She is an uncommon gospel singer. A young lady that rose from the Muslim background as an Hijabian sister but now a fire brand minister of the word through song. She does see herself proficiency in singing, she thinks she is not a singer but a minister whom God has made and brought to this level. She released an album ‘Eleda’ a hit track and has become a household name who is most likely in the shoes of another top gospel singer Tope Alabi. Incidentally, they share same names on stage and are in the same ministry. She is also a qualified Nurse and happily married. Meet Lady gospel Singer Lara Alabi who speaks with Fola Adesoye, Excerpts;
Can we meet you?
My name is Lara Alabi Jaiyeola. I am from Oke Oyan, Ile Ere District in Ifelodun Local Government Area of kwara State. I was born in 1984 and attended Articulate Odo Olowu N/P School, Ijesha Tedo, Cele Ijesha, Lagos, 1991 to 1996. I later proceeded to Unity Secondary School, Oke Ode, Kwara State.
After that I went into Nursing; it has been my dream career from childhood. Though my father always wanted me to be Journalist, (laughs). He talks about women who had become great in the profession and showing me their pictures. He speaks about their make- up, charisma and how they speak on air, but my passion overrode his wish because of all along, within me, I have this silent urge that Nursing is my chosen career. To the glory of God, I proceeded to obtain the form, did exams and was admitted into the school of Nursing. Today, I am a qualified Nurse; I have my RN and Intensive Critical Care Nurse. I tried having the Midwifery Certificate in 2011 but time constraints with my employer then made me withdraw.
Who are your childhood friends?
(Laughs) That’s a tough question; I lost all childhood friends because of the peculiar nature of my background, I was a Muslim.
Ok, let’s spy into this your background?
I actually came from a Muslim background, and then my name was Alabi Monsurat Omolara. I used to be an Hijabian sister, I love the Hijab because I was a fanatical Muslim sister just like all of us in my family. Even when I converted, most people who knew who I was found it difficult to believe it. My religious activity was so much then, I fetch water into the mosque for ablution and I wear my Hijab 24/7. I derive particular joy in taking care of the mosque because I see it as a means of seeking the favour and mercy of Almighty Allah. My parents too are devout Muslims and my elder brother also an Alfa, a cleric and preacher. That my brother is a renowned cleric in the town as at then. But around 2002, I heard a voice which I neglected initially. When I first heard the voice, I never saw it as being possible, it didn’t sound possible for me to see sense in the dictates of the voice. The voice was saying “Become a Christian, Know more of me.” So my salient question was ‘who am I to know about and where is the person that has been speaking to me? But the voice persisted and I became more and more confused. My mother was a Roman Catholic as well as her siblings. She married a Muslim and became a Muslim too. My mother’s relations wanted me close to them; I went to them on every vacation. My mother’s elder brother has a brewing factory where he produces alcoholic drinks. My being there on holidays does not stop my five times daily prayer, though they make a jest of me whenever I was praying but also encouraged me in my worship of Allah because they know I will have fear of Allah through that. I woke up earlier than all others because I need to do the morning prayers then I don’t have to sleep anymore, the days’ work starts again. However, my last visit to the place before my conversion was April 2003. Then I just finished my Secondary school examinations. I had enough time then so on 20th July, 2003, one of our neighbours who knew how early I wake up disturbing the environment just called me and said ‘Lara, I am inviting you to my church on Sunday’. Though I didn’t pay attention to his words, it continued to recur in my ears repeatedly. She had even forgotten that she said anything so to her surprise when Sunday came, I dressed up and followed that woman to church. At first, she was like, ‘Ah, I was joking o, I don’t want your people’s wahala but something keeps pushing me that I should see what is happening in that their church. The message of that day was as if I never heard of such before. It was too direct to me. The Message that day was ‘Lets Honour Him’. The entire message of the day was so explicit to me. I later realized that the Holy Spirit was at work, explaining everything to me. I was shivering within me, I was trembling. I had always loved God all my life, so hearing the word, let’s honour him coupled with the words that had been whispering to me that I should learn more about him, I could not imagine the coincidence. When the preacher asked for anyone who wants to give his life to come out, I came out and gave my life to Jesus Christ. I was prayed with and counselled. I noticed that something changed within me. It was a Redeem church; I started following all their programmes, Digging Deep, Faith Clinic and others. When I started going to church, those who knew that I used to fetch water into the Mosque early morning noticed I no longer do it, they noticed my movement towards the church, and then the trouble started. Those people then called me and expressed that they notice that I no longer come to the mosque. They asked what challenge it is that made me follow the church people? They asked all manner of questions. They told me about a publication “Who is this Allah?” Warning me not to read the book. They said that Christians have three Gods and whereas there is only one Allah to whom we bear witness to ‘Ashaidu Allah Ilalahu’. From that I started to sneak into the church, I no longer go to church openly. When the holiday was about coming to an end, my mother came to see his brother with whom I came to spend the holiday and noticed that since morning, I didn’t conduct my prayers. She asked if I was on my period or something, I couldn’t tell her that I stopped being a Muslim. But eventually, she got to know. She was really mad at me and went to meet the woman that I followed to church asking why she did such a horrible thing. She even talked to his brother asking if he wants her out of my father’s house on divorce. She really attacked all parties in the know of my conversion stressing the fear of how my father will take the news and that it is a direct attempt to cause her problems in her marriage. To cut the story short, she left without taking me along and did not even speak to me till she left. When I returned back to our town, she had reported me to my father already and as early as possible the next morning, he called me and asked what happened to me. I couldn’t say it was true or deny it, I simply kept quiet. I was locked up and confined to a room where I couldn’t even see my siblings or anybody. They didn’t allow me torch anything in the house, I was virtually alienated and isolated. They claimed that some strange spirit has entered into me and I need to be cleansed. All members of our Mosque heard about it and on Friday after jumat, which was the fifth day of my arrival back into the village, they came to our house in their number to challenge me and ask what got over me? It was as if something strange, unheard of has happened to me. The Moslem groups, ‘Alasalatu’ and others came to our house singing and causing some stir; I couldn’t eat for days, I was confused, and I don’t even know what happens next. At a point, they sat around me and I was in the middle and they started speaking to me, counselling me and some even advised my mother to make Quranic inscription for me to drink and later send me out in marriage to a cleric. Hearing that, I decided I will neither eat nor drink anything they bring. Each time I was confronted with the people, I always remember the parting words with that Pastor in Lagos. He gave me a insight into what I will face as persecutions and what lie ahead of me when I get back home. He also warned me that no man lays his hand on the plough and looks back that is fit for the kingdom. He said that anyone who openly confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and turns back will be faced with worse challenges of life that he could ever imagine. I imagine becoming a lunatic for rejecting Jesus Christ, and then I made up my mind. That message rings and guided me. My people were really funny in the way they were teasing me then but I stood my grounds. Initially I feared the consequences of rejecting Jesus Christ but later the love came in, I started loving Jesus and the more I loved him, the more of him I knew and he has been my pillar till date. It was turbulent in those days, they shift guard on me, morning, noon and night. I had nowhere to run to and no one to speak with other than the new found friend, Jesus Christ. It was so tense because my elder brother is a cleric that everyone knows and respect. He is very versed in Islamic education and he had good reputation in that Moslem oriented and dominated community; It was really embarrassing to him that his younger sister ever turned Christian. I was choked up, some members of the Jamaa sent three elderly women to me that they come to bath me back into Islam but I lied to them that I was having my period, but as they departed, the Holy Spirit accused me of lying and I quickly asked for forgiveness. So after a calculated five days, they came on that Sunday requesting to bath me back into Islam, an ablution sort of. I was caught in a corner. Then I don’t know any prayer than ‘In Jesus name, blood of Jesus’, so till now, it amazes me how God saw me through the persecution. It was like hell. So the old women asked me to go and perform normal ablution and I even recited some of the wording for them, so they were happy and appreciated the fact that I had not forgotten the wordings. But when I entered the place of ablution with water, I prayed again in Jesus name and Blood of Jesus and came out. I climbed the prayer mat and was saying In Jesus name, blood of Jesus. After the process, they left me thinking I had returned into Islam. It was second week in August, as soon as they departed a spirit told me to go to the church. Then I didn’t know that the church in our place was same with the church in Lagos, a Redeemed church, so I ran to the place. Little did I know that my father was with his friend living around that church, he was surprised to see his daughter enter a church after all the exercise again. Five minutes after I entered the church, I saw my father enter the church too and pounced on me with merciless beating. That day is better imagined than remembered. I never thought I will see another day. The whole church was scattered, pandemonium everywhere. When the church people tried to rescue me, my father turned violent beating the resident Pastor of the church and tore his cloth. I was taken to the house of the towns chief Imam and the whole town was gathered looking at me. I loved my dad so much, I couldn’t imagine him weeping and I still stood my ground. It got to a point I almost pitied my dad and turn back but the spirit of God asked me if I will love my father more than I love God. That made me hardened my heart and stood with God. Oh but for the love of Christ Jesus, I love my dad, I love him so much. He too could not imagine that I turned my back on him and went with Jesus Christ. That church was eventually closed down, because the town gave them the land for church. The church committee went to explain that they didn’t even know me from anywhere and that my coming that day was a first time of attending their church. The matter soon became a community issue and the people revolted. However, some members of Christian Association of Nigeria, women group who heard about the matter from ECWA gathered and sent one of them to pretend as if coming to transact a business around our house. She looked here and there and when she saw that I was alone, she quickly threw some money to me with her left hand to avoid being noticed and said “run away to wherever you can, the Lord be your guide.” I was under-secured watch but God just paved a way for that woman to reach me. I was not a thief nor was I caught in fornication; I was so humiliated because of my profession of faith that Jesus Christ is Lord. Humm, well I thank God that all is now history; God has taken all the glory. Back to my story, I hid that money inside my pant and slept that night. As early as the next morning, when every one of them had gone to pray in the mosque, it was around 5.30am, I pick all my essential items that I could lay my hands on and fled. My immediate younger brother suspected my movement and told my people and another hot chase after me as I was running to the garage. The vehicle had to wait till its passengers fare complete and that was why they got me again. They collected all I had on me including my credentials at the motor park because no vehicle could carry me because every one of them had known about my attempt to run away. So as they thought I had no money with which to travel, they left me. In my determined mind, I ran through the bush and saw a vehicle; I think the driver is somehow a stranger who had not known about my issue. At first he didn’t want to carry me because I was having only one shoe on me, beaten and battered, looking so rough and almost insane. I had to beg him very well before he accepted to cry me. He said he was coming towards Ilorin so I followed him down and that was how I started to live in Ilorin since 4th August 2003. The younger sister to my cousin who lives at Offa happens to be in a place, Basin Road, Ilorin. It was her place that I ran to. I maintained her address since my first time of coming to sit for nursing entrance examinations. At first when she saw me, she couldn’t welcome me; I looked like a lunatic, rough and unkempt. She asked me several questions in one minute; I just burst into tears, not knowing where to even start from. She took me in and fed me and clothed me. Later in the evening, she took me to her church explaining that she cannot all alone bear the burden. That was how I became a member of Redeem church, Basin Road. The church took over all my responsibilities, clothed and fed me. To the glory of God, the Pastor of that Redeem Church that I was taken to happens be a friend to the Principal of the school where I finished my WASC, so he liaised and got me another copy of all my results and other credentials. Till date, my father only knew that I had advanced in my studies; he never knew how I made my result again. I also went back to Lagos to retrieve my Primary school leaving certificate and testimonials. As to my deficiencies in the O’Level result, it was the church that gathered money for me and I retook my papers. Haven made my papers; I proceeded to the school of nursing. It was the year when I was about graduating from the school of Nursing, 2007 that I met my spiritual father, Pastor Sam Jaiyeola. It was just a postal that invited me to the programme. I was at his programme at the Ilorin stadium and a prophesy came up that I have a bright star and that I will be going places. At first, I didn’t pay much attention to the prophesy but I kept attending the ministry. On another day, the man of God challenged me that I was not doing anything about the prophesy he kept challenging me anytime we meet, but the more he talked about it, the more confused I was. He later counseled me on how to start somewhere. The Holy Spirit then came in and I started seeing myself in dream leading a choir ministration. As at then, I just joined the choir so the issue of leading does not even arise and that was how I started. I didn’t even know what music was all about. Many times in my dream, I see myself singing. I later started following the man of God to his outreaches and many times he invited me to sing before he ministers. What I just noticed was that anytime I sang, the whole environment is illuminated and charged, I feel it myself. Later, I started composing songs that is given me in my dream. I started to keep a diary book of songs and people somehow appreciated my rendition of songs. All along people who were blessed with my songs do pray that God will take me there and within me, I keep asking where is God taking me because I didn’t know what was happening, he leads and I just follow. Not until, 10th January, 2010, when I was led into the studio to produce a first album. I was led to Evangelist Tope Alabi music Studios to be precise. The title is ‘Eleda.’ It was debut and launched at Kwara Hotels on 25th April, 2010. I started receiving messages and calls from those who heard the songs appreciating God for me. When I listened to it myself, I was wondering how this me, this little me became a vessel that God can make a singer for him, I return the glory to God. Indeed he is the mold we are the clay. All those who were aware of my conversion, started talking ‘Lara daughter of so so and so cleric, is now singing gospel songs. It is God, if not, the day that the entire Muslim Umah in my town gathered all over me, humiliating me; I looked into my father’s eyes, a man I loved so much, weeping over the grief that his daughter turned Christian, I would have turned back and renounced Jesus but the love of Jesus transcend my father’s love, it is beyond my understanding. Deep thoughts about all that God has been in my life made me write the song ‘Eleda’. Though all my family are still Muslims, God told me that it is not hard for him to make them all turn towards him and come to bow to me, apologizing. On that promise I still stand because I want my father to realize the true love of Jesus Christ and become saved too. Till date my parent are still bitter about me, it got so bad that my mum had to disown me and took in for another daughter as a replacement for me in her family. She told me that I should not bear her name again; she disowned me and said she regrets having a daughter as me. After a long time my mum could not sustain her actions; her newborn baby girl could not replace me in her hearts. People who came to me from home told me how she was always asking about me, her daughter. For two years, we lost contact. However, they did not relent in their efforts against me, when eventually we came into contact; they tried to deceive me and lured me home as if they had accepted my new faith. Getting home, I never knew that they had arranged a Muslim wedding for me. I was to be given as free wife, ‘Iyawo sara’ to a cleric who already had thirteen wives, I need not mention his name. It was like a preaching session, chairs were arranged and the plan was that as soon as I appear at the scene, they will give me out to the man. Luckily, one of the Christians got a hint of the plans and linked it to me, so again, I fled through the bush back to Ilorin.
How did you come into singing?
Personally, I cannot even explain. My only response it that God ordained me for it. I don’t know how to sing, I just
Lest I forget, how are you related to Evangelist Tope Alabi the gospel singer?
Ever since I was young, I love her music, I love singing Tope Alabi’s tracks despite being an hijabian sister. Though we don’t have it in my family house whenever I hear it being played, I sing along because her songs make sense and have words of impact. When I started singing, I never sought after her; it was God that divinely arranged our meeting. I already have a band and accept invitations to sing at churches. On this fateful day in 2008 or 2009, Rhema Chapel invited us. After the ministration, I waited to see her. Mama Tope Alabi is a very pleasant and homely person. The way she welcomes me that day was not as if I am an inexperienced singer. She is more or less a mother role model to me. She is a woman of God and I am convinced in my spirit. For a woman of so much honour to have treated me like that with great honour was a great encouragement to me because I counted myself not worth minister with her on same platform. That is how the grace of God elevates man. This is a woman that has been singing since I was in secondary school, what a rare privilege of meeting such a humble personality. I learnt a lot from her, I am following her steps.
Aside Tope Alabi, who else among the gospel musicians are your mentors?
Mama Bola Aare. I respect her ministry and the power of God in her life. Mama aside being an experienced musician is also experience in life. She is someone that I can run to for counsel on issues of life personally and spiritually. Her daughter too is now into music ministry. That is a level of grace. For God to call mother and her daughter succeeds her in her ministry like that mama cannot die. It’s a great level of grace.
Any regrets, passing through persecution for accepting Jesus Christ?
No, never; though I was driven afar from all my siblings, they no longer relate with me as one of theirs but today, I have all Christians as members of my family and I have God as my father. I have inner peace and experience a difference in what my life would have been if I was outside the household of God. I have lost nothing, because I have become a child of God, no longer a slave that I used to be, now swimming and living in the love of Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour. Just like Apostle Paul said it, I count it all as gain. I still love my family and will be waiting for the day that God in his infinite mercies will make them see the light and bring them, all members of my family to the loving kindness of Jesus Christ, only then shall my joy be full.
Are you now married?
Yes; I am married to Mr. Olalekan Jaiyeola. He is also from Kwara State.
Are you a member of GOMAN or PMAN?
GOMAN had severally extended an invitation to me but till now I have not joined, not because I have anything against them, but because I am still chocked up with activities. I am still a practising nurse and also into singing. Time is my constraints because I will naturally miss meetings and I will look either arrogant to say I am busy and I will look irresponsible, missing meetings, so this are my reasons for still not being a member but I will join very soon as God directs, at the appropriate time.
Do you intend having a training school for youngsters who want to go into singing too?
It is my dream. What God has deposited into me, I want to impart into others. If God can make me who doesn’t know how to sing to be ministering in songs for him, he will do same for others through me. As many as received him are called sons of God. This mystery is a thing that all who aspires must also taste so as to know that indeed, the lord is good. I will have a testimony for a training school someday.
How is your husband supporting your ministry?
He is fully in support of my ministry. He met me singing and proposed to me. He must have caught the vision along with me. He is indeed a blessing to my life, I see him as god sent father, not just a husband.
When should your fans expect an album from you?
My fans have been expecting so much from me, but my issue is that I have many live on stage album as I go to several places to minister. Until I am led to producing in the studio, I don’t want to just entertain people; my business is their soul, which is Gods business. The video of ‘Eleda’ is long overdue for release and very soon it will be out. Whatever message he gives me for them I will deliver at the appropriate time. Very soon, by His grace I will release what will meet their expectation in the Lord Jesus through his grace bestowed on me.
You can listen to Lara Alabi’s ELDA music here and also download.
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