For Ann Alache Mark, Nigerian-born, DC based inspirational Christian singer and songwriter, her music is the way by which she connects with the human spirit, and inspires people. After a 5-year hiatus, she’s back to doing what she loves to do best. Enjoy her soulful, inspiring interview.
Your name Alache sounds very unique, what does it mean?
It means a watch lady. Someone who watches over her family
How did your interest in music begin?
It all started when I was about eight. Watching a girl on television who was singing on the soundtrack to a cartoon I liked. I told my parents: “I want to do what she does.” And I guess you can say the seed was planted there; I’ve always loved music.
Why did you decide to go into contemporary Christian music?
My faith is a big and a major part of life. Everything I go through in life, my faith plays a big part in seeing me through it all. I’m happy to share that love and passion through my music.
How has the journey been? Tell us a little bit about the highs and lows?
The journey has been very long; I mean I recorded my first project at age ten. I’m in my thirties now. It’s been two decades. It will be book-long, listing everything out. But I would say my biggest learning experience is that my lows have definitely put me in a great head space; I make wiser moves and decisions. I have focus and direction, not that I did not before, but I am very clear on what direction the ship is sailing this go around. And I’m not in a hurry to make decisions, I’m thinking everything out well. It’s a journey and I have every intention of enjoying all its moments.
How would you describe your style of music?
It’s feel good inspirational music. It’s from the heart so it has soul to it.
Let’s talk a little about your Nigerian roots; where were you born and how has this influenced you and your music?
I was born in Kano, Nigeria. How it has influenced me? Well simply put, I appreciate the little things in life. Growing up in Nigeria gave me a rich sense of belonging and culture. It has influenced my music in thinking about how we tell stories through songs. In a culture that is rich with storytelling, that influence affects peoples respond to sound. I am able to tell stories and share inspiration through my music.
You were off the music scene for about 5 years, how did that experience affect you?
I have grown a lot. I have lived through a lot of new experiences. I have learnt a lot through love and loss, and I can say that I’ve found my centre. That affects my music because now I can connect to people more, they can feel the experience and be able to relate. It’s been a blessing.
You know, there’s a lot of talk about Christian artistes “selling out.” How do you connect with your secular audience and still remain true to yourself and values?
I have a message that I feel will help and inspire someone out there. I stay focused on doing that. Being a Christian is a way of life, if you live it daily as best as you possibly can. Selling out is not an issue. I value the things I hold dear; I would not intentionally compromise that.
Who are some of your musical influences/role models?
There are so many great musical artists in the world, however I certainly am influenced by Yolandá Adams, Aaron Neville, Donnie Mcclurkin, Mary J Blige, to mention a few. Their sounds connect to the soul, the spirit and that is what I am building as an artist – The gift of connecting to the human spirit.
What are your thoughts on the Nigerian gospel music industry?
It’s growing. I hope to see it gain more recognition. There are fantastic acts sprouting on the scene and I hope to see them get recognized for their talent.
When you wake up in the morning, what is the first thing you do?
I pray and thank God for allowing me see another day. Then I get started on my day.
What drives you – the thing that keeps you going?
My family – their love and support for my dreams. It has been overwhelming.
Any plans to visit/perform in Nigeria?
Yes hopefully in the near future. We have some things lined up and I look forward to them coming up in the near future.
What are you currently listening to now on your ipod?
Jonathan Thulin, Tamar Braxton, and Ron Kenoly Jr,
Words of advice for upcoming Christian, female musicians?
Stay true to your heart. Stay true to your dreams. Have a focus and direction. Pray always, work hard. Stay determined, do your part and leave the rest to God.
Follow Alache on instagram and twitter @officialalache
The Leading Ladies Africa Series is a weekly interview series that focuses on women of African descent, showcases their experiences across all socio-economic sectors, highlights their personal and professional achievements and offers useful advice on how to make life more satisfying for women.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa; an initiative that seeks to effectively mentor and inspire women, with particular emphasis on the African continent.
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