CREATIVITY & TALENT DISCOVERY
IRENE APATA — A NIGERIAN YOUTH DOES, RCCG; NIGERIA, PROUD IN THE UNITED STATES:
Says she is ‘’Determined to Use Music to Inspire, Empower, Motivate and Encourage Humanity’’
”One of the issues that people never consider before moving out of Nigeria is how important our cultural identity is to us. I find it interesting how in Nigeria, people tend to identify themselves based on which region they are from. Once you go outside the country, there is a sense of national pride and we tend to identify ourselves more as Nigerians.” — IRYNE ROCK
One problem that human beings encounter is that of getting to their places in destiny. It is very easy to miss the plan of God if adequate parental care is pushed to the rear. Of importance too is the role of organizations with parental responsibilities. One young Nigerian who is gradually shooting into limelight in the area of utilizing her talent is Dr. Irene Apata (aka IRYNE ROCK) a Dentist by profession, resident in the United States. Irene has been able to discover and utilize her endowment and latent gift of a creative gospel musician. Creativity derives from being creative. Four factors account for this great discovery: God Almighty, Rtd Major-Gen & Mrs Henry Ayoola, The Redeemed Christian Church of God, where IRYNE ROCK worships God, and Irene herself, who has not been complacent in her journey through Planet Earth. The story of Irene is one that could make a positive impact on the growing generation, hence the special attention devoted to her efforts by TERRIFIC HEADLINES.
In recognition of the commitment of TERRIFIC HEADLINES to promoting creativity and youth development, TERRIFIC HEADLINES spoke with IRYNE ROCK, with the objective of creating feelings of empathy in talented Nigerian youths, who are unable to discover the gifts deposited in them by God, and also promote the fact that people should not over-rely on Government for subsistence. Iryne Rock, a lover of Jesus Christ with passion for music ministration, and is currently carrying the flag of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, and that of Nigeria aloft in the United States, as an artiste who is fast gaining reputation as a budding talent who is set to conquer the world. Iryne Rock spoke with Terrific Headlines ahead of the release of another album this week titled: JFY short for Just for You, that is dedicated to God and is a cry to live just for him.
You are a qualified dentist and a musician. These professions are poles apart. How did you find your way into dentistry and also music?
It is by the grace of GOD! Through my secondary school, I was assigned to shadow a dentist for 2 weeks in Senior Secondary Class 2. I had told them I was interested in Medicine (it was the popular choice), but they sent me to a Dentist in Victoria Island instead. That experience exposed me to the independence in Dentistry, and from then on, I desired to be a dentist. As for Music, it has always been in my family. My grandfather was in a band in Ibadan, my mother and aunties sing well and are good story writers. I believe that God started working on me with music from birth. It really was more about the call from God to do something with the gift. When I started to feel him lead me to record, then I took the next step.
How have you managed to cope with the demands of the two professions?
It hasn’t been easy, but God has met our needs every step of the way. He also blessed me with the BEST HUSBAND in the galaxy!!! Joseph has been my covering, encourager, financial support, emotional support and more than there for everything. I can’t thank God enough for him. I also rely heavily on the support of my extended families.
Going through your very rich blog, would one be right to assert that you fell headlong into the music vocation. How did you discover this talent?
Well, in everything we do, God asks us to do our best, to bring glory and honour to him. So, we try to do what we can as well as we can, by God’s grace. I have never really tried to think about when I discovered that I could sing or write songs. I probably tried to hide how well I loved singing and writing since it’s not a skill set most parents are excited about in our culture. So, I always downplayed it. Some of my friends in Dental school would ask why I never pursued singing or acting and I would laugh it off. I think my siblings were the only people aware that I truly wanted to pursue music. It wasn’t until I started leading worship in church that I noticed that I had an anointing for it and people confirmed it by encouraging me to lead more and requesting for my songs.
People talk about parental influence in shaping the lives of their children and wards. To what extent has this very important factor, (parental influences) aided your successes in life?
Well my parents inadvertently shaped my taste in Christian music. Given the fact that we weren’t allowed to listen to non-Christian music in the house, they had to find Christian music that was engaging in word and melody. We ended up listening to the very hip Christian artists. Also, growing up watching my mother lead praise and worship, and the choir, I grew accustomed to that environment. I am naturally drawn to worship teams when I attend a new church. My parents also created a culture of excellence in the family and led by example. They were supportive of all my endeavours from a very early age and encouraged me to be the best I can be in everything I do.
Officially, you are Dr. (Mrs) Irene Apata. What gave rise to Iryne Rock, by which you are popularly and widely known and why your preference for this name?
I needed to create a moniker to keep my professional identity as a Dentist separate from my music. It was so difficult choosing a name that we had to enlist our family members to vote on the best artist name. We ended up with Iryne Rock via consensus, and fortunately it started to make sense. So, the name Iryne Rock was derived from my married name – Irene Apata. Apata means “Rock” in English, and the name “Iryne” is from my first name given to me by my parents (Irene), with the Y representing my Nigerian “Yoruba” tribe and “Yahweh”. We wanted to go with a Universal name since we consider ours to be music universal.
A blogger describes you as a multi-talented gospel singer and recording artist that delivers a brand music that speaks, titled: “Fire In My Veins”. This title is fascinating. What would be your reasons for branding your music: “Fire In My Veins” and what in particular, should your fans expect as they await the release of your new works?
Well, Fire in my veins is a compelling song. It is a cry to God to give us the grace to be on “fire” for him. We decided to make this the first single because of the significance and urgency of the lyrics, which is a good example of what to expect with the album. The album, titled JFY short for Just for You, is dedicated to God and is a cry to live just for him. I hope listeners expect something different, refreshing, aspirational, thought provoking, compelling and very scriptural. I pray for an encounter with God for every listener through this album. The title “Fire in my veins” truly represents the effect I hope the album has on its listeners and I hope it inspires a closer relationship with God.
The song “Fire in My Veins” is the first single off your ‘JFY” album that is billed for release this month; May, 2018. From available indications, particularly the arrangements made for the release of your new works, you seem to be focused and very methodical in your goal of making an impact and capturing the music market before too long. Your reaction?
Firstly, we are going by the Spirit’s lead. The entire project started about a year ago, and we didn’t have a clear picture of what God was leading us to do. As we continued to walk with him, he kept giving me more songs, providing more producers and funds. We are truly on God’s schedule and pray that God continues to take control.
What message does your brand of music convey? Do you also sing secular tunes? If not why?
That Jesus is everything! We hope to inspire, empower, motivate and encourage all people through the love of Christ in our music. I can sing secular tunes that have a positive message, but I haven’t recorded any. I just try to do what the Spirit leads.
One problem back home in Nigeria is that of youth development. What factors would you say have combined to push you to the vantage position that you occupy today?
God’s favour, grace, mercy and my upbringing. God has been so good to my family. My parents came from humble beginnings and I see the hand of God over their lives. The love of Christ poured into my parents transformed into the sacrificial love my parents demonstrated towards my siblings and I. My parents do not only talk the talk, but they walk the walk of faith. They also emphasized the concept of excellence. They gave their all towards our education, offering the best they could. Even now, my parents invest in their grandchildren and have invested into this call. They instilled in us Godly qualities through activities we did together – we had morning devotions, exercised as a family on Saturday mornings, played board games together, attended good Christian schools and went on summer vacations together, just to name a few.
Is there any possibility of your dropping dentistry into full time music ministry; or drop music for dentistry?
Well, I believe I have been called to do both for now, but with God all things are possible.
Are you prepared to entertain invitations to participate in concerts and music ministrations in Nigerian Churches in particular, and all parts of the world generally; if invited, given the fact that you are a shining example that could create the feelings of empathy in the younger ones?
Absolutely. We would love to bless people all over the world. As a matter of fact, I have a heart for working with youths and I have always been involved with teenagers and pre-teens at churches I have joined. One of the songs of the album, “To Be Different” was written with my two sons and young people in mind. I hope everyone is blessed by it.
What type of response are you receiving from the Nigerian Diaspora; and also, the locals in the United States?
We are receiving very positive responses, thank God. We have been able to make it to radio stations in Lagos and Abuja, Australia, the Netherlands, Canada and the US. I believe that some TV stations like AIT International and AIT in Nigeria have begun to broadcast Fire in Veins video. We trust that God will continue what he has started.
Many young people in Nigeria have the impression that streets of advanced nations are paved with gold. How is it currently residing abroad outside your home country?
One of the issues that people never consider before moving here is how important our cultural identity is to us. I find it interesting how in Nigeria, people tend to identify themselves based on which region they are from. Once you go outside the country, there is a sense of national pride and we tend to identify ourselves more as Nigerians. There may be better opportunities in advanced countries, but hard work is needed wherever you find yourself. Like my father-in-law says, “Ise loogun se” (hard work is the antidote for poverty). This is very true in the United States.
To what extent has your husband supported your brilliant efforts? What type of future do you see for Nigeria and Nigerians?
My husband has gone far beyond my expectations. We always joke about how people congratulate him and thank him for allowing me to make music. I laugh because Joseph does not only allow me to make music, he supports these endeavours spiritually, mentally, physically, financially and emotionally. He is a GREAT man and husband. I see a very bright future for Nigeria and Nigerians. We are too innovative, talented, brilliant and resourceful to fail. Our time is now… Nigeria will fulfill her destiny, she has no other choice.
This piece is worth spreading to our youths, parents and organizations with parental responsibilities because of its likely positive impact on our society and the global community in general.
Below, have a taste of what to expect in IRYNE ROCK’S Next Album. Her tenacity of purpose should challenge both Nigerian youths and their parents.