- Music Group of The Year : City People Awards, 2009.
- Gospel Artiste of The Year : Nigerian Entertainment Awards(USA), 2009.
- Best Traditional Song : Nigerian Gospel Music Awards, 2009.
- Most Popular Song of The Year : Nigerian Gospel Music Awards, 2009.
- Album of The Year : Nigerian Gospel Music Awards, 2009.
- Best Non-UK based group: Africa Gospel Music Awards UK, 2010
- Best Non-UK song of the year : Africa Gospel Music Awards UK, 2010.
- Best Indigenous Gospel Song : Nigeria Gospel Music Awards, 2011.
- Gospel Group of the Year : Kingdom Africa Awards, 2011.
- Gospel Artiste of the Year : Kingdom Africa Awards, 2011.
They were actually eleven in number when they started in 2011 but the quartet of Michael Abdul, Odunayo Ojo Onasanya, Pat Uwaje King and Gbenga Oyebola, known simply as the Midnight Crew have kept their wits about them for nothing else but for the love of what they do and enjoy doing. In this revealing interview, which they take turn to respond, they open up on their careers, their dreams and why they have stuck together for that long. Excerpts:
How has the journey been this last twelve years?
It’s not been very easy but we made up our mind to go all the way as long as God stands by us . The very funny thing is that, we see very far.
Have you guys ever had issues or moments of friction, where you quarrel?
Yes, we do have those times. But the good thing is that we are friends, first of all, and we have realized we all need each other in our lives. And no matter the differences, we just have to reconcile. There is nothing that is irreconcilable. And we try to hear ourselves out and then we put ourselves in each others’ shoes.
How did you guys compose that song ‘Igwe’?
‘Igwe’ came from God. It is a song that God gave to us and it is evident in the way that it was received. As a matter of fact, we did that song and then we just traveled out.
What year did the song come out?
It first came out in 2006, then we couldn’t find expression for it, so we had to remix it. We changed the production which actually paved way for a much more serious production, better sound and I also think time worked for it. That is, the time that God actually decided to set aside a new throne. Then he puts the song, Igwe on the throne.
How many awards have you won as a group?
We have never bothered to count. As a matter of fact, we still got awards this year. Initially, we used to beg for votes. But now, we don’t and we still get the awards.
What were you trying to achieve, because at one point you use some kind of hip-hop beat and then it just changed?
First of all, I think Igwe is about the first song that you have the languages being code switched. Well, it came from our experience also. We’ve had situations before the Igwe song where we go to a church and then you sing a lot of Yoruba songs and you see someone walks up to ask you why you are singing more of Yoruba songs in an Igbo church and vice versa. The song was actually able to bring a lot of people together . Even the Hausas who didn’t have their language in it, were also thrilled by the song.
What has been your happiest moment for the past twelve years?
What advice do you have for the groups that are breaking up and new ones coming up these days?
Well, I would say that the vision that God gave to us has been our driving force. The vision to cure the world of religion and put the praise of God on the lips of all men. When we say we’ve been able to put the praise of God on the lips of the Yoruba man, we realize what we’ve not done for the Igbo, Hausa,and we also realize that there is still more to do.
That has actually been our drive and we’ve been able to achieve one song which all nation sing. But more function and more assignment are still here. So, I think that the fact that we obey God, we allow God to direct us and thirdly, we maintain dedication on the assignment that He has given to us. Everyday we wake up, we realize that we are going deeper and deeper into all of the assignment.
Why haven’t you guys been able to give us something more than the Igwe song?
I told someone that the fact that you give birth to a child that becomes the president, doesn’t mean all your children will become presidents. Every child has it’s own purpose. So, every album that we release also has it’s purpose. Our desire is not to be famous but to win souls. So, whatever God will do and whatever song He will use, let him use. I have testimony of a song titled “Nothing can stop me” in our first album. We went to Lokoja and a woman came with her child and testified that she was barren for years. To the glory of God, after listening to that particular song “Nothing can stop me”she was able to bear a child. For me, that was a great testimony.
Can we say that has been your most touching experience?
At the beginning of our lives, that is, about twelve years ago, when midnight crew started at Yaba College of Technology, two testimonies came. The first one was about a young guy who had given up hope about life and was at the verge of committing suicide but that same day, we were to have our concert. When he came for the programme, he saw many youths praising God and he wanted to know why they were so happy and wondered if they didn’t have problems like him.
To our greatest surprise, he walked up to us to tell us of his initial plans to commit suicide and how his hope was restored. Secondly, a lady told us how her mother was healed from depression after listening to one of our songs titled “Mgbene”. Since then, I realized that everything we do have a way of reviving and giving people hope. And since then, our part is to ensure that we inspire people and make them happy. I think people choose each of these songs to bless them, and God chose Igwe to bless him.
Why did you choose to come together as a group?
We didn’t choose to, destiny brought us together. We were in the same church choir called “Original love choir” when we were in school. We just ignited together and decided that there are still more to do. We actually did what God wanted us to do in Yaba Tech. Singing everywhere and blessing lives. So we asked ourselves if what we’ve done was enough or should we take the blessing to the bigger world?. So immediately we left school, we decide to come up with “Midnight crew” and do away with the initial name “Original love”. Though the choir still exists.
Is the name ‘Midnight Crew’ not too hip-hop like for a gospel group?
God told Gideon to go and tear down the walls of Baal. Our own mission is to tear down the walls of religion. We saw similarities, they went at nights and we rehearsed at nights while we were in school because we went for classes during the day then towards evening, we would go for singing rehearsals. We realized that there was a lot of similarities in our assignments. On the last note, they were eleven in number. Comprising of Gideon and ten other men for that assignment. When Midnight Crew started at the initial stage, we were eleven in number. Some actually got married and relocated while some went back for their second degree etc.
How was the fantastic four able to stick together?
It’s like coming from a barber’s shop and someone telling you how good your shave is. We just realized that we were four.
Did you ever imagine you would become this famous?
When reality comes, you can start crying. But the truth is, God, most of the time will not do a thing for you without showing you what you will become. But when you become that thing, you just find yourself shedding tears because it is possible to miss it. So you just thank God that you made it.
For the men in the group, how do you cope with your female admirers?
The ladies are doing very fine, they are Christians and they have the fear of God. And above all, we are doing very well together.
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