by Wilfred Okichie
For about 2 years now since it has been making the rounds, Nosa’s sleeper hit Always pray for you has been that one song that creeps up consistently. Building quietly, and smoothly with background keyboard and drums that swell into his melodic falsetto, the song hints of endless devotion and has made mushes out of a great number of music heads. Having established him as a crooner to watch out for, it remained to be seen if the ordinary Joe-ish looking Nosa could fly solo as a genuine artiste.
Signed on to the influential Chocolate City, Nosa’s album roll out represents a fresh challenge for the previously urban poised label. Home to acts like Ice Prince and M.I, the Audu Maikori led group, known for hard hitting hip hop fare and cheesy crowd pleasers would be deviating from its comfort zone, promoting and distributing an all-out gospel artiste. And album.
But labels are only labels and such stratifications should ideally not stand in the way of appreciating good music. Nosa’s Open doors represents one of the most fully realised albums put out this year and folks who approach it bravely would find their initial hesitation rewarded greatly.
Consisting of 14 tracks, the doors open with A star, a melodious ditty that urges a discovery of talents and putting them to use to praise the lord. Coming off as boring in parts, A star doesn’t quite burn brightly and isn’t the best of opening numbers but multiple listens could make it a tad more bearable. Things pick up considerably with the aforementioned Always pray for you and come to an uptempo peak with the dancey, trancey, fast regurgitations Why you love me. Mixed with an edgy traditional tinge, tv heads may recognise it as the song featured in Close up toothpaste’s new ad campaign.
The album consists mostly of mid-tempo and slow burners, commenting on various aspects of the Christian life. No worry is a beautiful piece of song writing that weaves several biblical stories into one wholesome theme. Hanna, Joseph, Naomi, David are some of the characters used as metaphors to sell his message of trusting in the lord. I go stay has a soft rock tinge that is always a pleasure to listen to even when it repeats the message of No worry. Higher has a groovy highlife melody to it that saves the song from becoming boring and the title track Open doors is a stunner that mixes a light reggae island vibe with blowing trumpets.
The big worship tune here is Already done. Here Nosa proves himself capable of singing big broad choruses and his voice rises up and swells to the occasion. He then delivers a breezy love song in pidgin English on the slow building Always on my mind.
It is not a perfect affair though as songs like Undisputed and his patriotic contribution to the One Nigeria project, God bless Nigeria do not significantly make for the best listening moments.
Open doors is not particularly packaged like the run off the mill gospel album. While it is not pretentious about its purpose, the songs are recorded and packaged to a shiny gloss with careful considerations to accommodate even the most unconvinced sceptics. Sceptics here, being the all-important pop music crowd required to see the record to commercial viability. Nosa’s voice is capable but not too showy. Carefully calibrated and careful not to over flog it, he wants to convince his audience about the goodness of his God, but he respectfully leaves them to make the ultimate decision for themselves.
Open doors is a fun, refreshing piece of work that at once offers a peep into a young man’s heart, the greatness of his God and the ambitions of a forward-thinking record label.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.