In recent times, Gospel artistes and churches have been engaged in a tussle over how they are treated.
While the artistes say the churches don’t treat them well, that is they don’t pay for their services, they are chastised by the churches which also claim that the musicians are rendering service to God and must do it for free.
However, veteran Gospel musician, Helena Rhabbles, who has been in the industry for almost three decades, is appealing to churches to adjust to the new way of doing things.
“A lot of things have changed; previously we didn’t see the need to have managers among other things. We did everything for the love of the job; there were times you would perform and be told ‘see you later’ but nothing happened and today we are here.”
“I am certain that our sons and daughters today wouldn’t want to suffer like we are doing now so they have measures such as contacts, payment (at least half) before performing etc. The church should be able to take care of the needs of its own too.”
“I am not saying the industry should be all about money but tangible honorariums will not be bad. Look at me, I have paid my dues so if you want me to come and perform for you in your church in Kumasi, you should be able to get me a flight, a decent place to lodge and something to take home. It is not out of place if I ask for these things,” she told Graphic Showbiz recently.
She also urged churches to do more for their musicians. “Sometimes you go to a church to launch an album and it is so sad, but a secular artiste will use the same studio and sound as I did, launch his album and it will be great. Why should that be so?
“I think it is time the church took a second look at these things. They should adjust, make provisions; if within the year, you know you will invite someone to your church to minister, just make provision for that person.”
“Now you need to be active on social media, get your songs online, etc. If you do not know how to do it, you have to get someone to sort you out and all, and you need funds to do all these things.”
Helena Rhabbles added that churches’ failure to allow Gospel musicians to benefit from their investment is the reason most of them compete with secular artistes for attention.
“When these things happen, you have the Gospel artiste competing with the secular artiste for attention. The fact that we did not have it like that during our active years in music doesn’t mean it should remain like that forever,” she explained.
Helena Rhabbles joined the music industry professionally in the 90s with her maiden album titled Helena Rhabbles Volume 1. Some of her popular songs are Ye Wo Oman, So So Wonders, Hye Hye Baba and Kokromotsi.
However, it’s been years since Gospel music lovers heard from her and the 59-year-old trained teacher told Graphic Showbiz that “though I have relocated to the United States, I do come to Ghana from time to time and I have something coming up in terms of music.”
On what she wants to be remembered for, Helena Rhabbles noted that “I want to be remembered for my ministry and that is why I have taken it upon myself to raise daughters. I want to raise strong women of God, who will love God and follow Him.
“I also want to use this opportunity to thank Genet Services, organisers of Women In Worship at which I performed last year. In fact, they treated us really well during that event. We got a lot of things from sponsors and I am grateful to them. I don’t take any platform for granted.”