Near-death experience opens eyes for Dallas-based artist and lays the groundwork for the new Gospel album ‘Speak Lord’
DALLAS, TX – God speaks to us in mysterious ways, and sometimes it takes a major, life-jarring incident to get our attention.
That was the case for Obinna Mbelu – AKA Obi1 – a Christian recording artist out of Dallas, Texas. He grew up in West Africa to parents who took him to church and encouraged him to participate in Sunday School choirs and musical skits. But as a teenager he began to rebel and found himself making increasingly poor decisions. And then at age 17 he narrowly escaped death and had the wake-up call of all wake-up calls.
“I was involved in a deadly bus accident that took the lives of several people on board, including a young man who was sitting next to me,” Obi1 said. “I barely escaped and was unharmed. It was a gruesome and scary incident that is etched in my memory. I believe God used this experience to get my attention, and I began to seek God and came to faith in Jesus Christ soon after.
”As Obi1 began to seek solace from God, he spent daily quiet times in prayer and would often write his prayers into a journal. Many times those prayers echoed the same sentiment over and over: Speak Lord. In many ways, God has answered Obi1’s prayers. He had the opportunity to attend college in the United States. He got connected with a church, met the woman who would become his wife and soon found himself raising children while leading worship on Sundays. And all the while he continued to write his prayers in his journal, always asking God to speak to him.
Now, over a decade after that accident in Nigeria, West Africa, Obi1 is ready to share those prayers and his unique style of music with the world through is debut album, “Speak Lord.” It’s a 10-song project that literally brings listeners into the soul-searching heart of Obi1 and his many prayers to God. It’s also a project that perfectly blends the influences of two continents while also inspiring others to lift up praise to God through Gospel worship.
“I have had the benefit of living on two different continents for extended periods of time, and this is noticeable from the range of music styles I incorporate in my work,” he said. “There are modern and contemporary Gospel influences, country, jazz, hip-hop, African, and even classical style arrangements fused at different points on the album. ‘Speak Lord’ is an elegant montage of styles fused into a deep worship sound. This album is truly my story, as I incorporate all of my cultural influences that have shaped my musical experience.”
The album isn’t set to drop until the Spring of 2019, but already two singles from the project have been released and are receiving some positive attention. “Lifted” is a slower-paced worship song that shares the personal testimony of Obi1’s experience with God and shares with the world how appreciative he is of God’s goodness in his life. Specifically the title refers to the many ways that God has lifted him from the bad places of his life and helped mold him into the man he is today. A music video for the single is available on Obi1’s YouTube channel.
The other single is “Glorious,” which is a more up-tempo praise song that talks about the glory and majesty of God and how awesome He is. It’s a song that fuses Gospel-style beats and vocals with intricate African-style beats for a unique, up-tempo, almost-dance-like groove that fans are already calling a “really, really good song.”
To listen to Obi1’s music, or to follow him on social media, please visit: