Today on Christian Musicians Corner podcast, I’ll be interviewing Robert Gar, the founder of ThirdLead. ThirdLead is the pioneer Christian rock band in Benue State, Nigeria. The band was formed in 2005, originally as a five -man band. Before they went on a long recess, ThirdLead was a household name among rock fans in Nigeria. They released three singles, played on stages like Rocktoberfest and All -For -Him concerts. Right now, the band is a solo act of its founder, Robert. I am excited about interviewing Robert today. So, let’s dive into the interview.
Spirit 3:6: Alright, let’s start with the name ThirdLead. What does it mean?
ThirdLead: Do you want the long or a short version?
Spirit 3:6: (smiles) Short one, please.
ThirdLead: Anyway, in the Christian circles we say we’re in the era of the Holy Spirit, who is the third member of the Trinity. So, ThirdLead just means Holy Spirit Lead.
Spirit 3:6: Wow! That’s interesting. Alright, so can you share a little bit about your childhood days?
ThirdLead: Erm… Growing up was pretty intense; fun but intense. Well, you can imagine a house full of boys; five boys, no girl.
Spirit 3:6: Oh, okay, so who or what inspired you into music?
ThirdLead: Well, growing up there was always music around the house. My parents had a thing for good music. My mum’s brother was a musician back then. He’s late now, but he was the one who brought up the likes of Panam Percy Paul. So I guess I got my music genes (the strong music genes) from my mum’s side. She really liked us doing Acappella, so she made us do quite a bit of Acappella at home and in the church while growing up.
Spirit 3:6: Oh wow! That’s great. Before we go further, I’d like to know, do you play any instrument?
ThirdLead: Yeah, I play the guitar and the keyboard also.
Spirit 3:6: That’s great. So I’ve listened to some of your previous works and I must confess I was completely impressed. But I’m curious. Is there something or someone that keeps you on check to ensure you maintain such excellence in your songwriting and delivery?
ThirdLead: Well, in responding to a question like that, a lot of people will say this person here or that person along their path has been like their anchor, or has kept them down as a mentor. But for me, I would say it has to do with something great, something in my nature. There’s this saying that “whatever you find to do, do it well”. I have always been of the notion that whatever is worth doing is worth overdoing. So I keep pushing myself to do better because I know there is better to be had.
Spirit 3:6: Yeah, that’s true. Alright, so I’m sure there are some challenges you’ve encountered doing rock music in Nigeria especially considering that you are a Christian. So what are some of those challenges that you’ve faced over the years?
ThirdLead: Well, it’s a bit tougher for me because in the secular world there are lesser restrictions than there are in the Christian faith. And Nigeria is believed to be a very religious and superstitious country, if you permit me to say. And Rock music has always been believed by many to be the devil’s music. So that stereotype in Nigerians makes rock music a bit testing and trying. But I guess that’s what it is for now at least, so we’re hoping it gets better.
Spirit 3:6 Yeah, you’re right. Even though, things seem to be a little better now than it was like some 10 years ago. Okay, I’d like to ask, would you say doing rock has affected your faith in any way?
ThirdLead: Well, I’ve always believed that the concept or the idea of faith is a personal thing. It’s between you and your God. So if God is okay with me, and my heart is at peace. I think that’s the path I should pursue. So no, it hasn’t affected my faith.
Spirit 3:6: Okay, so I know you have a new project coming up soon, and that’s after a long period of not releasing any new music, right? So what motivated this comeback right now?
ThirdLead: Well, the EP has been in the works for quite a while now; about five or six years now. But what motivated me to come up now is … asides believing that the right time is actually now, I lost my dad recently… And his passing just made me realize the brevity of life. So the longer you leave things unattended to or unsettled, time doesn’t wait for you. So here I am now.
Spirit 3:6: Oh, dear. Sorry for your loss. Now, would you like to say something about this new project you have coming up soon?
ThirdLead: Okay, well, the title of the EP is ‘Come What May’. And it’s just an open declaration; my open declaration to God that no matter what life dishes out to me, I’m still on the path with him. There’s nothing that would distract me or derail me. The EP is made up of five tracks. And the hope is that whoever is listening to this EP gets that inspiration too; that for whatever it is in life you’re pursuing, no matter what happens, you can still keep going.
Spirit 3:6: That’s great. So when will the ERP be out and where can we get it?
ThirdLead: Yeah, well, we would be releasing the first two songs from the EP on the 15th of October, 2023, as we earlier announced on our social media. They would come out as singles, and then we would roll out the rest of the project subsequently within the space of a couple of weeks. Of course, it would be available on all music streaming platforms for downloads and streaming.
Spirit 3:6: Awesome. So, what should we expect? I mean, your fans now, what are we to expect from the EP in terms of quality and all of that?
ThirdLead: You will definitely get some quality sound, quality music, beautiful productions, thanks to my production team. But what I hope you’ll also be able to get out of the songs are the messages of hope, of love, of faith, unwavering faith as they’ve been communicated to me. I hope I will be able to communicate that to you through my music.
Spirit 3:6: Great. And I can trust what you just said, because I know I’ve listened to some of your previous works before, so I can attest to that. All right. So besides music, you are a businessman and a farmer, right? I know you used to play basketball professionally before. So how do you manage the huge demands of music in addition to all of this?
ThirdLead: Well, whatever you’re passionate about, I believe you’d always find the time, the resources, whatever it takes to get you achieving what you’re passionate about. I believe if it’s something you strongly believe in or you’re passionate about, you would find time for it.
Spirit 3:6: Yeah, you’re absolutely right there. I’ve heard of musicians who had to use all of their earnings, all of their salaries to buy gear for their music. Some have had to trek long distances just to perform or play a show and all of that. So yes, you’re completely right about that. Finally, do you have any words for young people out there who hope to do what you are doing now someday?
ThirdLead: Well, as a musician and also as an entrepreneur, I would not say just to the budding rock musician, but to anybody out there. My hope and inspiration in life with everything I do is that, for example, I’ve been able to keep at rock music in Nigeria, created a niche for myself and do rock music in Nigeria where I believe it’s not accepted. And I’m still at it this long and still getting better every day. I want that through my music or whatever I do, that child on the street, that child in the village gets to be inspired to pursue his dream as long as his heart is in it.
Spirit 3:6: All right. So thank you very much, Robert, for your time and for sharing with us truthfully. I believe everyone who listened has gained one or two things from what you have shared. So thank you very much, once again.
ThirdLead: Thank you so much.
All right, people, that’s the much we can take on Christian Musicians Corner for today. I believe you have gained a lot from this interview today. So please don’t forget to like, to comment, and to share this. And also don’t forget to follow ThirdLead on all their social media platforms so you could get updated on the release of their new project coming up soon. Until next time, this is Bye from me.