
What are some of the challenges as a gospel artiste and how do you cope with them?
Really, it’s not easy putting out good music I mean the whole process of producing, engineering, promoting. Having to keep up with the financial commitments has been a major challenge but somehow God makes a way and things are sorted.
What other plans do you have outside music?
I’m very good with clothes, fashion generally such that I have plans to set up a fashion outfit soonest.
Do you have any role models either in the gospel genre or music generally?
Yes I do, I love Maranda Curtis, when I grow up I want to be like her, lol I love Efe Nathan as well, her vocal strength is one which I covet. So, I keep working hard everyday to match the best in the business.
How far do you intend to go in the music industry?
Own or co-own a record label someday where I can sign upcoming artistes to relief them from some of the stress I am passing through now and music making becomes easier and fun filled.
What informed your choice of gospel music over secular?
I like I said earlier, I grew up in church and gospel music is everything I have known as a child up until now even though I’m a wide listener and I listen to diverse genres. So yeah, the love for gospel came naturally.
What’s your assessment of gospel music in Nigeria?
Gospel music in Nigeria is still growing, it’s got a lot of potential even across West Africa and the entire world. What we have so far are a lot of very talented gospel artists but need help in the area of awareness, promotion, distribution and production.
Radio station, TV station and other media outlet need to promote us more, that way we will get the maximum coverage we need an exposure.
What gives you joy?
Good music, achieving a set goal, and a couple of other things I can’t mention here.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? Was there a time when you thought of doing something completely different?
Well, as a child I did music for fun, I didn’t think of becoming a professional someday but I kept sharpening up the craft. It was when I went to the university to study and someday become an Economist that I realised that my love for music is beyond just doing it for fun and that I’d like to do it full time, so my undying love for music inspired my decision to going into it fully.
What turns you off?
Lies, deceit, bad smell.
What are the things you won’t be caught doing?
Lying, backbiting, extortion.
The Gospel music industry is a bit overcrowded. How do you intend to stand out?
I have a sound I am set to project, I want to be as original as possible, with that I’m sure I’d stand out and in turn break even.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself proclaiming the name of Jesus round the world and anywhere my feet steps on. I’m sold out to making Jesus famous through my songs as that’s the whole essence of salvation.
You are beautiful; tell us about your ideal man?
He has to be God-fearing, intelligent and tall.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m Philadelphia Ekesiena, but my stage name is Philadelphia Kes. I originally come from the southern part of Nigeria, Delta state to be precise. I studied International Economics at the Ternopil National Economic University, Ukraine (B.Sc) 2015.
I love good music, fashion, intellectual conversations, honest people. When I’m not singing, I’m surely checking out new fashion styles, trends and all. I have 5 siblings and I’m the third of 6 children.