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EXCLUSIVE + INTERVIEW ::: US-based Gospeller, Dara Pours out The Colors of her heart

This is an exclusive. We had an interview with this ebullient, loving, intelligent and very gifted Nigerian gospel music minstrel based in the United States. We must confess, we got more than we bargained for from this anointed bundle of God's gifts.

This interview with Mrs Oluwadara Adewole is indeed one that inspires as she opened up her colorful heart to share intimate and refreshing experiences and insights. We call it the " unchanied, unhinged, unashamed, unrattled, impregnable...very upclose and very personal' interview with Dara.

Do go ahead to read up and enjoy this one...

THE INTERVIEW ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Hello, ma'am. Nice to meet you. Please can you kindly introduce yourself to our readers?

Hello everyone! My name is Oluwadara Adewole. Everyone calls me DARA. I am a gospel artiste, a minister of the word in music and song, and a worship leader at my local church RCCG Jesus House DC here in Silver Spring MD. I am deliriously, happily married to the love of my life - Biodun and we are blessed with two wonderful children.

"Deliriously + Happily" married . We will come back to that. Can you give us some hints about your background - birth place, education, etc?

[Laughs] That made me laugh.  Ok. We'll come back to that. I was born 1st February, 1972 in LUTH, Lagos. I'm the last of three birth siblings and a whole bunch of other siblings from church and around. My father was a baptist pastor and my mom is a retired teacher. My early childhood was in Yaba, Lagos and then my family moved to Ile-Ife, Osun State in Nigeria. We shuttled between Ife and Lagos until we moved back to Lagos after my graduation from Obafemi Awolowo University. I got my Bachelor's in Demography & Social Statistics from there in 1992.

Oh great. With such a solid background, a couple of people would wonder why you decided to take up music. What would you say is your reason?

Hmmmmm. I wouldn't say I took up music. There was never a time when I wasn't in music. I also would rather say, it's no wonder that I am in music, with such a solid background as you put it because even though it's by grace, calling and passion, you still need a solid background, I tell you. My goodness. As solid as you can get it, go for it, you need it! To answer your question, there was no getting away from this for me. It kept me up at night, totally consumed me in the day. When I wasn't using my gift and walking in my calling, I was just miserable. The moment I stopped resisting God and over analyzing Him, I had so much fulfillment. I didn't say life became easy as pie, but I had a deep sense of fulfillment.

That's profound. You know we do have a couple of people who haven't gotten to that point with God. They are still resisting and 'over-analyzing' Him. What advice do you have for them, considering your experience?

It's a place everyone has to get to, on their own. It took me twenty years or so. Everyone around me that cared about me, got mad at me, scolded me, stopped talking to me, all at different times in different ways…Because they cared. But ultimately they prayed for,  encouraged and continued to believe in me. But my breakthrough came when I, DARA, believed in and began to see the value in what I enjoyed doing,  that made a difference in people's lives and glorified God. I began to see that there was more to me, more that I could do, more that I should do. I'd say, unto thyself, be true. Do you enjoy what you do? Is there God in it? Has He called you? Is there eternal value in what you're about? Would you be missed if you should stop, and God would have to use someone else? Then don't let that happen! This is beyond you, bigger and better than you, so obey God and what He has told you. No matter your math and logic, most of it might still never make sense in human thinking. So as the Nike slogan goes? Just do it. What's there to lose but your pride? And you can do without that anyway!

Hmmm!  #Deep

Hmm! Yes o....

This is really redefining

I sure hope so...

Okay, let's come back to you…We understand you are based in the US. How would you define your experience in music ministry over there as a Nigerian who grew up and started out doing music in Nigeria?

It was a bit of a challenge when I moved here in 1996. My exposure was very limited and all we had for guidance really were the Ron Kenolys, Keith Statens, Helen Baylors and Fred Hammonds - from afar. Even though I was here, I felt somewhat disadvantaged because we lacked skilled musicians and singers at that time and I was young and fresh from Nigeria. But as time happened, new associations and exposures came along and gradually things began to unfold,  new music, new styles, new ideas and so on.

It's interesting. It could be competitive if you allow yourself be dragged into that and there's a lot you really don't want to know or get involved in when you learn of them but ultimately if you stay in your lane, and maintain God as your primary focus and audience, then you'll be fine. If you also have a genuine Christ-like Man Of God as Shepherd and mentor, it goes a mighty long way because you have a cover. Not a god to worship and serve, but a guide through the maze,  a sounding board, a second or third opinion of sorts if you know what I mean...

Great, then. Let's talk about your music. We understand you have an album - Colors of My Heart - and an official single - Ise Oluwa …. Tell us about this

Colors of my heart is a collection of my life story, struggles, testimony and victories, all in songs. Ise Oluwa was inspired by the victory God gave me over multiple sclerosis.  I was diagnosed in 1997, after I went blind in my left eye. From one doctor to the other ended me with a neurologist who told me I'd end up as a quadruple amputee in a few years as a result of the aggressiveness of the disease. My mom, my husband, my siblings and my pastor all told me that wasn't going to happen.  I am the work of His hands and whatsoever He does cannot be destroyed (Ecclesiastes 3:14). In Yoruba, it means "Ise Oluwa, ko le ba je)

Till now, I have been improving healthwise. I still have challenges but as far as God and I are concerned, I have overcome! I'm so grateful to be alive and well. I'm still being managed by neurologists and my three dear brothers are primary care physicians looking out for me. But I'm in great health and have an excellent, absolutely loving and selfless husband who dotes on me. God has planted me in the best church family and truth be told, inspite of all I've come through,  I am an extremely fortunate girl.

God will bless you even more as you live to do as He wills

Amen! Thank you sir, and you too...

Amen. Let's talk about the album some more. Has it been made available in Nigeria? How can people who want it get access to it?

It's coming, that's the physical copies. ..  It’ll be available shortly. We are working on making it as cost effective and as easily accessible as possible so we can pass the savings on unto our listeners.  As soon as it hits the market, I will be sure to let you know. For the moment though, it's available on iTunes,  Cdbaby and Amazon. Whenever we go to minister anywhere we also carry copies for people in the audience.
Okay. Do you visit Nigeria often? If yes, how would you rate the music ministry sector here and what do you think needs to be taken care of?

Oh yes, my husband and I are always in and out of Nigeria. That's home! Nigerians are the most creative, most inspired, most hardworking musicians and worshippers and secular artistes ever.

The biggest things I see are (and this is not just in Nigeria, it's just extra glaring in there) a lack of organization, a whole bunch of politicking, and sooooo much competition! It's all so commercialized now it’s near unbelievable.  But then again, it is what it is. Be who you are. There are so many genuine, anointed, effective worshippers that all the negativity really doesn't matter, unless that’s what you're about.

We agree with this striking observation. In your words, what do you think can be done to help fix this?

It's the same issue with the church, society and all at large. Social reform.  Really and truthfully? Christians should keep praying and let this "great change" start with us, the individual. My expectation should not be that my Pastor should live holy and stay on the straight and narrow while I play around and blame everybody for everything except myself. No. I am just as responsible because whatever happens in society starts at and affects everybody at every level, and so we all must share the responsibility.  In our homes, families, schools, churches, relationships.

 It's not just the president even though there's a huge void in integrity in our government.  But then it runs down the food chain....from the husband cheating on his wife, to the producer who doesn't deliver on an artiste’s music to the pastor mismanaging ministry funds to the child playing while he should be in school, to the lazy wife manipulating her husband and so on. You know, we all know and do and see these things. We are just as responsible and should be accountable at our various levels of government.  From our homes to Aso Rock, to the white house and back to our villages. It starts with me. It's never going to be a magic formula, because that will never last. Great change takes great commitment,  great sacrifice, great investment.  Not from one, but from all.


And it's in the little and big things.  You know. .. Prayer and fasting.  Be there when you say you will.  Communicate.  Be sensitive to people.  Be honest. Eat well, rest well, play well. Be nice. Be on time. Dress decent. Dont judge.  Dont grumble or complain. Work hard.  Save. Take care of your home. Be faithful in marriage. Ask for help when you need it. Give it when others do. Laugh.  Play music.  Go to church. Accept Jesus. Serve others. Brush your teeth. You know…  Little and big things.

Nobody is perfect but everybody should at least attempt it.

Wow….. #ListOfLifeToLiveBy. Great!

Yessir! Thank God o…
[General Laughter]
Alright  . Let's look at your music once again ... Is there any experience/experiences you'd like to share with us?

Ahhhhh....good or bad,? [Laughs]

Both ways. Maybe something our readers can learn from or be inspired by

I'm still working on my stage fright. I have to pray and confess and imagine myself into a near-stupor state of boldness and confidence every time I have to sing in public! My choir members shake their heads and actually entertain themselves watching me "sweat" and tremble,  right before I go up to minister with my song.  And then boom! I maintain focus and my spirit, soul and body just zoom everything else out and I don’t hear or see anything or anyone except my cue, my music and my God and I'm just loving Him. And it's over.  The atmosphere changes and sometimes I can hear us singing together....and I can see people connecting and it's no longer about me or anything else. Just God. It's a great thing to see.....

Now ma'am, let's get back to your "Deliriously + Happily married" line. You know some husbands find it hard to keep a sincere smile with their wives that are into music ministry. Some say it takes a wife's time while others say it exposes the wife to certain things that are unpalatable. We've heard of female music ministers with rocky marriages or abusive spouses

Yes that is sadly true....

Some are scared of getting married for fear that their husbands may not support their ministries. Some brothers, on the other hand, may not want to marry female music ministers because of this

Sadly true.....

So, tell us what could help to make such marriages "Deliriously + Happily married" stories like yours?

I'm going to be very direct here. It takes God, you and a lot of hard work. It takes dedication. It takes humility, patience and everything your mom told ya! I'm not going to offer an opinion on the unfortunately failed marriages, because marriage is between three people. The two individuals and God. I'm not going to judge or criticize them, because that would be a dangerous seed to sow into mine. My prayer is that, even though not every marriage will work, everyone should find peace and joy in God and within themselves. A failed marriage is also not a failed life! It does not and should not define you. That said....

My husband is my biggest support and supporter. He prayed me into and ensured that I got into and stayed in my lane, where I am now. He wakes me up to pray, manages my ministry engagements, anoints me, sends me on, goes with me, takes care of the kids, takes care of me, our businesses, my sound (live audio) and is involved in every decision I make.  From the get go, it's been "our" ministry.  I am just the voice in the music and the face on the cover. Sometimes, he decides the songs I sing where, whether he's there or not. 

He decides my outfits sometimes, and so on. I'll also be the first to tell you that we didn’t get here in sixteen minutes.  We've been together for eighteen years and married for sixteen. We had every opportunity to break up, but neither of us was raised to give up on life and love.  I keep asking myself who else it is that would put up with me?

I have a medical history that's miles long. My husband deals with doctors and prescriptions and emergencies like God called Him to do it. Don't misread me - he's far, far, far from perfect,  but he's perfect for me, DARA. Perfect for my kids.  Bear in mind that when the word perfect comes to my mind, I am the last person I would put in that same sentence.

As I said, it takes great work. Coming also from a broken home, I was determined not to put my kids through what I ended up going through (solid background and all! LOL!) My mom also (bless her!) showed me, there's great pride, great joy,  great reward in forgiveness, sincerity and humility.  So that's helped me greatly too. I'm also a very direct person.  I do not, will not and should not have to pretend. I simply refuse to. As it is in my heart, so I respectfully express in my marriage relationship. My husband is also the second to last child of eight siblings from a loving, strict, very traditional African family.  I leave you to imagine the interesting initial days of bonding with my in laws. Now you wouldn't even know who is who because we are all bonded and blended. And most of us live close,  in the same state across two or three zip codes in the USA, so go figure!

Back to "delirious happiness". Biodun and I are pea pod close.  I don't think I could pretend with him even if I tried.  One look through his "GQ" (lol) glasses and he sees right through me. I think something else that's worked is he fears God more than life. As a matter of fact, that’s the major plus for us. We are also great great friends, we spend hours and hours talking about everything and nothing.  We don't need anything or anyone, he’s hilarious (quiet and reserved until. ...!). He cracks me up, makes me laugh endlessly.  He's an unbelievably dedicated Christian, consistent at home and in public. And he still manages to surprise me... We argue, annoy each other and the kids say they never can keep up because, one minute they can tell someone is mad at the other,  next thing they hear is loud (I don't laugh quietly X_X ) laughing. [Laughs]

We NEVER go to sleep without clearing the air, and praying.  NEVER. I'd get a runny tummy because I just cant pretend!!
This is indeed deliriously gladdening

LOoooOL!!!! YES!! It's all about God though. That's really the Foundation and it just has to be right from the start. But it is possible, and not as rare as society would have people believe. That is the natural state of things and not the failed marriages! We shouldn't accept the exception as the rule sir.

Now we feel like bringing your husband to our chat seat. We sure need pointers from him for our brothers out there, including yours truly (the interviewer). I believe this is what the fear of the Lord brings. And it is indeed refreshingly encouraging

Lol!!  Oh I'm sure he will be willing (for a small fee of course). I can manage him too!!! [Laughs] Let me add that, I don't know how he does it. He's a very busy minister in our church, travels a lot, and a shrewd business man across two continents, by God's grace, of course. Yet he prefers to work and have an effective hand in what I do from the background and not be seen, but his results are clearly seen.
You are exactly right. He fears God without question! It makes all the difference o!
Yes, I believe the fear of the Lord brings all the 'correct' to us. What advice do you have for a sister who finds herself in a marriage that doesn't get full support from her hubby for her singing ministry? This should also go for single sisters too. More like tips to being a co-operating wife with a hubby

Hmmm. My brother.  I would pray and sincerely ask him what he expects from me and why. But seriously in that kind of situation,  You gotta pray. Only God can change such a heart, and He can.
This is how I live... What are my priorities?  What is at stake? Trust me you gotto decide what comes first, your ministry or your home.  I strongly suspect that if my husband sees and knows and feels without any question that he comes first, I don’t think allowing me be me, would be such a huge deal. Having competition of feeling like he has to struggle for my affection and attention would certainly not make him a happy man.

And indeed he shouldn't have to! Balance is extremely important.  Not just in marriage but in life. God comes first. Then my marriage, home and all. And then my job. ..And then my ministry.  Some may disagree with me, but that is how and what God has told me and this is my choice and strategy for my life. If my job is now also my ministry field, then so be it. May be better or more stressful depending on how you work it. But whatever the case, balance is key! Even God detests things being out of skew. So take care of the home front (hubby, kitchen, bedroom matters). Let's be real. A man is a man. You want peace and joy? Respect, romance and reality? Take care of business.  Simple.

If a man is a real man, you take care of business, then he won't mistreat you. Unless he doesn't love you and I don't know the answer to that one if they're already married.

So tell us what plans we should expect from Dara's music ministry, aside from the hard copies of your album coming to Nigeria soon

We're working on a remix of some of the numbers on Colors of My Heart and a video is coming out soon. I'm so excited! I'm working on some new singles as well for summer release by God's grace with some of the most talented and anointed producers and worshippers! Even I am interested to see what God is cooking and brewing!
Oh great. Okay, CiTyzens and visitors of The CiTy ( that is something to look forward to from DARA this year. Back to you ma'am, do you have any parting words you want to let out here?

Be you! Love God.  Laugh a lot. Try something new. Live well.  Stay strong.  Dream big. I love you,  thank you! And oh yes, I keep forgetting, lol! Please follow twitter: @Daramusik instagram @Daramuzik and facebook DARA.

Alright. It was great having you here, ma'am. We look forward to hearing more from you. Have a blessed day
Thank you soooooo much. I truly appreciate everything.   God bless you real big. Love ya!


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