Sonny Okosun

Sonny Okosun Biography

Born: 1st January 1947 Enugu, in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria

Died: 24th May 2008 Washington DC, USA

Nigerian singer, guitarist and composer. A self-taught guitar player, in 1964, at the age of 17, Sonny formed the Postmen, a covers band also known as the "Local Beatles". He visited London with a theatre group for the 1965 1st Commonwealth Arts Festival, but in 1967 the Biafran war prompted both the dissolution of the Postmen and a move by Okosun and his family to Lagos. There, he worked briefly in television before moving to Benin, where in 1969 he joined Victor Uwaifo's Melody Maestros as a second guitarist.

He formed his first professional band in 1971 called Paperback Ltd., which he disbanded in 1974 and went on to form Ozziddi in 1976. Widely popular in the West African region during the late 1970's and early 1980's, he enjoyed some international attention, most notably for his cooperation with Eddy Grant in several releases. Of these, the album "Fire In Soweto" with its hit title tune was to enjoy the largest success.

By the late Eighties, Okosun's star was fading, but he reinvented himself as "Evangelist Sonny Okosuns" and with the 1994 comeback album "Songs of Praise", which sold nearly a million copies, rode a wave of Christian evangelism in Nigeria to become that country's foremost gospel musician. In 1998, he founded the House of Prayer Ministry, converting part of his expansive building to a church.

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