Can we meet you?
Hello, it’s absolutely a great privilege to be here today.
My name is Tonia Shodunke, first and foremost, I would say i am a woman who simply and wholeheartedly loves Christ, and serves Him through loving my family, serving the church and speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves.
I am a pharmacist by profession and a Gospel Minister by passion. I am an explorer on a mission to spread love, joy, peace and healing through music channeled across Africa and beyond. I would say I am a simple lady who is sold out to impact and influence through every gifting, hence I write as inspired, and I am a conference speaker. I am also a social worker who delights to work with kids, especially the less privileged and disabled. I reach out far and wide to women struggling with burdens and presently I am running a Mentor-ship platform for youths in conjunction with other passionate associates.
The core purpose is inspiring lives, so I do all these and a lot more in conjunction with my passion for leading people in to the presence of God through the instrument of praise and worship, while writing unique songs as a recording artist.
Above all else, I am a proud wife of a king and a blessed mother of two mighty empires, who is also passionate about raising seeds that would inspire many more generations to come!
I have my hands very full right? Lol
How was childhood experience like?
Well for me, growing up was fun. Being the 7th child out of eight siblings, 3 males and 5 females, it was always a house full of fun. With siblings who had a fantastic sense of humor, there was never a dull moment!
I lost my eldest brother in 1988 and my Dad in 2001, those were very devastating times for my family, but thank God for His constant faithfulness.
What inspired you into singing?
For me, singing started a long time back while in Children’s church, but twist came when I went with my sisters to choir rehearsals and ended up being handed a microphone by the choir coordinator who unknowingly to me, had been listening to me while I sang along in the corner where I was seated.
I got an automatic promotion from the children’s choir that day and landed among the main church choir as a lead vocalist! Lol (great memories there)
I went on to develop a love for music and the major turning point came when I read a book by Darlene Zschech titled ‘Extravagant Worship‘. That book ignited an unquenchable zeal in me for worship and service to God.
Right then I felt the connection, the pull into purpose, a call so strong! This birthed my passion to proclaim God’s faithfulness across the globe in different facets of society.
I have evolved since then with a passion to impact my world on the shoulders of several role models such as Cece Winans, Yolanda Adams, Sinach, Tasha Cobbs and a Mentor who is Pat Isabella Ogo Uzodike. (Isabella Melodies)
Why did you opt for Gospel music?
Simply put, because I am a woman on a mission. I am SENT and when one is sent, you do not speak of your own, but the message of the Sender.
John 3:34 says “ For he whom God has sent speaks the words of God….”
I had an encounter to this effect on 26th May, 2004 to spread the message of hope and Gods faithfulness around the World. I still remember that day very vividly, in my office while on call as the pharmacist on duty at the Orthopaedic Hospital, Dala, Kano. It was a very quiet night with no emergencies and while I read the book, Extravagant Worship, God began to speak to my heart and I wrote the words all down. I still have that book today as a reference point. I call it ‘My book on purpose ‘
God gives His Spirit limitless, the the sent recognizes he/she is sent.
Hence, music for me is all about spreading God’s word, His love, pointing men to His constant faithfulness, inspiring and motivating all that listen to the greatness God has planted in them.
Apart from being a gospel artiste, do you do any other thing?
Absolutely, I practically have my hands full, like I already said!! #ShrillLaughter
I’m a pharmacist by profession so that means I still carry a global mandate to ensure health for all, but from two perspectives…..the medical and the spiritual!
If the situation escapes medical intervention, then for sure it won’t survive the spiritual!! #BroadSmiles
I have a Master’s degree in view, hence I’m presently in East Africa. My being here has opened me up to so much, In-fact I dare say it has been the ‘process’ that is bringing out the GOLD in me.
By virtue of the needs on ground, I run several projects ranging from the disabled kids and less privileged in the society, to mentoring the youths in tertiary institutions here.
I love to write, so I maximize this aspect of me, reaching out with a silent, yet targeted voice of hope.
I also belong to a global online platform of value centred professionals living life by design, who are committed to ensuring balance and grooming solid/refined men and women to bring changes in different spheres of society. It’s based on seven pillars of wisdom, which are Partnership, Apprenticeship, Relationship, Citizenship, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Stewardship. It’s actually a whole lot, so may not delve into the nitty gritties.
I find it very simple to create fashion out of the ordinary, so I love to inspire from that perspective also, with the aim of bringing decency back to the church and the society at large.
I draw and paint at leisure times, but haven’t done anything in recent times about this aspect of me…. I don’t quite feel comfortable leaving any fallow ground or any stone without turning it; so I hope to visit this soonest.
My rock featuring Isabella Melodies is gradually becoming a family song, what inspired the song?
I am so passionate about this song, because it was a song birthed in the place of prayer, at a very trying time when it all looked so bleak. A point in my life where throwing in the towel seemed the easiest of all options to have been taken, but thank God for He who stood for me, gave me solace, reasons to trust in Him and keep hope alive, till I was out of it all.
Which artiste would you love to work with in future?
Well, since you’re not specific, I would say Cece Winans, Tasha Cobbs, Sinach.
What do you do at leisure time?
Hmmm…… I’m not so much of a leisure time person, you know. It used to be painting, but there has been so much to do in recent times so I just stick with reading, updating myself and playing lots of music….. great food for the soul!
I invest so much time in my family and we hang out a lot when we can. The bond means so much to me.
Advice to youngsters about to start this great work?
I would say, no matter what you do, stay glued to the Vine. Everything we desire and aspire to become in this life is all found in Him, so stay true to Him.
Don’t be known for the fun of it, rather strive to add value to the system. Enrich the World with the gift and abilities freely given to you. Some day at the end, the trophies will rust, and the accolades will fade; all that will remain is the God you serve and the impact you have made.
Resounding questions I would like to ask are:
Are you confident in the person you are becoming?
Whose life is brighter because you are part of it?
Another strong point I would stress is;
No matter what, believe in yourself. You are not the observations of others, rather you are who you think you are and the actions you take.
Stay true to who you are, endeavor not to sell your morals away, stay faithful while in the process of ‘becoming’. The lessons learned and imbibed during this time, will save the way for your rising and sustain you even when you have attained your dreams.
In conclusion, acknowledge God in all your ways and He will direct your paths. Learn to put Him in the spot light, make Him known, talk about Him so much that He has no choice but to show up.
He deserves ALL the glory.
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. “
Any work in the pipeline that you want to let us know about?
Ooh yes, definitely there are!
I’m working on the release of my debut album titled “The Voice” before the end of the year. Also in the pipeline are concerts here in East Africa and back home in Nigeria. So many write ups coming, collaborations.. but all in all, I love surprises and I think you should too.. #LaughsOutLoud So keep your fingers crossed.
Wow!! its really awesome having this interesting chat with you on our platform. thank you once again and we hope to have you again someday.