At the recent Gospel Live event I had an opportunity to sit down with a few of the artists to talk about ministry and music. The first was Desola who, even though I didn't get to hear her sing at the event, just blew me away with her story of God moving in her life. This is an inspiring and amazing story which shows how God can work in your life, sometimes when you least expect Him to move He does something, and your life will never be the same again.
If you are looking for something inspirational to read today then take a few minutes to read her story.
Is that actually your own name?
Yes it is my own name. (She then tried to teach me how to say her name properly in Nigerian which was a losing battle, languages are not my strong point!)
Do you know what the name means?
Yeah it means "born into wealth"
Is that true?
Maybe, my Mum but I didn't grow up into wealth, but it was an OK family.
So are you Nigerian and moved the the UK or are the family Nigerian but already lived in the UK?
I came here when I was about 18, so I have been living here since.
So what was life like when you were living at home when you were growing up?
If someone had tapped me on the shoulder and said one day you're going to sing and be here, I would never have thought that. You see, I wasn't born into a Christian home. For like the first 13, 14 years of my life I had never even been to a church and my Mum wasn't like a Muslim or anything, she was just quite independent, I grew up with my Mum so it was like a free-house I knew about Jesus, I knew about Mohammad and the other kind of things. We weren't anything, we would celebrate whether it was Christmas, and we do it because it was normal.
As I said my Mum wasn't wealthy but she was OK off, so one of the people who used to work for her was a painter and was painting our house, he was a Christian. He introduced me to his church, I was 14 and I grew up with 3 sisters, including me we were 4 sisters and he said "I will take you to my church." I just liked the music and so I went with him one day, and after that he would pick us up every Sunday. I am very thankful for him because for over a year he was doing that diligently and he wasn't close to us, he would pay for the transport. He would have to wake us up and sometimes he would have to wait for us to to get into the bath first!
That was how I actually experienced church. He did that consistently for nearly 2 years but then the church opened a branch near my house, so we all started going there, including him, and then I came here. That was my first experience of church.
In that time I joined the choir but I didn't really have a personal relationship, it was nice, I enjoyed it, but there wasn't any kind of revelation. Maybe there was but I can't really remember. Then I came to the UK and I was back to who I was before, I wasn't going to any church. But there was a foundation, but you know what it is like when you do something for a few years but then you can slip back to what you were born into. So I just didn't go to church for a long time actually, about 4 or 5 years and then I started going again with friends.
So I went through some things that weren't particularly nice, I had some difficulty in my life about 5 years ago. Once I went to church and the pastor said to me about how God will give me a melody, God would give me a sound. For me I count a melody as happiness and joy, so I am like 'music is joyful so maybe I am going to be happy in my life'. So I get that sort of thing, but it never struck me that I was going to sing. One day when I was going through these trials and I wasn't going to church, I was depressed, I was not in a good place, I was in a very dark place, I didn't know that God was with me, I wasn't going to church or praying, I actually forgot that God was with me, because you know you slip back into your life. So I was going somewhere one day and I heard the song "Flying High" which would become my first single. and I was singing it, it's not the kind of song that I would sing because it was quite different.
This was a song, you said you heard it, but it wasn't from outside, it was your melody...
It was inside my head. I was frustrated because I wasn't working, I had been looking for a job for a long time and I had a few disappointments with friends and the people that I was with, so I felt rejected, like a loser, and I would be mad with myself more than I was mad with people. I was coming out of this bus one day and I was so mad, and in this madness and anger to suddenly have a song that says "Flying high, shine your light, just do my will you will fly high" those were the words. I was walking like 50 minutes thinking 'what kind of song is this, where did it come from?' because I think I started singing for 10 minutes ringing in my head. I thought 'what I am feeling is not what I am saying, I am saying something that I am not feeling.' So I thought let me record it then.
I would occasionally sing in a choir or would be asked to sing, but I never wanted to be an artist, never did I want to be a singer. So I went to record it in my room God said to me, I believe it was God, "That word is for you, if you do my will, you will fly high." I was shocked because I've never heard words like that, very clear, and then right then I heard Psalm 55v6 and it was around the time when David was going through problems, I didn't read the Bible much at that time, but I wanted to check that what I had heard matched with the Bible. So I looked it up and it said something like "Oh I wish I had wings so I could fly away and be at rest" my hands just dropped because I wanted to be away and be at rest.
God said "This is your song and if you do that then you will be well." So 2 months later I find a job and I have just been doing that. A little while later I felt that I would just go ahead and sing it, so I went to a church where people know that I sing and sometimes I would go there and lead worship, so I was there and my mind said 'sing that song, Flying High' and I'm like OK, but I'd never practised it with anyone and it was just in my head. So I went to the keyboard and said "I'm just going to sing this song and then please follow me." So I sang that song and the power of God was so strong that day. The guy on the keyboard said "come and record that in my studio." I was like "is this a joke or something?" I went there and I just recorded it and the more that I was recording and I was finding new songs, in just over a year I wrote the whole album! What was more amazing was that all the funds that I needed to do the music, everything that I needed to do was just easy. From being so broke that my name was red if you put it into an account to having more than enough. I believe that we were "flying high" and I have never remained the same. When I did my album launch it was sold out within 2 weeks! And people were so blessed and I was shocked! I am so grateful.
Are you doing this full time now or are you still working?
I am still working so obviously when you are independent you have to fund your money one way or another, but I have 2 things that I like. So I do project management in IT from Monday to Friday but I do music and I know this is my ministry and my calling. I know when God wants me to focus on this He will make provision so I don't have to rely on my work to fund it.
I try not to make anything happen. Some people have wanted to be an artist from day one, so they would push, but for me I just wait. So whatever door, like me speaking to you, I know God has ordained it, so He lead me to meet Marcus, and from Marcus to you, so I know that everything that He wants me to do would find me, whatever He wants me to do He will create that door. When you have been through some things and you have been panned up and down it's easier for you to know that your soul's strength is God and you just let Him do it. You still go through struggles, but right inside you know you can reply on God completely.
The winds will come and try and toss you up and down, some of the things that you go through, even now I still go through it, but I am not moved because every time it is a test. No matter how hard life has been, even when it is as hard as it was then, many times I would think about killing myself and letting go because it's just too much, but He was always there and He liked me a little bit and didn't want me to suffer too much because every time I would feel so low he would do something to assure me. I remember one time I stopped writing music and I was like 'oh, what's happened?' I can be quite insecure sometimes and I wondered what was happening and if God didn't want me to write music anymore. Immediately I heard "what have you done with the one that I gave you?" so I ran back to the studio and then next I could write music. It wasn't like I was praying, fasting, just that sort of relationship where you just trust and you can rely on him. If that's my message just to support someone, no matter how low you have been in life.
I sang a song yesterday, "Joy Unspeakable" it was sadness speakable, it was a total opposite what I was experiencing. I literally ran away from the house because I couldn't pay the rent when I wrote it, so I was like "let me get away from this place because if the landlord comes then she will kill me" so I was in the car park and I was crying, it was so funny because He gave me this song "Joy unspeakable you brought to my soul, Jesus the Son of God." I was crying my eyes out because I couldn't afford my rent but singing about Joy Unspeakable. From when I made those songs I am singing "Joy Unspeakable" with full understanding because I wasn't that person in that place, and I will never be that person because I know who I am in Christ now!
No matter where I have been, I know when I call Jesus and I follow Him, I think that's what the devil knows and tries to take us away from God because we lose our inheritance and who we are, because when we lose who we are we try and find need and purpose. But in Him is our need, our purpose, our blessing, our publicity, our everything, so I am just trying to do that!