She is regal and talented, bold and beautiful. Her powerful voice hits notes and pitches with ease. Onasanya Oluwakemi Esther – brand name Qhemmy – is a performing gospel artiste, song writer and creative designer.
She took to the stage Sunday evening at the post-Valentine Love Day celebration of ShaddaiVille Ministries, Lagos with her all-blue ensemble. Her performance was skilled and electrifying.
Born into a clergy family, Qhemmy started singing as a church girl, her dad being a pianist and choirmaster. Her professional musical career is over 25 years old and she takes it serious.
Qhemmy has worked and performed with star artistes like Sunny Neji, Seyi Solagbade, Buchi, Ras Kimono, Alariwo, Tony Tetuila, Pasuma and Saheed Osupa. As a praise and worship leader, she has worked with some major Pentecostal churches too.
She has a new single, Oloore – Benefactor, presently streaming across online music platforms, worldwide and her full album is set to drop soon. “I am very versatile. I sing all genres of music” Qhemmy told HAMILTONSTYLE in this exclusive chat, among her other industry illuminating views…
If truly names appropriate destinies, what in your four decades has your name translated to?
Oluwakemi means ‘The Lord has pampered me.’ So you can imagine all the blessings that must manifest in my life. This name has granted me unmerited favour countless times and I give all the glory to God.
How long have you been singing gospel and are you likely to go secular like other ex-gospel artistes?
I started singing in the church choir. I’ve always loved God and His words. For me, singing gospel is not about the music. Rather, it’s my calling; a mission I must accomplish. This is the teaching I’ve received from childhood. I preach the gospel of Jesus Christ through music. I’m shy and can’t be on the pulpit like my dad [Shepherd, Celestial Church of Christ, Cornerstone Parish, Intl Airport Road, Lagos]. So music is my vent. About me going secular… (Sighs) That’s a big question. I pray I don’t fall into such a temptation. I don’t have the intention to do that for anything. I won’t quit being a gospel artiste for being secular.
Has your musical career ever been restricted or tainted by the fact of being born and raised a Celestian?
Not in anyway. It has never been a barrier. Being a professional singer is about discipline and diligence in whatever one does. I don’t carry my background on my head, so even later when people find out, they always feel there’s something special about this girl that doesn’t speak church, but Christ.
Compare and contrast the contribution to church music that different denominations have made especially Celestial Church of Christ, Cherubim & Seraphim and Pentecostal churches – from constructive angles.
CCC and C&S are spiritual churches and their songs come from the Spirit. Some CCC songs were revealed in trances and they carry real transformational power. Pentecostal church songs are mostly composed by Spirit-inspired individuals. The similarity in all gospel songs is that they preach God’s word, praise and worship the Holy Trinity. They edify, admonish and instruct the body of Christ as a whole. Pentecostal churches brought modern instrumentation, scholarly approach and professionalism into gospel music rendition, making it more enjoyable and giving more understanding to the lyricism. Presently, the old denominational barriers are gradually being broken. Before you couldn’t play some C&S or CCC tunes in any Pentecostal church. But the case is different now; we praise and worship God in one voice.
What inspired the making of your single, OLOORE and what’s its message?
OLOORE in Yoruba, means Benefactor. I was inspired to write this song when we were down to nothing and my brother had to go for treatment out of town for six months. We had no hope of either paying the bills or having a place to stay. We left Lagos with nothing, but our faith. Somehow God raised an angel for us who supplied all we needed even more than our faith could carry. I woke up the next day and thought who else could have done this, but the great Benefactor. I call Him OLOORE. It’s a worship song that talks about giving thanks, the goodness and supremacy of God above all creatures and any situation. The all sufficient one without limits to what he can do.
What shape will your full album take when it drops?
It’s going to be extraordinarily loud when it drops! I mean you can’t help but embrace it. It’s about praising and worshipping the ‘I am.’ Just wait until then.
Tell us about your Fashion brand.
It’s another gift God has given me apart from music. I love power dressing, transformative looks and dressing sharp. I remember that I started cutting paper into dress designs since my primary school days. I would colour them with crayons. I made mannequins out of cartons and would wear my paper dresses on them. I knew life would take me through the path of fashion. It’s my second passion after gospel music. I get inspired by nature and beauty. Both of them create pictures in my mind, then you’ll see me take my pencil and draw sketches, which I would then try to cut out and sew. At first I never had any formal training because it all came to me naturally. Eventually, I got formal training and specialised in unisex fashion, using African prints to create bold and beautiful attires.