Uniekgrace is a musician who has made the world her home and has been exposed to a diverse amount of cultures. Born in Nigeria, educated in the USA and now calling Belgium home; Uniekgrace has had to draw inspiration from her migratory life in order to cultivate her own musical sound; and in the process may have even been gently nudged into her greater calling.
Along her journey Uniekgrace has faced and survived some trying times, which led her to the recording of the single I’m A Survivor. Through her tribulations she found solace in the higher power and recorded the track Jesus Is Real, giving greater significance as to grace being part of who she is.
We had the opportunity to have a chat with Uniekgrace about her beginnings in the music industry, her latest single Heal Our Land and her future plans.
Lavatory Records: Describe who Funke Ojo is as an artist and a person?
Uniekgrace: My parentally given name is Funke Ojo. My stage name is Uniekgrace. I am a Soul/Urban singer and songwriter. I write songs based on what I have either gone through, going through, or a conviction by faith and revelation.
LR: How did the name Uniekgrace come about?
UG: Uniekgrace, the word, is made of two parts. Uniek is a Dutch word for “unique” as you may have already guess. I chose to write it in Dutch because the moment I realised how much God really loves me and how much grace I have, I was studying the Dutch language for a programme I wanted to undergo.
And the second part, grace – is simply because I realised I am who I am honestly by the grace of God. Without it, I am very ordinary and weak.
LR: How did your dream of being a musician begin and pan out?
UG: Honestly, being an artist, especially a recording artist was something I was pushed into. I happened to have met a producer just after I composed my first single, I’m A Survivor. He was producing a song for a friend of mine and I was highly encouraged by my husband to give it a go. That’s where the dream began.
LR: How would you describe your style of music to anyone who hasn’t heard it?
UG: I have been told I sound like Lauryn Hill and Emelie Sande, as well as the Nigerian artiste Asa. My genre really is Soul/Urban.
LR: Which three artists would you name as having influenced your style and how?
UG: My parents listened a lot to the likes of Jackson5, Lionel Richie, Ebenezer Obey, Sunny Ade and Mozart/Bach while I was growing up. I see my style also formed from these artists. I love, love, love the passion behind all their styles and persons.
UG: I’m a Survivor resonated from a path I went through within my travel from America to Belgium. It’s a story on its own but a story indeed. I wrote a book about it that is yet to be published. I had to overcome a lot of obstacles before I could stand on my feet again. But I always give thanks to God even when going through hard times. That strength is what led me to compose the song in the first place.
Jesus Is Real is based on a confession of my faith. If people are wondering what my faith is, the song says it all. And there is no going back. I stand firm as a Christian because I know the benefits of being one.
LR: How difficult has it been to be forthright and outspoken about your Christian faith, considering the “turn up” lifestyle of the industry?
UG: You know, it’s not that difficult. I am the type of person that when the hype is one way, I tend to find that road less travelled. I can understand if some Christian artists are having a hard time because the world makes it look like success lies in worldly music. However, when you believe in what you are doing, and you do it well with definition, success is bound to happen. Moreover, this depends on how you define success by the way.
LR: You are a very well-travelled lady, what sparked the ‘gallivanting’ and globetrotting spirit in you?
UG: My “gallivanting” is so because my father is a diplomat. So where he went, his family had to follow. This is how I became exposed to different cultures. I love it!
LR: Having been based in Belgium, what are your thoughts on the Brussels Airport bombing incident that we saw earlier in the year?
UG: It’s an unfortunate event. Lives were lost and left people in shock. The world needs healing. These events happen in different parts of the world that newscasts don’t get to. That is just as sad. But when it gets close to where you call home, it leaves you shaken. This is the kind of situation that should call all Christians to sit up straight. There is work to be done in the kingdom. There are people outside of the church that need to know about the love of God that saves souls.
My latest song Heal Our Land available on iTunes, YouTube and other legal music distribution channels is a record that a lot of people have appreciated after the bombing. It speaks of the world we are living in now and calls for action.
LR: If the opportunity presented itself, which one artist and one producer would you like to most work with?
UG: Artist: Miss Lauryn
Producer: Honestly I have never thought of that. I don’t know many producers but I know Timberland is a genius in music production.
LR: What have been the challenges you’ve experienced within the industry?
UG: Making music has gotten sooooooo expensive. My only frustration is that I devote myself to excellent work in audio and video recording. The only reason I call it a frustration is because it costs a lot to produce high quality work. But in a way it is great because it allows me to take my time. It tunes down my chances of releasing poor quality music.
LR: Are there any studio projects you are currently working on and what can we expect from that?
UG: Currently I am working on a live recording with my band. It will be an EP to start with. This is my biggest project yet. All best wishes and good prayers are welcome 🙂 (as Lavatory Records sends some your way.)
LR: Are there any special mentions you want to shout out?
UG: I am just glad that I am who I am doing what I am doing with a husband, children and parents that I have. Without them I might as well be like every other Jane Doe with a vision but no support. I am grateful.
Also, do check out my music on YouTube. Follow me on major social networks @Uniekgrace. SHARE all videos please.
Enjoy and stay true to yourself.