On Sunday, Chidinma Ekile, an Afropop star known for her hit ‘Kedike’, switched genres to become a gospel singer — marking the move with the release of her debut gospel track ‘Jehovah Overdo‘.
As unexpected as it was, the songstress backed the career move with a social media rebrand, deleting her previous content and describing herself as a “crusader for the gospel of Jesus” with a video welcoming her “back home”.
Chidinma isn’t the first to drift towards gospel amid a thriving secular music career. For many Nigerian hitmakers, gospel music has always been a form of root, where successful singers who started out in a church choir/band abound.
For Chidinma, it was a case of starting out as a gospel singer, then switching to secular music to return back to gospel music.
Here is a timeline of her music journey from her Project Fame outset to her latest genre switch and rebrand.
Up until 2010: From church choir to Project Fame — Born in Lagos to parents hailing from Imo, Chidinma grew up under the tutelage of a disciplinarian father and began singing at six. At 10, she joined her church’s choir.
She worked as a business promoter prior to auditioning for season 3 of Project Fame West Africa. Chidinma wanted to study mass communication but ended up attaining a sociology degree from the University of Lagos (UNILAG).
Chidinma initially declined her admission to the UNILAG due to her advancement in Project Fame West Africa. In an interview with YNaija, she said she has always taken school seriously and her decision to enroll was inevitable.
She said music wasn’t always on her agenda but decided to give it a try after winning the music competition. After initially dying her hair red and getting a mohawk, she said people started perceiving her as a good girl gone bad.
2011-2012: Debut album, Olamide collaboration — It was in 2011 that Chidinma proceeded to put out her Sound Sultan-assisted single “Jankoliko”. Her eponymous debut album was released through Spinlet, a music site.
She had started working on the debut studio album after releasing a collaborative project with other Project Fame season 3 finalists. Chidinma worked with some producers like Cobhams Asuquo, Tee-Y Mix, WazBeat, and Oscar Heman Ackah.
The album had the tracks ‘Carry You Go’, ‘Kedike’ and ‘Run Dia Mouth’ featuring Tha Suspect, Olamide, and Muna. Chidinma would later win Best Female West African Act at the 2012 Kora Awards where she performed ‘Kedike’.
2012-2014: Solo tracks, Wizkid & Flavour vocals — On September 14, 2012, Chidinma put out the Illbliss and Tha Suspect-assisted single ‘Emi Ni Baller’. The song was produced by Legendury Beatz.
A remix later followed. It featured vocals by Wizkid and was also produced by Legendury Beatz. Capital Dreams Pictures released the music video for “Emi Ni Baller” on June 12, 2013. It was shot and directed in the U.K by Clarence Peters.
On June 10, 2013, Chidinma put out three singles: ‘Bless My Hustle’, ‘Kite’ and ‘Jolly’ produced by Tha Suspect, Del B, and Wizzboy, respectively. On September 14, 2013, she dropped ‘Oh Baby’.
The hit’s remix came on January 29, 2014, with vocals by Flavour. Both songs were produced by Young D while a subsequent video was directed by Clarence Peters, starring Ngozi Nwosu and OC Ukeje.
Within and before this period of her music career, she performed in several countries in Africa including the Republic of Benin, Sierra Leone, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Cameroun, Equatorial Guinea, Niger, and Ghana.
2015, 2016, 2017: Movie debut, more singles & collaborations — Chindinma started her acting career by featuring in a 2017 movie titled ‘The Bridge’ and directed by Kunle Afolayan.
A look through her discography shows the songs she released within the period including ‘Yanga’ (2018) and ‘Fallen In Love’ (2017). She did some collaborations like ‘Oyoko’ in 2018 with Zoro and ‘Nkem’ in 2019 with Flavour.
It was after this period that Chidinma appeared to have gone on a somewhat protracted music scene hiatus.
May 2, 2021: Switch to gospel music, rebrand — Breaking her period of silence, Chidinma reappeared again in May 2021 but, this time to celebrate her 30th birthday, sharing photos of herself on Instagram.
Chidinma also used captions that signaled she was done with secular music with the release of ‘Jehovah Overdo‘.
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