Every Wednesday we share the conversations we have with SA-based CHH artists and this week is no different as we feature award-winning Se OK (pronounced Shay Okay). We get to know more about his music and the heart behind it. Not to mention all about his calling and life beyond the music.
As a pastor’s kid he grew up knowing the importance of the gospel, and with the love of music he had developed from his dancing days, it was a no-brainer for him to infuse the two. His music as described by him is honest and catchy; and he has been at it for 5 years but only truly taking it seriously for the past 2 years. He has released an EP and various singles, all of which you can find here.
Se Ok describes SA CHH as untapped and in its baby stages with potential “like there’s so much that we can do and it’s new, it’s exciting. There are many people I know that don’t even know what Christian hip hop is in South Africa, the possibilities are endless; it’s up to us, how far we want to take this thing. Like the sky is not even our limit. Like there’s such an opportunity for growth in it,” he added. This year the artist is planning to drop a few projects including two EPs, he has already started releasing singles, his first drop of the year was in January, and he will be dropping another single this Friday titled Running My Race, and it’s a fresh, new sound, “It’s something different from anything I’ve done before. I’m actually enjoying writing. I’m really enjoying creating music. I think it’s an interesting feeling. Because I feel there’s no pressure; yes, I’m driven and I have my goals and things I want to accomplish, but there’s no pressure from the creative process,” elaborated Semilore.
Semilore Joshua Oketunji studied and was a data and analysis consultant by profession until the end of last year when he resigned and began focusing on ministry as youth pastor at BLW campus ministry, and he is also pushing his clothing brand ASE clothing, “I want to just push that more, it’s something that I started in university, but I’ve never had the time to really, you know, focus on it. So now I want to push that a lot more,” he explained. Osayuki, Achaz, and Tshiamo Mercy are African CHH artists he listens to, “I really like Mercy and know he’s being quiet for some time. I think when he, when he finally really, you know, comes out on the scene and, you know, I think like he’s someone who’s going to be quite something and because, and this is my whole thing, and this is something that I’m just a big advocate of is the authenticity of the message and the music, the thing is we don’t want the message of Jesus Christ to be lost in the hype. All of this is a cool beat. This is a catchy song. What message do you have? And I think that’s something that he has caught in such a deep way. I mean, he started out as a poet, so I think that was very helpful. And you can tell that, you know, he has been called into this ministry, he’s someone that I can definitely see like he has a special gift that has been given to him for the music ministry and his music is so impactful in the way that he delivers the message he evokes emotion,” Se Ok commented suggestively as to who we should look out for.
With “Get High” I didn’t know I was making a hit today. I was planning for my belly of rivers to be released but the mix for that wasn’t coming back because we recorded in Nigeria, but then what we recorded got lost. So it was like let me release get high as like a buffer song; of course, I was inspired when I wrote it, but then I didn’t, I can’t lie to you. I didn’t realize or see it having the impact that it had, I honestly, in my wildest dreams couldn’t have anticipated it having that effect that it had.Se Ok
For a live performance, Se Ok wants to connect with the audience in his live shows that they aren’t just hyped up by the performance but actually listen to the song, not saying that he doesn’t want them to be hyped up too because he also looks for that in his live performances, overall, he believes it is a ministration so he desires to see the Holy Spirit manifest through his performances. The artist got to perform at the biggest stage he desired to minster on, which was the LIMA awards in 2019, which was followed by him inaugurating a new award by being the first to win it, “that award wasn’t just for me, because at the end of the day, we don’t do it for that. It was the recognition that was very significant, especially on a platform so that for me is the biggest platform in the world; and if I’m relevant on that platform, that means I’m relevant. I know what that award means to so many other people to be like, wait, what? He can get that, that means my dreams are valid. These things that I want to do, because sometimes they look down on hip hop or they just like, Oh, hip hop is not for the church. It’s not Christian. There’s that for a lot of people was like, what do you mean if that type of sound and that type of genre can be recognized on a stage like that then the things that I want to do for God as an unorthodox, as they may seem to many people, they are valid and. God does care about it,” expressed Se Ok. He has performed on many big and small stages but the highlight performance was in Nigeria last November at a teen’s conference “I wasn’t planning to perform. I was at another conference. And then I heard that I was being asked for, and then I just went there. I wasn’t even dressed for it. Like I was in traditional attire and also wearing Corporate shoes. It was just wild because I mean, I think this year or last year 2020 was when I realized like, wow, like hundreds of youths and they’re singing the lyrics and it’s like, I don’t know some of them, like, I only know like a handful of the people there and to just hear them just such shouting, ‘I don’t smoke dope I just get high on the Ghost’. And it was just beautiful. And you know, that music can make an impact in the lives of young people, because what you eat is what you become or you are what you eat. So it was just a very neat that the music reaching into where it needs to reach,” he reminisced.
“Continue to stay true to what God has called you to do, it is a challenging uncharted territory, but stay true to what God has called you to do because often he has called you to do something that he made you for even before you even thought about doing it. The Bible says he’s the one that makes us both willing and able to do his good pleasure. So all those beautiful things, those dreams, those things you want to do for God, he is the one that put that dream in your heart. And he is the one that’s going to give you the ability to carry them out. So don’t look around and think Oh, but how are we going to do it? How are we going to make it, just know… God knew what he was doing when he planted that gift in your heart when he planted that, desire in your heart to do certain things for him through music. Trust in Him, trust in His word, in His grace, and just move, just keep doing it. Just keep doing it, keep doing it. Keep going. Don’t be discouraged. Keep going is key also consistency is so key,” he encouraged. The artist is ready to storm the capital with the ideas for evangelizing through this stream so do follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and get acquainted with his work (both past and future.
SACHH raises the flag and raises the bars.