Shade Odetunde is an exceptional hymn leading singer with incredible talent. She leads hymns during RCCG’s monthly Holy Ghost service and major programs. Shade, who holds B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Music from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, shares her experience with our correspondents in this exclusive interview.
Can we know who Shade Odetunde is?
Shade Odetunde is a child of God. She is a musicologist, at least she studied music fully. She had her first degree in music at Obafemi Awolowo University. She also had her second degree in music at Obafemi Awolowo. She even did diploma in music as well. Shade Odetunde is a wife to Victor Odetunde. She is a mother of three, and she is a gospel musician.
Why do your fans call you a hymn specialist?
Laughs… well, I think why most of them call me a hymn specialist is because of what they are seeing at the Redemption Camp and then prior to what is happening now, the Lord had already given me a vision. I saw a vision while I was very young like age 6-8 in primary school then. In that vision, I was in front of multitudes and what I was doing then was singing hymns in that vision and the only thing I could see in that vision was people’s heads, I couldn’t see their faces but I was seeing heads. So, what I’m doing in the Redeemed Christian Church of God now happens as a divine arrangement. The Holy Spirit had to remind me of what I saw years back and that this is it manifesting now at the camp. So why most of them call me a hymn specialist is because of what is happening here in the Redemption Camp.
Are you the one or did you compose the hymns along with Daddy E. A. Adeboye?
Laughs… hallelujah o. No, I wasn’t the one that composed them; I did not compose alongside with Daddy G. O either. Daddy is actually the composer of those hymns. The only thing I do is to get the lyrics and the Holy Spirit helps me to recite them over and over until I master them.
Why did you join RCCG and what prompted you?
I think I was baptized through marriage into RCCG. I mean, I got married to my husband in RCCG. He came to marry me in 2007, March 17.
Can you tell us what exactly inspired you to make a career from music?
Hmmm, what actually inspired me? Number 1, the Holy Spirit. According to the history that I heard from my father, he said right from my babyhood, he has been carrying me to rehearsals. I was inducted into music right from infanthood. So, I grew into music from there, to children department. I was in the children choir in 1987 where I was lifted into adult choir. I was born and bred in Christ Apostolic Church.
How has your membership in RCCG choir influenced your music?
It has positively influenced my music, especially through hymns, because when I joined, I did not discover the aspect of hymns initially. I joined to equip myself so as not to be lazy, so that I will have something doing in line with my music career and have a place to serve God better. This action has opened up the giant in me, that there is this value laying inside me which is the hymn aspect.
What type of gospel music do you sing and who are your contemporaries?
Laughs… that aspect you asked now is very deep. I sing according to the leading of the Holy Spirit, that is why I don’t put myself into any junks of gospel music. Any aspect that the Holy Spirit wants to use me, I flow through. Like if He wants to use me in the area of hymns, I flow through; if He wants to use me in the area of praise, I flow through; in the area of worship, I flow through. Some of my contemporaries are Bukola Bekes, Odun Aboderin, because I believe we are one in Christ; even artistes that are upcoming, we are all contemporaries because our goal is heaven. So, whether age or not, whether you have fame or you do not have, as long as our focus is Christ, to reach our goal which is to get to heaven, then we are all contemporaries.
Some people are feeling that since you came on stage, just because you mentioned Bukola Bekes now, it seems she has been played down?
No, she has not been played down. Why I said so is because God has taken her to another level of her ministry which is an eye opener to international ministry. Most of her ministrations now are in abroad, so the Lord has taken her to another level and she has opened doors for people that are coming behind her.
What types of challenges have you been facing in your music career?
There are a lot of challenges there. For example, the last Holy Ghost Service in October, my car broke down and with that I’m still going for ministrations. I will not say that because I’m not mobile, I will not minister or do God’s work. Like today, let me say I was weary. I wanted to tell one of my boys that we are not going to camp again that we should rest. But the Holy Spirit scolded me. He said that wasn’t our agreement, you have said if it is convenient for you, you will serve me, if it is not convenient for you, you will still serve me. With that I put on my clothes and off we went. We took commercial bus and on our way coming to camp, we saw one of our pastors who picked us from Berger to the camp. So, had it been I stayed at home and I said I’m not coming for Holy Communion today, I would probably have missed something that God had prepared for the service.
As a public figure, because by God grace you are one, how do you feel taking a public bus?
You know people will call you, some will even embarrass you with the way they jump at you. But yet I feel good. Why? Because it makes me to know what people are going through. You know when you are in your comfort zone, you will not know what the masses are passing through on a daily basis, but when you go out there without your car and you walk in their midst, you realize what they are facing and the need to help them in your own way.
Can you say you are fulfilled in music career now?
No, am not fulfilled yet. Do you know why I said am not fulfilled yet? Because there is a lot of things I needed to do that I’m yet to do and that’s number 1. Number 2, I’m still learning; you know Daddy G.O says that he is not there yet, so if Daddy G.O is saying he’s not there yet, who am I to say I have achieved? I have not achieved anything, for example, I just told myself I want to learn a new instrument aside my voice and my husband was like… because he too is a musicologist, he said, “wow, I will watch you for one month if you are still consistent about what you just said.” And I took up the saxophone on Monday and started rehashing and he said you will be playing just one note for one month. I said no problem. When he saw me the second day, he said add another one note, add another note again. At the end of the day, I ran a skill on the saxophone. I was fulfilled that moment. And I said I will learn another new thing. You know as a musician or as a singer, we need to learn a new thing on a daily basis.
How many albums or singles have you released so far?
I have released one album but to my credit I have almost 10 singles.
What is the title?
Alagbawi, and it’s always on air on Dove TV as well as on all social media platforms, and on YouTube via Shade Odetunde. It is on Instagram, on Apple, on Amazon. So, it’s there, Alagbawi by Shade Odetunde
How are people responding to the album?
Well, there are a lot of testimonies that are attached from what people say about the album. That is, what God did when they listened to it. All glory to God.
When do you plan to release another album?
Come next year by God’s grace, that is year 2023.
So, what are your priorities in the music industry?
Number one priority is to win souls for Christ, to reach out to people through music, to meet the needs of the people and to raise upcoming leaders in music.
Can somebody invite you to a church or to an occasion to render music?
Yes, by God’s grace.
How can someone contact or reach you?
They can reach me on 08163852585 or send an email to email@example.com
On a final note, what advice do you have for the upcoming gospel singers?
My advice for the upcoming gospel singers is, number one, to know Christ by themselves. When you know God by yourself, you will be able to scale through challenges in life. Number two, don’t put money first. Yes, money is important but don’t let money be your priority. Let God be your priority. With God, you will have money. Why I’m saying this is because God knows how to connect you, not man. If a man connects you today, the same man will pull you down later. That is why I say, they should know God by themselves.
On that note, to what extent has your husband contributed to your career?
A lot! Like today, I’m here on camp, he’s at home with the children. So, he has done a lot and he has been encouraging me. He has been there as my pastor. I always tell him, you are my pastor, my prophet, because God has really used him for me. He was the first person to tell me, even before I heard it from God, that I should not charge for being invited for ministration. When we first got married, I was invited to a workshop, a music workshop, to come and train them. He said, “Beloved”. We called ourselves Beloved. He said, “don’t charge”. I said why? I studied music and I had this notion that immediately I come out of the campus walls, I need to make all the money that I can. He said, if God had not given you the grace to study the music, would you be able to study it? He reminded me that not all of us that were admitted into music department did finish. He said God gave me that grace to study music so I should return all the glory back to Him and I listened and obeyed and God has been faithful since then.
Can a small church invite you for ministration?
Yes, countless of them. I only reject an invitation if have been booked, that is, if I have been invited somewhere else. Unless if their timing is different and the distance is not too far, I might consider them. So, I do take invitations from small churches.
If a small church invites you, what is the minimum instrument set up you expect them to have?
When Jesus Christ was ministering, did He use any sound system? No. I tell people that in the time of Jesus Christ, there was no sound system and he ministered to 5,000 people, even more. So, why can’t we ask for that grace? I remember a post of Daddy G.O ministering in a small and an uncompleted church building. They were only using benches. I saw the picture on Facebook. You know the press, they will take it whether you like it or not, so they put it online. When I saw him in that church, I was like who am I to tell a small church I cannot come to your church to minister? Where have I gone to in ministry? I pray that God will help all of us. Even if it is outside God said go and minister to that brother, I will do it joyfully. I cannot count several small churches we have gone to minister in this year and God has been faithful. There is one I pinned down on my Instagram page, it was a very small church, it wasn’t a RCCG church; it was an Evangelical mission. All they believe in is to evangelize and I went there to minister and the message also touched me that I have to pin down the ministration on my Instagram page. If you enter my Instagram page today, that is the first thing you will see because I want people to see that you can actually minister in a small church, whether there is a sound system or not.
Thank you for having us.