Muyiwa Olarewaju is a British Singer Song writer Broadcaster, the one who is more than most helping to popularise the form and bring it to a wider audience by mixing it up with elements of world music (from Africa, the Caribbean and Asia), soul, R&B and pop.
He is also an experienced performer, broadcaster and presenter. In 2009 he became the first-ever international act to perform on America’s popular entertainment channel, BET, for the prestigious annual Celebration Of Gospel show. He is presenter of the Turning Point programme to an estimated global audience of 70 million and Sounds of Africa plus Jewels of Africa on Airlines like Lufthansa, Kenyan and more. With his group Riversongz he sold out Indigo2 at the O2 in London, and Evetim Apollo with 5000 people the first UK gospel act to do so, and he has played at the largest gospel music event in the world, The Experience, attracting a 500,000 strong audience.
As a broadcaster, he has a late-night show on London’s Premier Christian Radio, the station has an audience of 1.3 million listeners nationwide. He is also Station Director of Premier Gospel and has won numerous awards, including Best Presenter at the Oasis Awards (2006), Best Radio Show and Best Contribution to Gospel Music at the Gospel Music Awards (2009).
Muyiwa and Riversongz, no strangers to awards either having won the Gospel Music Award for Best International Group, the Star award in the US and Best UK Act at the inaugural Oraclez World Gospel Festival & Awards in 2009, have released 7 albums that feature Muyiwa’s distinctive rich, deep singing voice and unique “spoken word” monologues/raps.
He Grew up his early years in Nigeria. The first place he lived in London was Stamford Hill, with an uncle.
“It was a horrid experience,” he shudders. “The cold hit me upside my head. My uncle said to me, ‘You’re going to suffer here.’ I thought, ‘Whoa, what’s this?’ I had none of the comforts of parental guidance and cover. I was just a burden to these people. I felt lost.”
He remembers another time, in between homes, crying in Borough High Street, his belongings spilling out of his bag onto the pavement. He wound up living with a different, distant uncle, “a young Nigerian guy, very flashy and a druggy”, who made Muyiwa feel physically imperilled.
Muyiwa discovered stability in the church. He describes it as the only constant in his life – “even amid the chaos of our home lives”. This was his introduction to gospel music. “Before that,” he explains, “it was all hymns. It was a revelation. I could feel the energy of the music. The church had loads of Africans in and I felt like I was part of a family.”
Muyiwa holds undergraduate qualifications in Business Studies at East London University and a Music at Westminster University.
His first job was on the Entertainment Desk for Channel 4’s Big Breakfast which meant having to book celebrities for the show. Then he landed a job at Sony/BMG in International Promotions and fell into the world of voiceover work.
Muyiwa occupies a unique space as a leading gospel artist in the UK, a broadcaster and thought Leader
“I’d like to be seen as the guy who, through music, shared the idea that there’s always hope, whoever and wherever you are. It’s not about agreeing with my religion. If you just lost your job, there’s hope. If you’ve got HIV, there’s hope. If your child has lost his way, there’s hope. That’s what I sell.”