Award-winning gospel singer Edwin Hawkins, best known for a hit arrangement of “Oh Happy Day,” has died at the age of 74.
Credited with being one of the founders of modern gospel music, Hawkins died Monday at his California home after battling pancreatic cancer, US media reported, quoting the artist’s publicist, Bill Carpenter.
“Oh Happy Day” is an 18th-century hymn which Hawkins arranged in a call and response style.
A single credited to the Edwin Hawkins Singers became a huge hit in 1969, and a year later the ensemble won a Grammy for best soul gospel performance for that song.
More than seven million copies of it were sold, Carpenter said, according to the New York Times.
Glenn Campbell and Elvis Presley also recorded renditions of the song.
Hawkins won four Grammies over the course of his career.
American Gospel Music Artiste, Don Moen, has said that he never knew he would be known globally.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise on Saturday, Mr Moen said: “In the early 80s, one of my wife’s sisters wrote a letter. In the letter, she was praying for my wife Laura and me, she said: As I was praying, I saw Don standing in front of thousands of people leading them into God’s presence and writing songs that suits the heart of kings.
“I said to Laura that , honey, your sister is a wonderful lady, but she is not a prophet because there is no way I’m going to stand in front of thousands of people.
“I couldn’t speak in front of 15 people without getting nervous,” he emphasised.
Answering a question on what else he does aside singing, Mr Moen said “I have been a music executive for 20 years. I was the Head of the Labour and Integrity; finding the song and the artistes. I wasn’t an artiste at that time.
Ron Kenoly, also a guest on Sunrise Saturday, speaking on how he started his journey said: “Let me put it in a few words spoken by a Pastor who introduced me once, he said: If the bible were to be written today in Nigeria, integrity music, Don Moen and Ron Kenoly would have a place in the scripture.
“I think that capitalises all that the Father has done in us and through us, but it has not been without test, challenges, trials, a lot of prayer and a lot of honest seeking the heart and the mind of our heavenly Father.
Mr Kenoly, being spirit filled, said that all the songs himself and Moen wrote were directed from God.
“Before recording a song, we always find out what the Father really wants to be done. I never considered ministering worship music as what I would do while I was in the military.
“When I was in the Air Force, I was always singing secular music and I won several contests,” he added.
Although some gospel musicians, including Ibitayo Jeje (who featured President Olusegun Obasanjo in her video) may complain of low returns on investments and lack of adequate support from the Christian community, Nikki Laoye says she’s making her money.
Ibitayo Jeje recently spoke to Channels Television, about gospel music not paying as it should, berating Christians for supporting secular artistes more that they support gospel artistes.
However, in a recent chat with Channels Television’s Entertainment correspondent, Mayowa Ogundele, Nikki Laoye, shared tips on how gospel musicians can make more money and her number one tip is – Get Busy!
“You need what you are doing as an artiste. For me, I am more than your typical gospel artiste. My music has crossed over. My music is needed in many different ways, so I’m actually making my money in different corners.
Making reference to her performance at Mo Abudu’s 50th birthday party, and other works, Nikki said she has been very busy and her music is “all over the place.
“What I will just tell people is, make sure your music is relevant. Make sure your music is needed. Wherever it is, you’ll be called.”
She noted that artistes should not depend on music alone, adding that she has other businesses – including blogging and radio presenting, that fetch her income.
She also complained of the lack of structure in the entertainment industry, which causes artistes to lose money.
“I’m not in one place, depending on my music alone. I’m a business woman at the same time”.
Nikki Laoye recently won Female Artiste of The Year (Africa) at the African Gospel Music Awards in London. Also, her song titled “Only You” won Best Worship Song at the 2014 Crsytal Awards. She has nominations in the Nigerian Entertainment Awards, AFRIMA (U.S and Africa).
The burial arrangement for late gospel singer, Irikefe Obareki Don-Momoh, popularly known as Kefee, has been announced on behalf of the family by the Kefee Memorial Committee (a coalition of Kefee’s family & friends in the Gospel Music & Entertainment Industry).
According to the announcement, Kefee will be laid to rest at her hometown, Okpara Inland in Delta State on Friday 11th July. Full details of the burial below:
Thursday 10th of July: Candlelight/Service Of Songs Venue: Oba Akezua Cultural Centre, Airport Road, Benin City, Edo State Time: 5pm – 7:30pm
Friday 11th July 2014: Home Going Service/Internment Venue: Akpevweoghene Educational Centre, Open Field, Okpara Inland, Ethiope East, Delta State Time: 12Noon – 2pm
Friday 11th July 2014: Celebration of Kefee’s Life Venue: Events Galleria, Okirigwe Junction by MFM, Sapele, Delta State Time: 4pm – 7pm