London-based Worship Leader and Youth Minister Yemi Ayeni has just released her new worship EP, 'I Bow Down'. LTTM spoke to this eclectic gospel artist about fighting her shyness to break out as a solo artist, and surrendering control to God in what she does.
For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in making music?
Well, I’m a wife & mother. I’m a youth minister & I love the work. My day job is as a graphic/web designer. I got involved in music from my Uni days in Nigeria. I was the female lead singer alongside a male lead in a band. I didn’t want to venture out on my own because I liked the comfort of being in a band. I had to grapple with shyness a lot. So being in a band was a shield. Years later, when I got saved, I sang in choirs but still had to venture out on my own.
Tell us about your new EP 'I Bow Down' and what the inspiration behind it was?
Surrender, to put it simply. I had a command from the Lord to go ahead. The last EP I did was in 2012. And there have been many challenges but I had to surrender everything to God because He is in control. I needed people to be inspired to worship Him more.
Which is your favorite track on the EP and why?
That’s a tricky one. I keep getting swayed by listeners’ favourites. So I’ll put it this way. The one that ministers to me and my situation is ‘Glorify Yourself’, because I’m believing God for a miracle.
What message would you like people to take from your music?
Worship Him. We were made to do just that. So in everything we do, be it prayer, praise, work, play, we do just that.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
I would describe it as contemporary Gospel & Christian music, influenced by Soul and Jazz. From an early age I’ve listened to Jazz, Soul and R&B. I grew up listening to Whitney Houston, Phyllis Hyman, Sade Adu, and Anita Baker to name a few.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
It would be William Murphy. I’ve been inspired by his ministry from when he was in Shekinah Glory Ministries and I love his passion.
How would you define success in your career as an artist?
Well, there’s being an artist and there’s being a minister. I refer to myself more as a minister because it’s not entertainment for me. So success would be touching as many lives as possible through my music and lyrics and seeing God move whilst ministering.
What is your favourite album of all time?
I’m a bit of a stick in the mud there. Not sure I really have one.
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your phone. What track is it?
Stumped. It wouldn’t be a song - There’s so many.
What does the next year hold for you?
Oh, wow! My album Tours, Travel, my son’s graduation, my daughter’s wedding, Wow!