1. Tell us about Shoggy TOSH?
Shoggy Tosh is a young man, born in Birmingham, England, United Kingdom of origin from the wonderful “green-white-green country” that we call Nigeria (I love Nigeria). I’m someone that is graced as God’s favourite son (that’s how I see it). God’s love for me has been really evident in the number of years I’ve lived on earth.
I do a number of things, by God’s special grace, but in summary, I’m a producer, a TV and radio presenter, a PR consultant, publisher and sports analyst (we cover a lot of sports, especially football, in our magazines and broadcasts). I’m also a music artiste — a gospel Afrobeat singer and rapper.
2. What was it like growing up?
Well, I’ve had experiences — both positives and negatives. Growing up was a blissful experience for me. I spent the first six years of my life here in England before my parents took me to Nigeria. I have never regretted that move because my time in Nigeria flowered my experiences. It prepared me — cooked, baked and even fried me — for the future which I’m experiencing now, and not just myself but obviously everyone who comes across my path. Over the years, I’ve found myself sharing the knowledge I got from those experiences during mentoring sessions. I really bless God for that time.
As a young child in England, I was quite precocious, a little spoilt and naughty. I got what I wanted when I wanted, and that was partly the reason my parents had to bring me to Nigeria. That was a totally different change of scenery. Right from the airport, I was inducted into the “NEPA experience“. I thought the doors were automatic like the ones in England and instead of walking through, I walked into the doors and of course, smashed my head in; because it didn’t open! And the mosquitoes? Yeah, they welcomed me and there were a whole lot of other experiences: the heat, the struggle with languages. Initially, it was a shock to my little self, and things were tough. Nigeria for me was a totally different world from the one that I knew back in England, and it was difficult to comprehend.
I fell ill regularly, had a lot of spiritual battles and at school it wasn’t easy to blend in with the other kids. Students would pick on you because you couldn’t speak the local languages and your English was too posh to them. As time went by, I started to learn Yoruba and get used to the environment. I didn’t know at the time but those times helped in building, strengthening and toughening me, such that challenges later in life (and even now) seemed like a piece of cake. So that’s how it was growing up; I’m still growing, it’s a continuing process for me and it’s not at an end. I’m improving and improving others around me as well.
Later in ’96, when I was almost done with my studies, I relocated back to England where I’ve been ever since. I still do travel but my family and my base is here in England.
3. A glance at your bio/portfolio gives the impression that you are a person of many capabilities. Can you please tell us what the journey through these career paths was like?
When it comes to my portfolio/profile, I always like to give the credit to God first. I might sound like a broken record but I have to mention God as He’s at the centre of whatever I have, and it won’t be right, in fact it’d be criminal of me to just claim that it was my strength, ability or enablement that brought me so far. I also love to acknowledge my mentor, Rev. Tim Omotoso, because God used him mightily for me. You can have many potentials and capabilities but you need someone that will push and encourage you behind the scenes. You know there are some mentors that like to show up in front of everyone but truth is the hard work is behind the scenes — those times when patience, endurance and perseverance is needed with a mentee. Rev. Omotoso had all that and still does. He had time for me; he encouraged me, and scolded me when the need arose. These helped develop the different capabilities that people are seeing today. For instance, with regards to TV, I never knew I could do TV. I used to lead prayer sessions in the ministry, and that helped me to connect with people, understand their mindsets, deliver the messages I had for them and get feedback. That contributed to my knowledge but I still needed boldness and a belief in my abilities. Sometimes, the push you need to go for your dreams will come from other people, and Rev. Omotoso was that person. He actually prophesied into my life back then in 2006, saying that God wanted me to change my career path which was towards engineering then. I did study civil engineering in University, and I did engineering product design. He made me understand that God was calling me into media. Funnily, while growing up, I despised that field but once I knew it was God’s plan for me, I started to embrace it. After a period of time, just as he prophesied, God began to open so many doors for me in that field. I got to meet the famous movie star, Jackie Chan, and God used him to link me up to what I do now. The fact that I didn’t study for media (I eventually took a course in media studies which I didn’t get to complete) is a testimony that God can bless a man through his servants or those whom he sends to us to mentor us.
My experience doing TV was a wonderful experience. For the first 2-3 years, and even till now, there were awards from all over the world. Our show, TOSHMAG was everywhere. It was on Skye here in the UK for two years (we called it BSkyeB). Even in Nigeria, it was aired on satellite TV, on a channel called MyTV21, and all over Europe. That was a wonderful experience. When I started radio about four years ago, it was Rev Omotoso who encouraged me to take it up. It’s so amazing to see how much coverage we achieved under such a short period. It can only be God because there are people before me who worked harder, with twenty, thirty, even forty years on radio who have, for whatever reason, not achieved what I’ve been able to achieve in four years. When you have the grace of God, you can run a journey of forty years in four years or four days. And people would assume you’re a magician or you’re doing something unique whereas it’s just the grace, mercy and favour of God.
In music, it was Rev Omotoso whom I also reached out to in 2003. I just felt like singing but I really didn’t have a singing voice, and so one day I left him a voice note in musical form. He got back to me and said jokingly, “you better go and do your own album.” He was joking but I have this mindset that even a joke from a man of God should not be lightly esteemed. I knew that it was a prophecy and I needed to run with the word and not let it fall to the ground. It took me eleven years to do my first music work though.
Also, a good partner of mine, Femi Best Touch encouraged me to go to the studio, while knowing about the prophecy. And so we did the first song, EMUJOW which means “dance” in Yoruba. That project was meant to raise awareness and funds for orphans, fatherless children and homeless people on the streets. While this project was our mission, we found that the music was making sense, so we sought to collaborate with other professionals and make more music. So after EMUJOW, which featured Dunamis Reigns from Jamaica and Shady Blue from England, we did another one with Henry Sopamoto and it was the #1 song in Uganda for 2 months, and in Plateau state for 6 weeks and #1 song in Europe for a week. On the official independent European charts, we got up to a quarter of a million downloads in a few months. It was also the #1 most downloaded song on the Gospel website, notjustok.com.
You cannot write that script except God shows his favour on you. So that kind of branched me into the different careers that I’m doing. Even in my job as a PR consultant, I found favour. You know when you have one of the biggest PR companies paying for your services. They have professionals who studied for public relations, but they would rather have a so-called novice who didn’t go to PR school. It can only be God’s grace.
So most of what I do is through divine intervention and great mentorship. God reversed what I was meant to do into what I’m doing now.
4. What inspired your book, Divine Favour?
The book was a collection of my life experiences, my death-to-life experience in University (Federal University of Technology, Akure). In my state of unconsciousness, I had an encounter in the spirit. I was in a pit, in a tunnel for several hours. Then I saw a light approaching.
As it came closer, that was when I realized I was being pulled into the pit by these silent, ugly creatures. As the light came closer, they panicked. There was a tug of war but the light eventually pulled me out. The light was in the form of a man. I couldn’t look too long at the light as it was too bright for me. The light then guided me (it didn’t even speak to me) out of the tunnel and that was how I came back into my body and I was pronounced dead for ten minutes. That was part of the experiences I shared in the book, Divine Favour. I felt that there are a lot of books out there that celebrate the positives without sharing the negatives and when you read the Bible, you see that the Bible didn’t hide the fact that Noah was a drunkard, David was an adulterer, that Jesus was depressed when he was in the garden of Gethsemane. So we read those experiences and they encourage us that while it’s not okay to be depressed, you should know that even Christ was once depressed, and there was a way he got over it, that is by praying and not keeping to himself. If the Bible was quiet about that, we’ll realize that we’ll be struggling in our Christian walk. We’re not struggling today because we’ve learned from the experience of those before us.
Divine Favour was published back in 2006 and over the years, it has sold hundreds of thousands of copies, and blessed lots of lives. People got encouraged by the book and they’re even requesting a second volume. While so much is going on at the moment with the TV, radio and PR, I’ll soon find the time to start writing again (I’ve missed it).
5. How did you come into the music scene?
Being in PR, I’ve always been in the back scenes encouraging people who do music, giving them platforms for expression and helping them with branding. But I didn’t know that I could actually do music. Back in University, I was in a group called Second to None. We mimed and danced at different campus programs but it was never actual singing or rapping. So I never thought that I could become a music artiste. Today, I’ve released a number of singles, and I’m currently working on my debut album. Doors are opening. I’ve been on tour to the US, the UK and there’s more to come.
I really thank God that I got into the music scene but again it was my mentor that God used to encourage me. I remember when I did the first song, he said that I even surprised him. He always said, “In life you have to discover yourself.” Just as a miner digs the ground for minerals and treasures, you have to do the same to yourself as well. There’s a lot that God has deposited in everyone which we all have to discover. And yeah, so many lives have been touched, even beyond the awards. I can’t wait to release my debut album which is titled, “EMUJOW”.
6. What was it like producing Emujow?
It was quite interesting. It was my first single and it was produced by a producer here in England. The experience was real because in the studio I was with Femi Best Touch. I did my part first, before Dunamis Reigns and Shady Blue did theirs. I remember the producer asking me for the hook of the song and I thought he was referring to the hook on the wall for hanging coats (laughs). I didn’t realize he was referring to the chorus of the song. And funnily, I didn’t have a chorus or know how to rap on a beat. He was the one who taught me (I could write but I didn’t know how to rap). And I remember when Dunamis came into the studio and listened to it, he was like, “are you sure you haven’t done this before?”
And that’s again, the grace of God, God impacting in you the spirit of excellence. It was quite an experience working with other top artistes. Dunamis was a top rapper/artiste in Jamaica, and Shady Blue a top artiste in the UK. I learned quite a lot about delivery and music production from them. For instance, when you’re producing the audio of a song, you need do so in such a way that making a music video would go well with it. The experience was beautiful. And that was the foundation of my being an artiste.
7. Your songs center majorly around the Rap and Dance music genres. Does this say something about your personality?
Definitely. Because before leaving England for Nigeria, I got to embrace Juju and Fuji music. King Sunny Ade was a big influence on my music as well as Barrister Kollington, even Shina Peters and Fela as well. These musicians with their fast-paced music were able to entertain and still pass their messages across. People go through a lot daily so getting them to dance and have fun with your music is therapeutic, and of course, you want them to also get your lyrics and message. Balance is important, and I saw how these legends did that perfectly. Coming to the UK and listening to the artistes trending here at the time and blending that with what I was hearing in Africa, Nigeria, helped to subconsciously carve a niche for me in music. Even my mentor has a solid background in music, so he influenced my sound as well. Personally, I have ministering about God and His word as my core, and I built these around my music.
8. Should we expect something different in the near future?
Oh, of course. I don’t like to be put in a box so I’m always working on new stuff. With the album that is coming out, I added a bit more of UK pop fusion to my music. I also did some collaborations that is different from my usual stuff. I believe in being well grounded and strategic in what you do, not in trying to prove anything to anyone. Take your time, explore and excel in it then move to the next level. So yes, by God’s grace, expect something new in the near future. Especially from the album, EMUJOW.
9. A look at your works shows how you infuse your faith and love for God into them. Can you tell us more about that?
I won’t be here to tell the story if God had not saved me, restored me to life. A lot of people didn’t have that chance. I strongly feel that God gave me a second (even third or fourth) shot, in spite of my errors, because He loves me. I want to use this medium to tell anyone reading this that God loves you. It’s my calling to tell people about my faith with whatever medium I’m given.
10. Would you like to describe your salvation experience?
It was amazing. It happened back in 1986 in my secondary school, Oyemekun Grammar School in Akure. We went to an Anglican Church called St. Andrews where we learned about Jesus Christ and the Bible. I remember that then I had a vision which I can never forget. I was just eleven years old and I had a vision about rapture. In the vision, I was raptured and I was made to see the pandemonium all around the world. Planes were crashing, there were car accidents in a lot of regions and I was in the cloud watching when I woke up.That was my first experience, and it stayed with me for several days afterwards. But obviously after some time, I got distracted. I was in the choir and engaged in church activities but I didn’t really have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Not until 1989 when I finished my secondary School, I was invited to a camp program at Deeper Life Bible Church. And that was how I gave my life to Christ. I learned to read the Bible, evangelize and win souls, and I did all that till I got into University and backslid. Looking back now, I realize that I didn’t have enough “covering”. You need a covering to as a child of God. Jesus was a covering for the disciples; Elijah was a covering for Elisha. Moses was a covering for Joshua, so when Joshua gets confused about anything, for instance, he goes back to Moses and seeks clarity. You need that covering in your life so that when the seasons of dryness come in one’s spiritual life, you could be guided through that. Back then, I didn’t have that so when I got into University, I backslid and I was just doing my own thing. That was a whole wilderness experience for me, from when I went to University in 1991 to 1999. But then I got to learn of my mentor’s ministry — Jesus Dominion International — and that was how through his teachings I understood that having Jesus is not a big thing. You don’t put in any effort, you just agree that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Saviour and give your life over to him. He owns your life already but you just need to hand it over to him and let him do the rest. And then afterwards, through teachings and experience, you grow.
And then just as you pay a VAT when you buy an item, you start to pay the taxes in your spiritual life. So the taxes could be you that have to fast, give, pray, evangelize and speak about Jesus. And when you go through the troubled times, you do so knowing that God is always going to be there, as Jesus promised. So, that my experience and it was then that I had the foundational aspect of the salvation that I needed. So I came to know that instead of just backsliding, when you’re going through a tough time, stay hanging in there. And I learned that whatever you do, just add Jesus in there. So now when I’m speaking of my achievements, I could just easily say, “oh yeah, my music.. I was so skillful, I wrote this and I did that..” But for all my responses, I’m adding Jesus to it. That’s how you “roll” in the salvation of God —you add Jesus to whatever you do and he will now put what the Yorubas call “Alubarika”, that is, favour, and you’ll blossom.
My salvation experience was so grand. Once, I was pronounced dead, and Jesus brought me back to life. You’ll expect that after that experience I’ll just roll with Jesus outrightly but then I didn’t know how to withstand the day to day requirements of being a Christian, a follower of Christ. Not until I met my mentor, Rev. Tim Omotoso and yes, since then it’s been from one level of bliss and growth to another. It’s not all easy (I do have my moments) and I’m still not perfect. I’m a work in progress but I can’t say for a second that Jesus left me alone. He’s always been with me and that’s what you gain with having your salvation rooted in Christ. It’s like taking insurance. Any item you buy, as beautiful as it is: a phone, a recorder or mixer, after two years it could spoil or have a fault. But once it’s insured, you just go to the insurer and either get your money back or get a new one. That’s what Jesus Christ does, he guarantees your past, present and future as well.
11. What are you currently working on?
I’m working on rebranding the shows that I do. I do a number of shows but the main ones are Praise Party by Shoggy Tosh, Be Inspired with Shoggy Tosh and DJ Jand. Praise Party with Shoggy Tosh began about three years ago, and it is just an afrobeat show where we have devotionals and put up gospel Afrobeat or afro-infused music from all over the world. We do that weekly and we have a lot of partners. We’re currently on fifteen platforms in eight countries by God’s special grace. Be Inspired with Shoggy Tosh started four years ago. On the show we basically play music from any genre, share my experiences with the audience and interview artistes, who also share their experience with the audience as well. We have a top ten music chart that we put out as well and that’s what we do basically, with regards to the projects I’m working on. It’s a lot of work because it’s a weekly thing and we have to record, edit, produce, research. I have a team that helps me as well. Shout-out to DJ Jand who’s the station manager of SWOT fm, the station that I work for. Everything I know in radio he had taught me. Shout-out to the J4C team as well who do the productions; I’ve learned a lot on producing from as well. I also learnt a lot on producing and editing in the ministry of my mentor, Rev Omotoso, that is, Jesus Dominion International, as I’m in the audio department for the year.
We’ve also been planning to do a fashion flash festival where we’ll create awareness and raise funds for the homeless, orphans, fatherless, and the needy. My new clothing line and album will be launched during the festival as well. Plans have however been on hold due to the pandemic — we didn’t want to have a digital experience but a live one and so when it’s completely safe to do that we would announce a date. The festival is going to be a day of fashion, comedy and music. And as we’ve always believed in doing things well, we’re taking our time so things can be done well.
12. When Shoggy Tosh isn’t doing media work or music, what does he do?
I do love traveling and watching movies. I also love watching documentaries especially animal documentaries. I believe that you can be educated on anything through documentaries. I love watching animal documentaries, learning about animals. That’s one of the ways one can really appreciate God and learn a lot about Him.
At times when I’m tired and I remember things I’ve seen in time past like the way the ants walk, how they work in unison, how they work during the summer and then enjoy the fruits of their labor in the winter, I’m encouraged me. There’s also a lot that one can learn from that and bring into PR, music or radio.
I love relaxing. People always ask me how I manage to do so many things. It’s a lot but then I work hard and then I rest hard. Whatever I do, like even now that I’m doing this interview, I suspend everything around me and putting everything to it. When I finish, I focus on what is next and then when it’s time to rest, I rest hard. When it’s time to jog, I jog hard. When it’s time to eat, I eat hard. When it’s time to travel I travel hard. That’s my mantra, basically. But I love to relax. I’m an indoor person so I love to just chill. I’m also a family man, and because of the other things that do take me away from them a lot, on I make sure to spend time with family. But mainly, I just chill. Recharge my batteries. When it’s time to rest, rest. When it’s time to switch of the phone, switch it off. And just chill. I like football so I do watch a lot of football games. I also do football analysis: premierships, la Liga, the bundesliga. I love lawn tennis and athletics as well.
13. Any words of advice for readers out there?
Get it locked with Jesus Christ, man. I’m not talking about religion, I’m talking about a way of life. People speak about Christianity as a religion but actually, it’s a way to live. Jesus is the best, he’s better than the slice bread that’s the best thing that’s said to have happened to human beings (laughs). But Jesus Christ is even better. I’ll advise you to hold on, be insured with Jesus Christ. He’s got your back. All that I’ve been through in life (I’m still a young man but I’ve been through a lot, all in all), I’ve seen that God has indeed blessed me and he has really helped me and stood up for me. I’ve encountered so many experiences but I just come through because of the grace and mercy of God. I remember when I was quite young, at secondary school, a school called Keke High School in Ifako, Agege. There was a heavy rain storm the night before and there was this transformer very close to Pen Cinema, on the express road that links Ifako to Agege and branches off to the Agege stadium. There was a transformer there and the heavy cables fell down due to the heavy downpour — you could even hear the buzzing sound of electricity — and it was in a pool of water, but that was my quickest route home so I saw myself through that place. I just managed to step by the side of the pool and I passed through. Some hours afterwards, a junior from my same school passed through that place. He was trying to do the same thing that I did. As he sidestepped the pool, he fell into the water and was electrocuted. God saved me. Not that I earned it. It was just favour and that’s why I’m still here today to even do this interview and for you to be able to read this interview. So that’s why I recommend Jesus Christ, if you have him, you can never go wrong. Truly things would be tough, the depressing times will come — the times when you can’t pay your bills, the times when you lose a close one — but you’ll have that assurance, the enablement to get through to the next stage.
So my advice is: don’t give up, keep it locked with Jesus Christ. And go for it, if you have a vision or a dream. Don’t be that person that in another twenty years, you’ll say, “I used to..I could have..I would have but.. ” Go for it! Even if it doesn’t work out at least you’d know you tried. And you’ll never know if you don’t go for it the wonderful future ahead of you. I never imagined those days that today a wonderful platform like The Vine magazine would reach out to me and ask me to share my experience with readers. But it’s just amazing that once you get into it, little by little you’ll grow and become a celebrity in your own right. So keep it locked with Jesus Christ.
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