Multi-talented singer songwriter Blessing Offor is set to release his debut EP, Brighter Days on February 25 via Chris Tomlin’s Bowyer & Bow imprint in partnership with Universal/Capitol Christian Music Group. Filled with thought-provoking lyrics alongside Blessing’s powerful voice and expert musicianship, Brighter Days is full of infectious optimism that jumps right out of the speaker. Blessing’s ability to bring emotion to life is apparent, and each song acts as a window into Blessing’s extraordinary make-up.
The youngest of six siblings, the Nigerian-born singer/songwriter immigrated to the United States with his uncle at the age of six. Born blind in one eye, Blessing’s parents sent him to the United States in an effort to restore his vision, though unfortunately, he lost his complete eyesight by age 10. Gravitating towards the piano before losing his vision, Blessing’s school teachers helped nurture his talent, and he soon found himself at Belmont University honing his craft in Music City. Hints of pop, Motown, and soul flourish across Blessing’s music as he sings of optimism, hope, and finding silver linings in dark clouds. In this TCB Exclusive, Blessing talks about staying true to himself on this new EP, intentionally blending sonic elements and crossing genres with his tracks and the power of collaboration.
Congratulations on the upcoming release of your new music at the end of February! Can you talk about the EP and the inspiration behind it?
I love songs and I love songwriting. I am a Christian, and when I moved to Nashville, I realized there is a bifurcated concept for people. Is he a worship leader or more mainstream? What is Blessing? And that’s not how it works in my brain – I just write songs. I met up with Capitol and Chris [Tomlin] and shared that I was happy to be anywhere where I could be myself, which is a person who loves songs and who writes songs about the full self. Blessing is a Christian and a guy who experiences life, so I like writing songs that encompass my full person.
For you, what is the unifying theme that ties the tracks into a project? Did this evolve as you created, or was it part of the original vision?
It’s a 6 track EP. It all started with “Tin Roof,” which caught the ears it needed to catch. And that song is even a tricky song because I play it at shows that are not at churches. I don’t normally think of my songs as for church or not – they are just songs. So there are people who hear “Tin Roof” and have no spiritual connection and understand the sentiment and people who immediately connect with it on a spiritual level. Both are fine with me, but I just want people to feel. I want to write songs that allow people to imagine themselves in that song wherever they are. I think all the songs on that EP stay true to that.
Is there a track, or lyric, on the EP that means something different to you now than when you first wrote it?
There is a song called “Believe”. The lyrics go ‘what if you know something I don’t / what if you will something I won’t / if you don’t give me what I want, but give me what I need / is that enough to believe’. When you’re writing a song and need something to channel you from verse to chorus, you are very methodical. After I looked back at the lyric, I realized I was accidentally really profound. The creative flow space that lets you do the thing, and then after you look back on it and realize it was a gift. In hindsight, the lyrics hit you differently when you finish the writing process and get to listen to it as a listener and performer.
How will you define success for this collection?
We made this EP as an intro to Blessing Offor. Here is Blessing – the piano player, singer, songwriter. Here are a batch of songs that cover all the aspects of him – the spiritualist and believer, the dreamer, the optimist. Success for me is that the listener wants more after the six tracks.
Who, or what, is currently providing inspiration for you, either musically or spiritually?
I lived in New York for a time, so I’m a huge Tim Keller fan. Just to watch someone live out what he preaches is very inspirational. On a deep level, I’m just a nerd about that guy. I’ve got all his books. Musically, I’m a huge Spotify New Music Friday fan. I love to know that what I’m making is as competitive with pop music as I would want it to be. I like to study the marketplace and make sure we are doing what fits in that space, regardless of what CCM is or isn’t doing.
Since this EP is an introduction to Blessing, what are you trying to share and how does that come across in these tracks?
I always hesitate when people tell me how much I know and have been through. I don’t know that wisdom is something I give myself credit for, but I know that there is shallow happiness and deep joy. I am in deep joy, which doesn’t always mean that things are awesome and peachy keen, but it does mean that underneath whatever is happening there is a calmness. So if someone can listen to the EP and feel the calmness of deep joy, then I’m happy about that.
With wanting to focus on music as a whole and having fewer divisions in genres and lanes, I’m curious how you see collaborations as people coming together to enhance music.
Collaborations are some of my favorite things. I grew up in Connecticut. I had the choice of going to Berklee College of Music or Belmont. I chose Belmont because it was further away from where I grew up and I couldn’t go home easily. Granted I only stayed a bit, but then I came to Nashville because no one knew me here and I wanted something different. I feel like directionally I’ve always been in pursuit of something different because all of the people I’ve looked up to have had the ability to transcend and blend genres – live in the space where it’s okay to be yourself. Lionel Ritchie made a country record. Bob Dylan made a country record. There is such a thin line when you start talking about genres and getting to work with Chris [Tomlin], writing a song that Tyler Hubbard sang on, and writing songs with Natalie Hemby – living in this country space and being embraced by it – is literally exactly what I was looking for. I could have gone to Los Angeles or New York, and there would have been a lot of me in both places, but I wanted to be somewhere that forced me to learn new things and where I could present something to the community that was a little different. Collaboration is the whole point. Blending and cross-pollinating is what I love.
What are you most expectant for in 2022?
I want to acknowledge the word ‘expectant’ – that is such a great word. The EP and other work coming up is really exciting. But more than anything, I can’t wait to be on the road again. I am a 7 [Enneagram], so I thrive on people. We were in Texas a few weeks ago, and there is a Miami and Los Angeles trip coming up, so I keep telling my team that the more they can put me on the road, the happier I will be.