Gospel reggae artist Ibi Dave delves into the inspiration and creation of his latest track, “Spirit,” in an exclusive interview with AkweyaTV’s Odoh Diego Okenyodo. The song, fuelled by a deep thirst for a closer connection with the Divine, takes listeners on a spiritual journey. Dave’s two-decade-long musical journey as a Christian, rooted in the reggae genre, seamlessly merges with his pursuit of deeper spirituality.
Ibi Dave is a prolific songwriter and unique gospel reggae artist who hails from Filiya in Shongom Local Government of Gombe State. The CEO of No Pranks Music International started music in childhood when he joined the church choir. With a series of audio and video albums to his credit, Ibi Dave has received numerous awards in recognition of his excellence in Gospel Music, such as the Exousia Award for Best Reggae Art 2016, Exousia Award for Best Collaboration (ft Solomon Lange) 2016, Zamar Award for Northeast Artist of the Year 2018, Arewa Gospel Mega Awards 2019, National Gospel Merit Award 2020. just to mention a few. He has ministered alongside great gospel generals in Nigeria and abroad. Ibi Dave is married to Prisca Ibrahim and they are blessed with two children, Zion and Noah. Aside from music, Ibi Dave is a certified accountant.
In the interview, he shares how the choice of a live production approach for “Spirit” was both challenging and rewarding, echoing his commitment to excellence in music. Dave’s engaging melodies and heartfelt lyrics offer a beacon of hope for those navigating challenges and seeking spiritual fulfilment. This interview reveals some insights into his creative process, the synergy between his creative and spiritual aspects, and the profound message he hopes to convey through “Spirit.”
AkweyaTV: Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your new song “Spirit”? What led you to write a song with such a simple but powerful message?
Ibi Dave: The song Spirit was inspired by my quest to know God better than I ever knew him. Lately, there’s been this thirst for God like never before.
Akweya TV: I see. The lyrics of the song mention a thirst for connection with the Divine. Could you share the personal experiences or moments that influenced these heartfelt lyrics?
Ibi Dave: Yes, there’s a big thirst for the divine. A few months ago, precisely January (2023), I set out for weeks to be with the Lord in fasting and prayers. This time around, unlike my usual prayer points of always asking God to meet my needs, I found out my spirit wanted just more of him. So my prayers during the fasting basically were to know more, and during that period was when I wrote the song.
Akweya TV: We know you are a regular star act at the annual Rydeem of Light International Gospel Reggae Festival in Abuja. How does the genre of reggae resonate with the spiritual themes you’ve incorporated into “Spirit”? What made you choose reggae as the vehicle for delivering this message?
Ibi Dave: I have been into music for over two decades, and I can tell you, all through the years, it’s been reggae to date. It all started in my early days in music when my mentor, Rev Peter Israel Peters, started giving me a platform to minister during his monthly concerts in Bauchi. I started out by singing other genres of music but there was this good day when I ministered a reggae song by Dave Azi, “Give Thanks”, and the whole crowd were so blessed beyond measure even at that early stage, and that was the beginning of my connection to reggae music. Henceforth, I began writing my own songs that total of six albums now, and some of the songs were the ones I ministered at the last Rydeem of Light in Abuja.
Akweya TV: “Spirit” carries a message of seeking and inviting the Divine presence. What do you hope listeners will take away from the song, both in terms of its lyrical content and its musical style?
Spirit was produced by my brother and friend Gwills in the city of Yola, and like you can hear it was all played live. Starting from drums, guitars, bass guitar, keyboard and congas, all were completely live. So it was quite a hectic production that took a few days and the mix and mastering as well, but glory to God Almighty, it’s worth the whole trouble.
Ibi Dave: Just like I said in the song, “Spirit come fill my soul/ my soul is thirsty,” I want my listeners to do the same. When you’re full of the spirit of God every other thing will automatically be in place, so instead of pursuing other things, get God and all that you desire will pursue you.
Akweya TV: Can you talk about the creative process of bringing “Spirit” to life? Were there any particular challenges or breakthroughs during the making of the song?
Ibi Dave: Spirit was produced by my brother and friend Gwills in the city of Yola, and like you can hear it was all played live. Starting from drums, guitars, bass guitar, keyboard and congas, all were completely live. So it was quite a hectic production that took a few days and the mix and mastering as well, but glory to God Almighty, it’s worth the whole trouble.
Akweya TV: In these days of digital production, you seem to prefer recording live. Why do you prefer this and is it not very challenging for you to do so?
Ibi Dave: Truly, it’s always very challenging, and very much capital intensive. But I have had this spirit of excellence right from my early days of music and can let go of anything just to achieve a good production. Moreover, if you want to have the best of reggae music, nothing beats live production.
Akweya TV: True… Very true. How do you envision “Spirit” resonating with your audience, especially those who might be going through challenging times or seeking spiritual fulfilment?
Ibi Dave: Alright.. just like I mentioned earlier, when you seek God genuinely you will find him, and you can not have God and be bothered about your challenges. He said we cast all our burdens on him.
Akweya TV: “Spirit” has a very engaging and rhythmic melody. How did you go about creating the musical arrangement that complements the profound lyrics?
Ibi Dave: Most of the time I’m writing songs, I get my keyboard close. Thank God for my knowledge of the keyboard, so as the songs come I immediately look out for the best progression for the song, starting from chorus, verses and bridge, even vamps, where the need be. Most times, I record it directly on my phone; the skeletal record on my phone is what I show to my producer to build on.
Most of the time I’m writing songs, I get my keyboard close. Thank God for my knowledge of the keyboard, so as the songs come I immediately look out for the best progression for the song, starting from chorus, verses and bridge, even vamps, where the need be. Most times, I record it directly on my phone; the skeletal record on my phone is what I show to my producer to build on.
AkweyaTV: Great. As an artist, how do you balance the creative aspects of music-making with the spiritual message you want to convey? Is there a specific approach you take to ensure both elements shine through?
Ibi Dave: In as much as spiritual awakening is essential, I always encourage the creative aspects as well, and such cannot be achieved without a habit of practice. I don’t joke with my rehearsals. No programme is small for intensive rehearsals. So I actually balance the two.