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Muyiwa Olarewaju (b. 1970) is a British gospel singer-songwriter and radio host of Nigerian ancestry. He is known for blending traditional gospel music with elements of musical styles hailing from parts of Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia, as well as R&B, soul and pop.
He is the leader of the musical collective Riversongz, the first gospel act to sell out the arena Indigo at the O2 in London. Olarewaju and the Riversongz have also performed at some of the largest gospel music events in the world, including The Experience where they sang in front of a 500,000 strong audience. In 2009, Riversongz became the first act from outside North America to sing at the annual Celebration of Gospel show on the BET channel in the United States.
As a part of Riversongz, Olarewaju has toured with Stevie Wonder. Individually, he has collaborated with a wide range of artists, including Amy Winehouse and Pixie Lot.
Examples of awards bestoved upon Olarewaju
Muyiwa was born in London, UK, but spent his first few years in Nigeria. His father is a headmaster and his mother a radio broadcaster. Muyiwa’s earliest musical memories are of church music and Kate Bush.
When he was 9 years old he was sent back to London with his brothers and sisters so the children could receive a British education. They were housed by a series of family members and friends of their parents. In later interviews, Muyiwa has described this as a very difficult time of this life, where he lacked parental guidance and suffered poor treatment from people who saw the children as a burden.
Muyiwa turned to the church for support and relief from the chaos of home life, and at church, he was also introduced to gospel music. Prior to that, all the church music he knew was hymns.
During a period where his life circumstances had improved and he was living with his older sister in a council flat, he taught himself to play the piano.
Muyiwa left Brixton’s Archbishop Tennyson School in 1988, and proceeded to take a BTEC National Diploma in Business and Finance – inspired by marketing executives attending his church. This was followed by a HND in Business Studies from East London University and a Music Degree from Westminister University.
Muyiwa is the leader of the musical collective Roversongz and has toured extensively with them across Europe and North America. They are especially popular in the UK, where they have sold out venues such as Indigo at O2, Ocean Hackney and The Apollo.
- Restoration (2002)
Muyiwa & Riversongz’s debut album restoration was recorded in 2002 before a live audience in London, England. It featured an all-star band.
- Declaring His Power (2005)
This album was recorded live in Andfield at the Liverpool Football Grounds and at the Liverpool Lighthouse, the UK’s first dedicated centre for Urban Gospel arts.
- Declaring His Love (2008)
This album was recorded Live in London in 2007 at the Ocean Hackney.
It reached spot No. 1 on the HMV Jazz & Blues Chart.
- Declaring His Name All Around the World (2011)
This is the first studio album from Muyiwa & Riversongz and it features guest artists from many different parts of the world, such as China, India and the United States.
It reached spot No. 5 on Amazon’s World Music Chart.
- Muyiwa & Riversongz: Live at the Apollo (2012)
This album was recorded live at the Apollo in London.