Winning souls for Christ can be done in several ways. We are not limited to doing it the traditional way, which is inviting people to church to hear the message. Instead, music is still the most effective way to get all and any messages across to the masses. And Sanni is doing just that.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based Christian artist comes with a Neo-Soul/R&B touch. Originally from the Bronx, New York, Sanni has been creating music for a several years and has spent time writing and exploring how his faith and everyday circumstances influence his artistry.

Having released singles, “Far Away,” “I Want More,” and “Sci-Fi” that reached thousands of streams on iTunes and receiving radio play in London and Nigeria, can only mean God is continuously planting seeds through his music.

With musical influences from The Notorious B.I.G., Lauryn Hill, J. Cole, KB, and countless others, he creates relatable music that depicts his walk with God, through transparency and discusses the pitfalls that may try to ensnare him along the way. His self-entitled album, “Sanni.” is out now and available on all platforms.

I recently interviewed Mr. Sanni for Purposely Awakened where he chatted more on the Gospel, his inspirations and goals for 2020.

What inspired you to get into music? When did you realize that you wanted to get into as a career?

I was late in high school when I thought about taking music seriously. I began my musical journey into the industry straight out of high school at the age 18. I was signed to a record label known as “I REP JC RECORDS”, and within the last year became an independent artist. 

Are you currently doing music full time or do you/ have you worked any other full time jobs while in pursuit of your music career? 

I live, eat, and breathe music, but in this society we have to have money to function, so I do have a job.

You recently, released you self-titled album. Can you elaborate on that? What can listeners expect?

Sanni gives listeners a glimpse of my testimony from my point of view. My musical palate is based around rap, R&B/Soul, and most of all Christ. My favorite track on the album is “Far Away.” “Far Away” describes a feeling we all can relate to. In this case, I felt like I wasn’t close to God because of my own selfish desires. I remember staying up all night waiting for God to give me this song. I knew it was God because I didn’t write a single lyric, the words were already in my heart. “Far Away” began transforming my life because of my transparency about my flesh, and my heart to live for God. 

The second verse says, “My mind tells me yes, my heart tells me no”. I want everyone to know, what’s in our hearts outflows through our mind and our actions. The Bible reminds us to “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts, see if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”, Psalms 139:23-24. We have to intentionally choose to pursue the things of God. We may feel “Far Away” but he’s always near waiting for us.

Where do you see yourself within the next year to two years?

Growing as an artist and being able sustain myself through music, without a job.

There’s always seem to be a debate within the church and among some Christians about the blending of “secular” music with Christian music. We think it’s a good move and we love what Lecrae and others are doing. In your opinion, what your thoughts on the ones who believe that Christian artists should stick to a “Christian/Gospel” sound, especially being that you have a soulful/R&B blend in your music?

If we’re talking content, that’s one thing, but most of the time I hear that debate, it isn’t substantiated with facts. A lot of it is based on opinions based on the traditional sound of Gospel music. Being a Christian is a lifestyle. Because my lifestyle represents having a relationship with Christ, it transcends through my music as well. My goal is to utilize my gifts to impact the youth, this generation, and non-believers with edification, light, and hope through music. Creating music has always been my passion, but now my music has substance. 

Who would you like to work with?

Aaron Cole, Nobigdeal, 1K Phew, Lecrae, KB, Andy Mineo, Gawvi, and Whatuprg. I’m I also love working with talented local artist in Fort Worth, so we will see what the future holds.

What have been some pros and cons of being an independent artist and being in the music industry?

Pros: After doing a lot of research, being in the music industry rewards hustlers. If you approach it with that mentality, it will pay dividends on the backend. That’s yours. You don’t have to give the majority of that to the industry. You get to share that with your team and the people that were there with you throughout the process. I am grateful to be in the position to have that.

Cons: As an independent artist, it feels like all forces are against me because my team and I are doing everything ourselves. I understand why many artist end up signing to a label. Figuring out how to gain exposure, promote, funds, market, and social media have all been a challenge. We overcome all obstacles because God is our strength. I want to encourage those who are facing a hard time to never quit and pray through the process.

What advice do you have for other rising Christian artists, producers and/or managers?

This journey hasn’t been a smooth one, but it is one that is definitely worth it. One of the main struggles that I have been dealing with is learning the ins and outs of the industry as an independent artist, especially when it comes to promotions and marketing. Also, you have to understand that you won’t finish with those that you start with, and that’s okay. You will definitely be placed in a position to practice what you preach and held to a higher standard because of that.  

What is one unknown fact that most probably do not know about you and that they cannot find on your social media accounts?

In addition to being an artist, I am excited to launch a brand called #ONLYBYGRACE.

We’ve been working hard to develop a brand that encourages a movement of forgiveness, a lifestyle of granting grace, and a representation of Gods mercy.

Ephesians 2:8 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—”. Living by grace is the understanding of the price Jesus paid for our sins. We live in a generation where we are so consumed with ourselves and grace is taken for granted. Living by grace doesn’t mean to take advantage of sins but to recognize Gods mercy because we don’t deserve it.

Grace centers on forgiveness, love, joy, peace, repentance, etc. We believe if we extend the gift of grace, we can accomplish the hardest things in human nature through Christ.

Our goal is to unite people to truly understand how to live out grace by being involved in a community, helping others, and loving others despite what we think they deserve. Together, we are here ONLY BY GRACE.

Listen to “Far Away” Below

Follow Sanni and Only By Grace

Website | Instagram | YouTube | Spotify

Book Sanni or OnlyByGrace

Email | Phone

Naomi K. Bonman

Naomi K. Bonman is the founder and editorial director of Purposely Awakened, a digital media agency for millennial activist and change agents of color. A digital media maven at heart, Naomi is also a journalist, screenwriter and digital content creator. Originally from Southern California, Naomi received her B.A. in Mass Media Arts with a concentration in Journalism from Clark Atlanta University and her Masters of Public Administration from Keller School of Management of DeVry University.

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