SelahAfrik brought you news last week that Lara George was invited to Vanguard Newspaper office where she was interviewed sitting with the newspaper publisher, Sam Amuka-Pemu, some editors and journalists from the newspaper outfit.
In the interview, Lara shared some of the challenges of being a Gospel artiste and breaking into the mainstream market. She also talked about putting babies on hold for six years so that she can focus on her music.
Read excerpt from the interview below:
“When you go to a radio station for an example, they would tell you, “Sorry, we cannot play your song because you are gospel”. They would tell you that even on Sundays they have one hour for all the gospel songs. There’s high level marginalization in music too. Meanwhile, it costs a gospel artiste the same amount of money that it costs your highest paid secular artiste to produce a song and to shoot a video.
It is not cheaper for me because I am a gospel artiste; as a matter of fact they will charge me more because they believe you are Lara George. They believe one has made so much money stacked somewhere.
We cannot deny the fact that you will have a lot of people not doing gospel music because nobody wants to put their money on it. Nobody wants to open up the media to gospel music. A lot of people are running from promoting gospel music because they will tell them “Sorry we don’t do religion”. That is the reality. That is what is going on.
It’s the reason why we have a lot of young people starting off who don’t want to have anything to do with inspirational music.
I have had a lot of support from my husband over the years. When I started my solo career I was literally robbing Peter to pay Paul and the music was not paying for itself. I got to a point where I had to start saying no to everybody who approached me for free events because people always expect that once you are gospel, you should do free events. Churches will call you for free events or give you next to nothing .
The radio stations will call you for free shows, even people who organize non- church events will call you for free shows when they have charity events. They expect you to do the charity event for free, though they are the ones who have put up the charity event.
I had to start putting my foot down. I started charging for what I did. I made a lot of enemies in the process because a lot of people started saying: “Now she is acting like a diva”. The truth is that the music needed to pay for itself, which is what I am doing now; trying to make sure that the music actually funds itself.
When you are looking for music that has true content and true value you will find it in gospel. Promotion has always been a problem.
Even when you have the funds to promote the song, there is a glass ceiling that is placed on top of those who are labeled inspirational. For example, I released a song recently titled Love Nwantintin which is a love song. I released it to celebrate my 10th year wedding anniversary and I took that to a very popular TV station.
They said to me: “We are going to play it only on Sundays and I asked them, why only on Sundays? I was told it’s because its gospel”. I told them it’s a love song and asked them if they listened to it. There is an assumption that because one is mostly known for gospel songs, all you do are gospel songs”
When asked how her husband, Gbenga George coped with her putting off having a child for six month, Lara George said:
“for me and my career making babies has to be something I would be ready for. We (my husband and I) couldn’t deny the fact it would have an effect on my career, no matter how you wanted to look at it. My husband knew the effect the first child had on me so we decided to space it. Just when he was getting impatient, God made it happen.”
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