Her name is Chigo Grace. During Mdidi album launch by Faith Mussa, she was announced as one of the supporting acts. Not many were familiar with her music and style. On the night of the event at Bingu International Convention Centre (Bicc), Chigo Grace made her way to the podium. Dressed to kill in a traditional print suit, the new artist held the microphone close to her mouth and started to sing. What patrons experienced not only impressed them but made them ask for more. The new artist was delivering songs in a way not many artists do.
She was performing contemporary gospel music.
Generally, contemporary gospel music has strong influence from many forms of secular pop music and the fusion of traditional gospel music.
In Malawi, it can arguably be said the genre has been more of an underground movement‚mostly associated and driven by charismatic churches and the prophetic movement.
The mushrooming of new churches, often perceived to be modern and appealing by mostly younger generations, has resulted in contemporary gospel music becoming popular in Malawi.
As an up-and-coming artist, Chigo Grace has embraced contemporary gospel music. This genre of music is not necessarily new in Malawi as fans have since time immemorial listened to a number of international musicians doing such music.
For those looking for a refreshing, cross-generational sound, Chigo is the answer.
She is a breath of fresh air with raw talent and emotion as well as passion delivered with every note she sings.
Through her worship songs, she conveys transparency, authenticity and vulnerability while her vocal prowess captures and commands the audience.
A rookie, as she can be described by some but Chigo has a big dream.
“I do contemporary worship because it has been placed upon my heart by God, and I chose to do what is upon the heart of God rather than go by the crowd. My hope and trust is in God. He’s the one who will take me far.
“It’s very true most local artists are not doing contemporary worship music but I feel there’s an audience for it still in our country. It is the kind of music that instinctively flows out of me and I have chosen to still pursue this genre,” she said in an interview.
She added: “God’s love for me and mine for him is what brings out the worshipper in me.”
A born again Christian, song writer and gospel musician and Chigo has been in music since she was young. She holds a bachelor of science degree in enviromental health.
“I have been playing music for as long as I can remember. I started singing since my primary school days. I used to sing at our club meetings and at church but I started singing as a professional musician in 2008 when I released my first album; You Are Righteous,” he explained.
After the debut album, she released another one Beautiful.
She is currently working on her third album titled Breathe in Me.
“The album will be released before the year ends.
Unlike the first and second which have 13 and 12 songs, respectively, Breathe in Me will have 18 songs,” she stated.
Listening critically to Chigo, one gets a feel of Jesus Culture and Walker in her music. She, of course, says she listens to a lot of Paul Wilbur, Fernando Ortega, Third Day and Bethel music as well as Jesus Culture.
Musician, sound engineer and producer Sam Mjura-Mkandawire commends the artist for choosing a path that few have taken.
“Truthfully, she is very good. I see her doing well. Malawi has opened up to the contemporary worship music and a lot of people are listening to this music in their cars and homes. “I have no doubt that it can be sold outside. It is now easier to sell music to a wide world audience due to the emergence of digital music stores. All it takes is that one big break and I believe she can achieve it,” he said. n