The name Wande means ‘(The child) sought me out’ in the Nigerian language Yoruba. And if we link this meaning to Reach Record’s latest signed artist, Wande, you will see how prophetic it is.
Since before her time at the University of Texas where she studied Journalism and Public Relations, Wande has been known on the Christian Hip Hop (CHH) scene for consistently making great music.
It was publically announced on Instagram that Wande had signed to CHH veteran, Lecrae’s label Reach Records on Thursday 11 April. She was brought on stage by the rest of the 116 Clique at a show that was part of the Unashamed Tour, where they prayed over her.
Fellow Reach Records artist KB said: “History. Reach Record signs first female act. Started to get a little choked up.”
Wande, who moved to America from Nigeria when she was a baby, is based in Atlanta where she has been working in Reach Records’ A&R (Artists and Repertoire) department since early 2018.
Being a female in a predominately male industry can be intimidating and this intimidation does not disappear just because it is in a Christian space. Wande never did shy away, but rather saw her position as “a way to empower more women to be bold and go after their goals”.
While it is amazing that Wande is the first female artist to be signed to the largest Christian music label in the world, we should not belittle or ignore the fact that there is still a way to go.
Female artists have been killing the game for a long time: producing catchy, enjoyable music with Spirit-filled lyrics, but are only now starting to receive the accolades they truly deserve.
Zimbabwean-born, New Zealand-bred CASS, is another artist who has exploded in recent years. Her latest album, Not For Sale, which Wande featured on, was #1 on the New Zealand R&B Charts. And she is independent and not signed to a label.
It is not and it has never been that female artists are not good enough, because women like Jackie Hill Perry, who juggles many hats (rapper, poet, speaker, author, podcast host, mother and wife) proves that.
I believe people are only now allowing themselves to fully enjoy rap music made by and featuring women because it has always been a genre primarily used for telling the stories of men.
This is evident by the fact that there are more well-known male rappers than female, even in the secular industry.
And that was okay at the time.
But now we need to realise that God gave us all stories and voices and wants for us to share them – male and female.
‘There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’ (Galatians 3:28).
This is a personal testimony to Wande’s hard work and belief in God that what He intended for her, will be hers.
It is also a celebration for the whole industry, not just because we are finally seeing evidence of the sinful nature of patriarchy being dismantled in Christian circles, but also because we are seeing everyone being pushed to work, create and excel in their crafts.
Let us not say we are waiting for exceptional female MCs, rappers and producers when there are hundreds of mediocre male musicians out here. No.
As children of God, we are ALL called to live life at a standard of excellence illustrated and personified by Jesus. This should pour out into our work and purpose – whatever we do, all to the glory of God.
I had the privilege of interviewing Wande a few months ago on the Protonix Music podcast (listen here). Speaking to her was amazing because she glows, literally reflecting the grace of God and a willingness to grow in her Christian walk, her calling and in her music.
I am excited to see how Wande’s signing starts a domino effect in the industry because maybe it will finally wake people up to the talent God is brewing in all of His children.
Wande’s latest song Blessed Up is out now on all platforms! Make sure to check it out.