Music review by Luchae Williams
This week I had the pleasure of listening to Nigerian Gospel singer, Uche Agu’s debut album ‘The Glory Experience – Live in Houston’. You may have heard Agu on the popular Joyous Celebration hit “My God is good” – A song that garnered well over 3 million hits on YouTube since its release in 2009. Since then Agu has made quite a name for himself, headlining at many major worship concerts all over the world. He attributes his passion for the things of God back to his parents, who are pastors at their home church in Onitsha, Nigeria. He began preaching and singing in church at the tender age of 3, embarking on a journey with the Lord that led him to serve at Redeemed Christian Church of God in Nairobi at a young age. He eventually went on to earn a degree in Theology from World Harvest Theological College and recently received the Best of Africa Award at the Crown Gospel Awards.
Agu describes his sound as an infusion of techno, rock, reggae, Latin and traditional gospel, with evident traces of raw African rhythm at the root of it all. And wow, what a treat to listen to! The compilation is truly a display of Agu’s heart to showcase the diverse African Gospel genre in a way that is fresh and organic, with a level of excellence that is inspiring. He shared that the mission behind each track is to “awaken the bigness of God to the listener…” and although there is an assortment of sounds on the album, this message is the common thread.
The album is filled with catchy, African inspired praise songs such as his signature hit ‘My God is good’ and it’s follow up ‘Make God big’ – an anthem, with an appealing melody, urging listeners to place God on the highest throne in their lives. You can’t deny the atmosphere that is stirred up by the infectious African rhythm coupled with this impassioned worship leader’s power vocals.
Other uptempo songs that had me bopping along were ‘The glory’ and the Latino styled ‘All over’ which declares “All over the world/Jesus must be praised!” I am so impressed by the quality in the presentation, musicality and the vocals.
Our very own Grammy nominee, South African Christian recording artist Neville D, joins Agu on the mid tempo ‘Lost in you‘ – a choral driven song that speaks about going deeper into the presence of God. I could not help but be impressed by Agu’s huge octave range and his ability to growl and croon his way through a song, at just the right places, to get the message across.
Social media reports have shown that a definite favorite on the album is the soft rock worship track, ‘Yahweh’, which is, simply put, saturated by the presence of God. I was also swept away by ‘Lord You are’ – another captivating worship song that turns your focus to the beauty of the Lord and the power of His presence. The quality in Agu’s backing vocals takes the song to another level, allowing listeners to emerge themselves in a sweet moment with the Lord.
Another favorite is the masterfully arranged ‘African Worship Medley’ which comprises a few beautiful Nigerian traditional hymns, such as ‘Most High’, ‘Wonderful’ and ‘Never let me go’. Ugu flows effortlessly from one to another – it’s evident that the call of God is on his life to lead worship!
With songs that are clearly birthed out of the heart of a psalmist who is in love with the presence of God, this album has certainly caught my eye. Uche Agu does our continent proud, showcasing the level of craftmanship that is able to come from a people who may sometimes be overlooked in the music and entertainment industry. But besides that, the depth of the anointing on these songs speak for themselves. This is one to look out for! If you love Africa, its people and its sound, then this one is for you!