One of Nigeria’s Reggae export, Bravo Chukwuemeka Kpadobi, also known as Tonneil Avo, has been speaking on his meteoric rise to stardom in the music industry.. In this interview with the Publisher / Lead Partner, lagoscityreporters.com, Emeka Monye, he bares his mind on his rise and experiences in the industry…
Kpadobi is currently penning a deal with VeeMost Entertainment, an international firm behind the much-anticipated Williams Uchemba’s movie, “Mamba’s Diamond.”
Can we meet you?
My name is Bravo Chukwuemeka Kpadobi aka (Tonneil Avo) a jingle herald sent to shake the sleeping age awake, and my father father’s name is YHWH. I am a multi-facet international gospel artist, a producer, song writer, performer, multi instrumentalist, sound engineer, music director, composer and arranger, sound reinforcement agent, preacher and a counsellor.
I am the reggae is “BORN AGAIN MAESTRO,” popularly known as the singing preacher. That acronym was given to me by the way l use biblical scriptures in creating lyrics and rhyme. I am an African from Nigeria, precisely lmo State.
I have dual nationality; my mum is a Cameroonian and Dad Nigerian.
Educationally, l am a wonder to my generation to the glory of God. l’m married to Zion’s daughter Chigozie Sylvia Avo (the egg in my egg roll) and we are blessed with five beautiful children. I have numerous awards to my credit.
The centre for leadership and policy studies, INC. Gospel legacy award 2006 for outstanding contributions to the gospel programe in Nigeria through excellence in gospel music. Best creative music artist in the area of reggae in the year 2007, Award of excellence in leadership human capacity development 2011, Church of Nigeria Anglican communion a merit award friend of the youth 2016, Face of arise Africa awards as gospel music personality in contribution towards development of society and youth development 2017, Southern youth wing Christian Association of Nigeria,CAN, as peace ambassador for his support and contribution to peace promotion in Nigerian society, Arise Africa Impact award as Gospel personality of the year 2019, just to mention but a few.
I’ve been on the scene for about three decades now, thirteen years in the secular stage and the rest I dedicated unto Jesus Christ my saviour. l have four music albums to my credit: Gold From Fire, Testimonies, The 6th Verse and Sweet Sacrifice and several singles .
My music experience and performance on both platforms (secular / religious) brought me in contact and exposure early in life with big time acts like Late Majek Fashek, late Ras Kimono, Late Oliver de Coque, Daniel Wilson, Keji Hamilton, Onyeka Onwenu, Sir Warrior, Felade, Amos Mcroy, Jonel Cross, Papa Ndema,Lft. Shot Gun, Zulezu, Plantation Boys, Dady Showky, Maxwell Udoh etc. ln the gospel, l have ministered alongside Don Moen, Bob Fits, Dr. Panam Percy, Buchi, Sinach, Sammy Okposo, Joe Praise, Nathaniel Bassy, Mercy Chinwu, Preye Odede, Freke Umoh, Bossman, Rightoeus Man, Adesoji Joseph, Samsung, Frank Edwards, Eben, Pat Waje, Emma Sings, Chris Morgan, Sensational Bamidele, Kaydee Numbere etc. Its been glorious doing reggea music in Christ l must confess and that’s why you’ll always hear my slogan….Heavenly, Heavenly
What type of music do you do and why?
I do reggae music with an Afrirock@g fusion. Afrirock@g fusion is my brand of reggae. It’s reggae without ganja, cocaine, much patua nor any kind of hard drug at work in man. In the place of ganja or any hard drug, I replace it with the spirit of Christ; in the place of patua I replace it with the word of God. My discovery is this; in ganja you only feel high for a season but in the spirit of Christ, your highness has no time and season or limitations. I call that anointing and l tell you the truth you can’t go higher than the most high.
Secondly l chose reggae music because it’s all encompassing. In reggae you’ll find rock, soul, bebop, jazz, country, highlife, hiplife, hip pop, r&b etc. Reggae music ticks like the human heart and it carries a high level of spirituality with a freedom effect. Be it political, social, religious, Spiritual…. Reggae music heals and it’s highly spiritual with a unifying force in bringing people together beyond their differences and it’s a perfect code to download eternity to time. Therefore, REGGAE MUSIC IS MY CODE BUT JESUS REMAINS MY FOCUS.
How do you get inspired?
LIFE is my inspiration.
What I mean by that is, God the creator, and the creatures are my inspiration. When l see his goodness, his mercies and grace towards humanity in the midst of all creation, my heart lips for joy, my mouth opens up in praise and worship and my fingers move as a pen of a ready writer on my writing tablet. Now carefully listen to the lyrics of my songs you will understand where I draw strength. For instance the song SALVATION IS FREE explains a lot. God took our place and paid a price we could not pay while we were yet his enemy. What an amazing grace. Salvation is free but someone paid for it. Oxygen is free but someone paid for it. On my daily living as l meditate over this things, l hear more than a thousand song from the other side of life
What messages do you pass across with your songs?
My message is the word of truth, hope, joy, peace, tolerance, purity, Patience, love, kindness, equity, fairness, light and justice. In all l mentioned above, it all falls back into one capsule and that’s (GODLINESS). There’s a way that seems right unto a man but the end thereof is destruction. Life is not what it seems but a foretaste of the reality waiting for us all as we journey into eternity.
What prompted you to go into the industry (ministry)?
Victory prompted me into the music ministry. I mean victory unto humanity. I saw that music can be used as a communication tool and moves faster and breaks barriers beyond tribe, tongue, people, creed and ethnicity. I saw that through music l can add value to my generation through righteous counsel and songs of hope and truth through Christ. And what is this truth? It is, God is real and Jesus is the only savior. My dream is to see the human race conquer and stand victorious in their struggles in life. The answer to this can only be achieved through the word of God. For there is power in spoken words and when those words are the word of God coming through spirit filled songs it becomes a healing tool for the benefit of everyone. One man saved, a thousand at peace.
What is your new album about?
It’s a single titled “salvation is free”. This is a song that is more than a song by reason of its content. I’m trying to shake up this generation to wake up and come to the realization that your beauty is not your making. That you’re rich, healthy, handsome, powerful, breathing, walking, righteous and holy ,someone paid for it. Someone watches over you without asking for a ransom. He loves you more than you can imagine. For its so good when you love somebody and somebody loves you back. It’s heavenly.
Are there rivalries among gospel artists and how do you think it can be addressed?
Well, there may be rivalries amongst those who do not understand the purpose and calling why they are into the gospel. He who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light expects us to walk as children of light. A heart without the love of God will definitely not be clean and will always be involved in unhealthy competition with others. Therefore this issue can only be solved when you have personal encounter with Jesus Christ, by the help of the Holy Spirit. This men or women need to come to the realization that our focus is Jesus Christ not man. And until then there will be misplacement of priority.
Who are your target audience for your kind of music?
My works cut across all age level. Be it the teens, youth, matured and the elderly, even children. My songs are laced with heavy lyrics and spiritual depth, yet simple, and it’s an antidote to those who are at the edge of giving up in life, or struggling over some challenging issues like drugs, marital hiccups, sickness, stress, spiritual attacks, poverty, etc. In fact some of my Fans call my songs ANTI DEPRESSANT as they listen in the place of meditation, relaxation and through their daily routine. You’ll find most of those songs in my second album TESTIMONIES. During lockdown another fan of mine based in UK played the song online back to back and cued into the anointing and drew strength, hope and joy to move on through those trying times to the glory of God. And this song Salvation is free became an eye Opener that Jesus Christ gat our back always. The good news is that it’s danceable, infotaining, entertaining, soul refreshing and it heals. #Salvationisfree
Whats your view of music industry (gospel)?
Gospel music is LIFE. Gospel music should be given the space and breath to excel. Gospel music industry is really suffering financially. It’s like there’s a calculated attempt going on to snuff out the life thereof. We need sponsors, we need endorsements, and we need avenues of expression beyond the church confinements. We need the governments to encourage, support and create a conducive atmosphere for gospel music to thrive. We bring morals and standard to the society. When we sing, we bring healing to the broken hearted, we bring hope to the hopeless. We save souls and a soul saved is a thousand at peace. I urge the Christian community also, be it the church, associations, business men to take up the challenge and float gospel music companies.
Days are days gone when church were just meant for clapping hands after church service everybody goes home. Right now there’s mega money in gospel music. So I encourage for those who are in the industry to stay strong, go for deeper exploits and explore all areas available. There are few who are into promotion of gospel music because of their love for Jesus Christ, but then its not enough. We need more industries, and we also need the church to understand gospel music is an industry that carries the message of Jesus and needs to be well financed, given platforms and equipped.
Though most of our churches are beginning to realize that, and are doing Massively well in promoting artistes and giving them large platforms to reach out to the world. For instance EXPERIENCE that is anchored by HOUSE ON THE ROCK. I celebrate all those Dj’s, on radio stations who has kept playing gospel songs. I celebrate Pst. Chris Oyakilome, Pst. Paul adefarasin, Pst. Paul Enenche, Pst. Biodun Fatoyinbo, Pst. Goodheart Ekwueme etc.l celebrate my boss Mr. Ikenna Melvin and the entire Veemost Records (mma mmaoo). And to all lovers of gospel music especially Gospel Reggae, l mean Afrirock@g fusion I salute you all. Shalom on every side
# What would you change or continue?
What I will love to change is mediocrity and compromise in the gospel music industry, and lack of spirituality. I will continue in Excellence and Righteousness.
# Who are your role models?
Christ is top of the list as my role model. Secondly anyone who portrays the life of holiness, purity, hard work, love, patience and excellence. Musically Bob Nester Marley had a great influence in my life during my early days before l received life from Christ Jesus my savior. But right now Yeshua Messiah has my focus right now. He alone makes a way where there’s no way, in the midst of tears he brings joy unspeakable. I just wanna be like him
# What would you like to be remembered for?
A jingle herald that shook the sleeping generation awake to the love of God. Secondly a music maker who brought dignity to the music profession and the musician. Across the world musicians are tag unserious, unstable, unreliable, indiscipline, wayward etc. l want to be an exception through living a decent life, be a good husband and a caring father by reason of the next generation after am gone. Lastly a soul winner