By YEMI OYENIYI
Second of five, my mum is a trader and my dad is a civil servant (a driver). I hawked bananas for six years of my life on the street of Lagos every day after school in order to support the family. I finished secondary school in the year 2005 from OJOTA SECONDARY SCHOOL Lagos Nigeria with my SSCE. Earlier before then, I had written 3 GCEs which were all nothing to write home about.
I was tagged a failure and given a last chance to write the NECO examination for the year 2006 which I wrote in IFE as an external candidate. My dad also said that I would continue to hawk until I make my result and that if I failed again I was going to learn mechanic at my uncle’s place.
During my hawking experience I always wrote songs under my tray which I didn’t remember the lyrics most times. Due to my love 4 music and worship, I always searched out 4 opportunities to minister every Friday night. on one occasion, I was walking on the street(Olatunji street, Lagos) where I saw a gentleman standing in front of his house with a guitar and I walked up to him and asked him if he knows how to play and he responded affirmatively and I begged him to play any progression he could. Few seconds into it, I wrote a new song without a pen in my hands, the next day I came to his house during my sales period to sing another song, this suddenly became a routine 4 me each time I had to go on sales and we wrote more than a song, at least two or three and I improved daily on my writing skill.
In 2005 after my graduation from secondary school, I started getting serious with church and God himself. I gave my life to Christ and told God that if he would help me with my examination, I was going to serve him throughout my life without any iota of fear.
Truly, he did not deny himself. I was serving in the teen’s department in my church with the whole of my heart as a choir member, within few months I became the teen’s church choir coordinator and I had to be present in rehearsal every Saturday. I would come to rehearsal with my Banana tray and return to sales when we are done.
I wrote my NECO examination, this time around much to my surprise, I had 9 credits. I was so excited and I praised God for is help.
In year 2007, while preparing for Jamb exam, I met a couple of friends who also share the same passion with me and we started singing every day after lectures. There came one day, we were doing our usual sing and I caught a great hymn we do sing tagged GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS. But there was a line in that song that struck a chord within me and I had to point it out to my friend. The line reads ….all I have needed the lord hath provided. I told them that we should pray for the opening of our eyes to see God’s provisions and we prayed and all departed to our various home, it was a Tuesday and I had to go for evening service in church.
Not knowing the gravity of the prayer we had prayed earlier, the service was over and I stepped out through the side door, on my way out I met one of the church ministers who asked what I was doing and I explained to her that I was preparing for my JAMB examination , she responded saying that when I make my result I should come and see her but I had a noggin within my spirit to keep speaking, so I told her of the COVENANT UNIVERSITY form which most of my singing friends in my tutorial college had bought; I never had this in mind before.
Through God’s divine favor I got a scholarship to study industrial mathematics in Covenant University. In my first year, I was warned not to join the choir because my dad knew I loved singing and he didn’t want any distractions as regards my academics, but I couldn’t hide this gift God has given me which I expressed daily on my way to and fro from classes everyday (which led to my leading praise and worship on my matriculation day). Though I heeded to my father’s warning by not joining the choir, I still couldn’t hide from myself, I mean my true person. My genre of music ranges from rap style, traditional, chant, rock, reggae and so on, I could absolutely sing any kind of music as long as I can hear any sound, I write a new song with it.
I finally joined the choir in my 2nd year to sing soprano but writing on my own as inspired by God each time. Many a time, I forget my lyrics and the tune of the song, but I learnt to record those inspirations with a recording device most of the time. I continued recording and practicing with some of my friends that played musical instruments.
November 2010, I collected some hill song music videos, due to my interest in worship which I viewed alone in the night while praying and asking for the exact grace and anointing that was on hill song.
Early December, I was walking on my floor in the hostel, meditating, and the chorus of the song Your word is true came with both lyrics and tune. I quickly rush to my course mate’s room to record with a device since I didn’t have one and played it over and over again till we vacated. I got home for Christmas break and was struggling to write a solo for the song but couldn’t even if I tried my all. On resumption day January 3rd 2011 after unpacking my luggage, I took a walk towards the university chapel and then the solos came, wow! Three stanzas at a time! I rushed quickly to the chapel to get a pen and a book to get down the solos of the song. Finally it was completed.
I gathered a couple of my friends who sing and rehearsed the song with them. I went to the chaplain’s office and told him I had a special number for the church. “Ok” he replied, “can I hear it”. With my not-so-refined voice and little skill in guitar and my friend Biodun, a rock guitarist accompanied me with his guitar, “wow this song must be from heaven” he replied “You stand by for Tuesday service to minister”. We left the office excited. We were set and anxious ready to minister in front of a whole congregation but we didn’t get to minister again that Tuesday. After the service on that Tuesday I rushed to the pastor’s office and said “sir, we were already prepared but we didn’t minister” “sorry he said, “stand by for Sunday” from that Tuesday till Saturday night, we embarked on rehearsals praying and singing, preparing to minster to God’s people. Finally, the day came, with the whole of my heart, we ministered the song with the whole of our heart for eight good minutes and while ministering, a good number of people were on their feet, filled with joy, and sang the chorus along. Finally we finished ministering and as I was about walking off the stage, the chaplain called me back, he told me to kneel down and announced to the church that I was the writer of the song. I was actually shocked when the whole congregation exclaimed. The chaplain instructed the church to stretch forth their hands and pray for us to write greater songs, greater than Don Moen, Hillsong, Casting crowns and a host of others. Right on my knees, I was so shocked and tears were flowing down my eyes. I remembered my past and thanked God for seeing this day since then, this song has been like an anthem on the lips of every student. Indeed, HIS WORD IS REALLY TRUE, pondering on the scripture which says “the stone the builders rejected, he has made the chief corner stone”. From that moment, great songs have been dropping like the dew in the morning.
Yemi is now in his final year at Covenant University, hoping to storm the world after his release. Please click to download his song!