You’ve probably heard the popular Kumama Papa song that has been trending on social media, especially among Christian young people. There are now various versions of the Kumama Papa song, but two of the earliest versions were by Clement Whyte and Prinx Emmanuel, both featuring Grace Lokwa. Today on Musicians’ Corner, I will be featuring my interview with Clement Whyte, one of the people that made the earliest versions of the Kumama Papa song as we hear it today.
Clement Whyte is a music minister, a songwriter, music producer, music director and sound manager. In the past few weeks, a lot of videos on social media have been done with this Kumama Papa song used as the background music. And truthfully speaking, it is a beautiful song to listen to. Here is my interview with Clement Whyte.
Spirit: First, can you tell us a little about yourself and your childhood days?
Clement Whyte: My birth name is Clement Ibechone Uwanni. I’m the first child of my parents. My parents were in the choir in their time and are now Ordained ministers with the Redeemed Christian Church of God. I learnt the basics of how to play the piano while I watched someone teach my dad how to play and picked up the rest from there.
My childhood days was very rough cos my parents couldn’t afford to really take care of us at some point. But then I would say God’s faithfulness have been sufficient for us through the years.
Spirit: Interesting. What motivated you into music?
Clement Whyte: I honestly can’t say something motivated me or what actually motivated me into music cos I literally found myself growing in it. Music was always there wherever I turn to. When we were children, my dad always played music, very early every morning, while we were still asleep. My dad or uncle would have the cd player running almost all the time. We were also forced to attend choir rehearsals with them cos they were all in the choir. Well, I wouldn’t say the “forced” was the right choice of word, because we couldn’t have been able to stay home alone, so we had to go with them. Music was just at our right, left, back, and front while growing up.
Spirit: Wow! So, music has always been a part of you. I read that you started your music career as the music director/ pianist in a church. Can you tell us a little about those days? How was the experience?
Clement Whyte: Wow, I had a lot of wonderful experiences. I was permitted/allowed to join the adult choir even though I was not old enough, because they saw how I was beginning to perform extremely well in the children choir. One day, the church drummer fell sick and the first time I touched the drum set ever, I played it like a pro at the time. Before then, I used to rehearse drum playing on a bench back at my mum’s shop. Later on, my parents relocated to the busy part of Lagos, Alagbado to be precise. That’s where I started playing the piano proper and then I gradually rose to being the choir director.
Spirit: That’s interesting. So, how long have you been doing music?
Clement Whyte: I can approximately say I’ve been doing music professionally for 14 years now.
Spirit: Wow! That’s a long time. Can you tell us a bit about how you met Grace Lokwa and how you came about making a version of the popular Kumama Papa song?
Clement Whyte: The was no connection from the start. A sister from the U.S. sent me a video of Grace Lokwa singing the song with some people on the street. It was Acapella. She said she heard my voice in it and wanted to be sure it was really me. Honestly, when I listened to it, I heard a voice in the background that sounded like mine. But then l immediately connected with the file and went ahead to make a quality audio file. Afterwards, I contacted Grace Lokwa and asked if I could go ahead and publish the song to the world and he agreed.
Spirit: How does it feel now that the song is trending and blessing millions of lives?
Clement Whyte: Anyone would be joyful, but I have been working and waiting for this to happen, I don’t feel too surprised actually. I want more. I strongly feel this is just a start and hope that God helps me to achieve what I really want.
Spirit: Let’s talk about your other songs.. I know you have other beautiful songs. Can you say something about them?
Clement Whyte: Yes, I’ve done some covers and a few original songs too. For most of the cover songs, I would say I was motivated by how much the songs speak to me. For my original songs, I would say different things have inspired me at different points of my life. There are some of my songs that are yet to be released, but all of them tell a story and most importantly tell people about God. There are so many stories to be told about each of them but I’ll stop here. Thank you.
Spirit: What are some of the biggest lessons you have learnt in all these years of doing music?
Clement Whyte: Hmm… I like to make use of 2 key words here: Consistency and Passion. Passion made me want to dig deep musically. I don’t get tired and I always look towards perfection. Most importantly, I love what I do. Passion and consistency are intertwined sort of, cos for me my passion brought me into consistency. I’m always available to do music irrespective.
Spirit: Great. If you were to advise a younger aspiring musician, what would say to them from your experience?
Clement Whyte: First I’ll like to say do what works for you. Operate more in your comfort Zone. Note that I said, “operate more”, I didn’t say you shouldn’t try other things outside your comfort. You have to just operate more there; put more tenacity where you function most. We all have that one thing, that one area you are good at, USE IT.
Secondly, put God first. Actually, this should have been the first advice. With God, you can achieve more than you can ever imagine. He is the first prescription for every ailment and the only map to your destination. It is God that gives the power to make wealth and wisdom to create exploit. He’s the source of creativity. So, indulge yourself, talk to him cos he has experience. That’s all I can say. If you put this to use, with other little things in place, you’re good to go.
Spirit: Wow! Thank you very much for your time.
Well guys, this is where we’ll stop. You can connect with Clement Whyte or listen to his songs via his linktree.
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