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A Pulse interview with Nigerian musician TY Bello

After releasing several acclaimed albums, TY Bello’s music has become the go-to song not only for Christians in search of gospel music but also for individuals in search of uplifting songs. And it’s this desire to provide solace to weary souls that inspire her new album ‘Heaven Has Come’.

In this Pulse Interview, the renowned artist and creative talks about her new album, motherhood, and her efforts in supporting mental health advocacy.

TY Bello released her new album ‘Heaven Has Come’ which comes 17 months after the release of her 2022 album ‘We Are Fire’. Many fans were surprised that she would release a new 20-track album in such a short span.

TY Bello described the process of making her new album as spontaneous yet grueling as some of the process went on for 5 months straight.

She had to work on being a full-time photographer while also making the album and she had to push herself to make it work. According to her, it was emotionally tasking but creatively rewarding.

“After we dropped ‘We Are Fire’, my team was saying we had to go on tour so the new album wasn’t planned for. It wasn’t easy juggling being a full-time photographer with making an album but the process was inspired by a spontaneous desire to create a compelling worship experience.”

According to TY Bello, the album was inspired by a weekly worship section that created a beautiful moment she wanted others to experience.

“Since 2016 we started this worship section called spontaneous worship and every time, the music gets so supercharged and the whole experience is very beautiful. I wanted to recreate this experience for everyday people and I thought the best way is to make music that they can relate to.”

TY Bello’s music is known for its relatability that cuts across demographics and even beyond consumers of gospel music. This element is resounding in ‘Heaven Has Come’ which sonically connects with mainstream listeners. TY Bello revealed that she doesn’t want to make music that only connects with people who see life from her perspective but to every listener.

“I don’t think there’s any human being that walked the face of the earth that is more mainstream than Jesus Christ,” TY Bello says about the Christ-like purpose of her music.

“He was politically relevant, he had friends from all works of life, and he related to everybody irrespective of social status. And this is the type of music I want to make. I want it to mean something to everyone who comes in contact with the sound.”

In ‘Heaven Has Come’, TY Bello features Afro-R&B singer, songwriter, and producer Johnny Drille. This offered her insight into her interaction with the mainstream and her desire for the gospel to the average listener. TY Bello revealed that her choice to work with Johnny Drille was inspired by huge admiration for his talent, as well as her desire to make music everyone can enjoy.

“In another world, I would love to be Johnny Drille because he’s such a hugely talented person who makes love songs and I love love. I have worked with Johnny Drille before and he’s already part of the Spontaneous Worship experience so I thought it would be great to have him on the project.”

Gospel music has come a long way in Nigeria and the early 2000s saw commercial growth in the Gospel industry as the artists were mainstream and the music shared the spotlight with secular music.

There have been recurring conversations about the potential of gospel music returning to its commercial height and TY Bello is of the opinion that gospel music must be seen as a song for everyone and not just for Christians.

“I remember back in the late 90s to the early 2000s, gospel artists used to interact constantly with secular artists and there was no major demarcation in the industry the way it’s now. I think gospel artists need to redefine the music to match the purpose that Jesus Christ stands for and which he exemplified in his life through the way he interacted with everyone.”

It takes talent and creativity to make gospel music that cuts across the board, and TY Bello has in large quantities deposits of talent and creativity. For her, creativity is universal and innate and anybody willing to tap into themselves can discover their creative spark. According to her, she opens her creative box by being vulnerable and sincere and letting God inspire her.

“Once I allow myself to be vulnerable, my creative box is peeled open and I find sound and expression very easy when I worship. I don’t have to try. I can sing fifteen songs in a role without writing. The songs just write themselves.”

Aside from being a hugely talented creative, TY Bello is a wife and mother to beautiful kids. Combining a successful career with motherhood isn’t the easiest task, and TY Bello reveals that she navigates this task by being open to learning while also decidedly enjoying every step of the process.

“Being a mom can be very hard if you place the weight in the wrong place. You don’t own your children, rather you’re only meant to guide them through life. You must be open to learning every day and taking the time to get to know your kids.”

TY Bello shares that she doesn’t draw the line between career and motherhood, rather she allows her kids into every aspect of her life and this has allowed them to experience each other.

Waiting for a decade to become a mother has helped TY Bello to understand the mental difficulties that come with such challenges, and she reveals she navigated that situation through a resolution not to slip into bitterness.

It’s this resolution of staying positive and decidedly chasing happiness that TY Bello is aiming to take everyone going through mental health difficulties. She’s achieving this through her inspiring music and she also aims to take the word directly to those in search of solace by building safe communities.

There’s a lyric in her new album that says “I guard the territory of my heart,” and it’s this mindset that TY Bello encourages everyone to embrace.

“You deserve to be happy, you deserve joy, you deserve to live. Don’t make an idol out of your miracle,” is her message as she continues to bring the gospel to everyone.

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