Reach Records' first female hip-hop artist and rapper Wande officially made her label debut with the release of her highly-anticipated album, Exit, and says the timing of her release aligning with a national lockdown is God’s timing.
Wande, who's of Nigeria descent, was born to a Christian mother and Muslim father. She grew up in Austin, Texas, and has been working behind the scenes for Lecrae's Atlanta-based Christian label for some time. She's now introducing her rapping talents to the world with her EP, Exit. Her singles “Happy” and “Be The Light'' are already generating buzz with fans and have been added to Hot AC and CHR Radio formats.
Wande was dubbed the top Christian hip-hop rapper to know in 2019 by USA Today, and has already had music placements on ESPN and BET.
In a previous interview with The Christian Post, the young rapper described herself as a “multifaceted" and "energetic" artist who likes to “have fun.” Like everyone else at the label, the new signee is a devoted Christian and unashamedly shares her faith.
The following is an edited transcript of Wande’s interview with The Christian Post where she discusses her new EP, her religious background, and how she’s navigating life as people worldwide make it through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Christian Post: What’s behind the title “EXIT” for your first release on Reach Records?
Wande: My project is titled "Exit" because ironically, in this season, God taught me that every exit is an entrance. In life we have seasons and you must exit this current season in order to move on to the next phase of who God is calling you to be.
Exit fear, exit the infancy stage of your walk with God. Being aware of that opens your eyes to actively being present and learning the lessons that God is trying to teach you in this current season so you’ll be prepared for the next. This album walks through every lesson I learned before each exit point in my journey of growth with God.
CP: How was it for you coming to your own faith in Jesus in a family where your parents believed different things?
Wande: The first few years of when I was saved it was very difficult and there was a lot of tension in our home.
I had to wake up at 5 a.m. to read my Bible in secret, go to work with my mom every other Sunday so my uncle could take me to church, and even had to keep my baptism a secret with only my mom knowing.
Throughout my life, however, God has been faithful, so it left my family to have no choice but to respect the God I serve and know He’s powerful.
CP: How are you managing life during the lockdown due to the novel coronavirus outbreak?
Wande: I am processing everything through the lens of the word of God. Fear and anxiety are natural things that might arrive in times like these. But as I remember God’s word and how He tells me not to fear and reminds me He’s my provider, I am able to move forward in peace.
CP: How has releasing an album during a pandemic impacted your music release?
Wande: I think releasing during a pandemic definitely affected things post-release, such as a release party and a celebration. However, it also alternatively put many people in a mindset that is searching for hope. With my music being filled with encouragement and the word of God, it definitely made it very timely.
It’s been great to see the response of the album. Many people have loved it and it debuted as No. 5 on iTunes Hip Hop albums chart.
CP: What do you think is the spiritual message behind a worldwide pandemic?
Wande: I think a spiritual message in a worldwide pandemic is that we are not in control. Many times as we grow and accomplish things we fall into the illusion that we were the ones that made these things happen. A worldwide pandemic puts us back into the mindset that we truly need God and He’s the only one who never changes.
CP: What's it like being the first female artist at Reach Records?
Wande: It’s an awesome experience and I’m grateful that God’s given me the grace to fulfill this role. It’s been great to hear feedback from many women feeling like I have inspired them to pursue life with God and follow their dreams. I am also grateful that I’m able to speak on certain topics that affect women. Overall, I’ve been intentional on working with many talented women as well and bringing more opportunities for them into our space.
CP: You are so creative and vibrant, where do you draw your inspiration from?
Wande: Ultimately, I derive my inspiration from God. He truly made me a creative person and He’s the ultimate example of creativity. I also surround myself with people who are like-minded, so we’re always having conversations on how to grow and our eyes are catching things that bring us new ideas. It flows naturally.
CP: How would you like to influence this generation?
Wande: I would like to influence this generation to be on fire for God and to live out the purpose He’s called them to do.
I’m grateful for God choosing me to do this career and I want to show the world what can happen when you seek God and live a life of excellence. I want to be unashamed and bring the Gospel into untraditional spaces. This has started with ESPN playing "Exit" almost every day on various shows. People get to hear the glory of God proclaimed in a nontraditional setting.