As Igbo, it’s amazing to be married to a Yoruba man —UK-based Nigerian gospel singer

Nigerian-born UK-based gospel act, Shophie Godwin, recently dropped her sophomore single, entitled Come and see. Sophie, who is better known as Sophy-Yah in entertainment circles, has emerged as one of Nigerian wave-making artistes in the United Kingdom. Sophie, the daughter of a famous music producer, was first introduced to music at home, when she would listen to the music of great artistes like Felix Liberty and Sonny Okosun.

“I grew up surrounded with all sorts of music. My father, Mr Godwin Obodozie, had a record store, Romantic Records, in Ikeja in the 80s. Aside from that, he also managed a couple of famous artistes like Felix Liberty, Sonny Okosun and several others. Of course, his job as a music producer really helped to shape my career in music, in the sense that I fell in love with music listening to different genres of music. Doing that also stirred up something in me as a child, something that has resulted in the artiste I have become today.”

Interestingly, Imo State-born Sophie is married to a man from Ekiti State. The beautiful singer described the experience of being married to a man from outside her tribe, in a plural society like Nigeria, as amazing. She, however, said it was easy for her to integrate into her husband’s family because of her ability to speak Yoruba language fluently.

“Being married to my husband has been very amazing and I am happy with it. But, it is important that you know that I am married into a strong Yoruba Christian family from Ekiti State. My father in-law, Rev. J.K. Omotosho, before he passed on was the head of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) in Great Britain and the whole of Europe.

“Again, it was very easy for me to integrate with my Yoruba family since I grew up in Lagos and I speak the language fluently. I can also read and write the language perfectly, and I know and understand much Yoruba culture. With that, it was very easy for to blend into the family.”

As a member of the choir of her church, it was easy for Sophie to become a professional later in life. “I have always wanted to do music professionally, but was waiting for the right time. I realised I could be a professional singer when I was a member of Daystar Christian Centre Church, the church of Reverend Sam Adeyemi.

“During my years there, I was one of the praise worship leaders and also one of the soloists. Most times, after ministrations, people would ask me when I will produce an album. At some point, three of the Daystar pastors called me differently to ask what I was doing about my music career and when I will be going to the studio to record. I am really happy that that is a reality today and I give God all the glory.”

Singing in the church, it was an easy decision for her to make when the time came for her to decide on which genre of music to explore. Explaining the reason behind her decision to choose gospel music to The Nation, she said: “The deciding factor to be a gospel act is the passion I have for music and the things of God. I wanted to reach out to different types of people. For me, it was also a way of encouraging people and letting the people know that all will be well and to remind them of God’s love and hope in the face of adversities. I am happy that I am able to do this through music, and not just any how music.”

At a time when entertainers’ attention is focused on making lucrative songs that are woven together in lewd lyrics, Sophie said her decision to concentrate her efforts on gospel was because of her faith.

“I will say gospel songs are okay. It is an open secret that gospel music is not as lucrative as secular, but I am trusting God that things will turn around soonest in the gospel circle by God’s grace. Moreover, my faith will not allow me to sing any other song, but gospel,” she said.

The first of seven children, Sophie was born in Lagos where her parents live till date. “I was born in Lagos, Nigeria. I am the first of seven children. My parents are still alive and well. I am Igbo, originally from Imo State. My father is a clergy and supported by my mother.”

She became a celebrity recently when she won an award in the UK. Describing the experience, she said, “Wow! What can I say? It was a great experience and I really thank God for it. An award like that is very encouraging, and it just goes to show that people appreciate my work and the effort I put into it. I am really grateful to God for the recognition.”

With her stunning beauty, it is not surprising that Sophie constantly draws the attention of men who want to be her friend. Asked how she copes with the attention, Sophie said:  “Well, it has not been easy at all, but God is helping me.”

Even while trying to put male admirers at arms’ length, the singer still ensures that she looks her best at all times. For her, a woman is supposed to look her absolute best at all times.

“Fashion is something that allows a man or a woman to look their absolute best. And when you look your absolute best, you feel your absolute best. And when this occurs, you hold your head up higher and have pride in yourself!

“To me, fashion also means not revealing too much, because you will be addressed the way you are dressed. I dress my best at all times, lest I attract the wrong people. In choosing my colours, sometimes the occasion/event determines that. But my number one determining factor in choosing a colour is my skin tone, it determines which colour looks best on me.

“The colour must be a colour that creates a contrast in brightness with my skin and more flattering. I also use that to determine what accessories to wear as well.  I love the rich culture of Nigeria, I love the people and their diversities.”

She confessed that growing up was tough for her. “I was born in Nigeria, but growing up was very difficult in the sense that I gave my life to Christ really early in life, when I was 13 years old. I was severely persecuted for my faith for eight years, but to God be the glory, all my persecutors are all now strong committed Christians.”

Asked what she regards as her most-prized possession, Sophie said: “Hmmm, I can’t come up with a material object, I can’t live without God. So, I will say my salvation and faith in God are my most-prized possessions.”

Despite living in the UK and being a Catering and Hotel Management graduate, Sophie remains very much in love with Nigerian foods. “I work in market research as a Research Project Manager. I also studied Catering and Hotel Management. I love Nigerian foods a lot, and I don’t joke with my ‘swallow’ (solid food) despite the fact that I live abroad.”



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