Award winning gospel musician, Pastor Josh Laryea known for hit songs like Ngboo and Ajoomi has cautioned gospel musicians against clients who refuse to offer adequate rewards in return for their services.
This trend, which Josh called “spiritualising attitude”, has been a major contributor to the decline of gospel music in the country.
He said that gospel musicians, like other musicians, invest substantially in their work but are often not paid enough for their sweat because they are perceived to be working for God and therefore need no material rewards in return.
Speaking with Showbiz last week Thursday, Josh who seemed quite worried by this trend claimed that most event organisers capitalise on this perception and often deny gospel artistes what is due them. “We need to stand for what is due us”, he said.
“I am not saying that the quest for money should be the focus of gospel musicians in the country but just as other musicians go to the studio to pay money to record their songs, pay for production of quality videos, pay for publicity and promotion, so do gospel artistes.
“It is therefore unfair for the gospel musician to be told when he should be enjoying the fruits of his labour that he is working for God and that God will provide”.
He said such situations occur regularly at church events where church leaders expect gospel musicians to perform and only receive “God bless you” in the end because the artistes are working for the Kingdom of God.
“I don’t want to be misunderstood but just as money should not be the focus of a gospel artiste, we should also appreciate that he needs money to run show business which is different from the ministry”.
Quoting 1 Corinthians 9: 13 – 14 to buttress his argument, the 2005 Gospel Music Artiste of the Year said: “Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar?
“In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel. So if pastors are paid for doing their work, why shouldn’t gospel artistes also be paid for ministering at a church?”.
Beyond money, Pastor Josh Laryea urged gospel musicians to take ministering the word of God seriously and make that a priority. He said that winning awards are fine but that should not be made a priority as is becoming the tendency among some gospel artistes these days.
“I am not saying that it is bad to win an award but that should not be the focus. An award should be a surplus for one’s hard work and not the priority”.
He said that he is currently working in the studio for his new album which is expected to be released this year but was reluctant to give more details.
Born Joshua Aphonso Tetteh Cheataa Laryea, the man who has come to be identified with “jama” gospel currently has seven albums.
He is the Assistant Director of Chaplaincy at the Central University College and until his appointment as the resident pastor of the Doxa Temple, a Branch of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) at Adabraka last year; he held the position of the Music Pastor at ICGC Christ Temple.
He has won several awards including the “Record of the Year” in 2009. He is married with three boys and a girl.