TobyMac Teams Up With Blessing Offor for Ultimate Summer Single, “The Goodness”
By Lindsay Williams
Sometimes all it takes is five minutes with someone to know they’re special. With his infectious joy that encourages a sense of contentment, thought provoking lyrics that elicit a second listen, and an inviting voice that draws you in like a familiar friend, Blessing Offor proves that by simply by being who he is, he in indeed special. As the second artist signed to Chris Tomlin’s Bowyer & Bow imprint, in partnership with Universal/Capitol Christian Music Group, Blessing is poised to share his thoughtfully crafted pop instincts and unique perspective with the world.
Blessing’s writing resume reads like that of a veteran. His co-writing credits include Tomlin, Ed Cash, Natalie Hemby, Dallas Davidson, Tyler Hubbard (Florida Georgia Line), Breland, Trevor Rosen (Old Dominion), Lucie Silvas, Corey Crowder and Sarah Buxton, among others. He’s also been featured on recent projects from both Tomlin and Lee Brice.
“I’m getting to work with people that make me a better writer and artist,” Blessing reflects. “I love cross-pollinating. I think some of the greatest fun in all of this is to sit in someone else’s world. I’m always honored when somebody wants to collaborate.”
The youngest of six siblings, the Nigerian-born singer/songwriter immigrated to the United States with his uncle at the age of six. Born with glaucoma in his left eye, Blessing’s parents selflessly sent their son to America in the hopes that he would be able to receive optimal medical care. Several years later, a powerful spray from a water gun damaged his retina, removing the sight in his right eye, as well, yet the disability has yet to deter him. Blessing doesn’t believe his blindness is a hindrance; rather, it’s a gift that affords him a heightened sense of attunement to the world around him. He also believes his Nigerian blood and immigrant mentality push him to work harder than any of his peers.
Growing up in Connecticut on a steady diet of pop, Motown and jazz, Blessing found himself spending time behind the piano at the age of 9. As a teenager, the budding musician soon discovered his talent for writing songs, and in turn, found something of a calling which took him to Belmont University in Nashville for a few semesters.
“I didn’t want to go somewhere where it would be easy to go home if I got too scared,” he admits. “I wanted to go somewhere that would be a flight away and make quitting hard to do.”
Though far from home, Blessing soon found that his pithy pop hooks were a square peg in a round hole in a Nashville that had yet to experience the musical diversity it holds in high regard today. So, Blessing packed his bags and headed for the Big Apple, where he spent the next five years cultivating his songwriting and musicianship before heading back to Music City in the summer of 2015.
“The five years I was gone, Nashville just musically progressed so much. Taylor Swift became this global superstar from Nashville, and Nashville’s entire definition was changing,” he says. “So the city had changed enough, the music industry had changed enough; and honestly, I knew I could do a lot of learning and working there, even if I was the guy doing ‘pop singer/songwriter’ music in a mainly country town. I was just going to embrace doing the different thing.”
Blessing’s been doing his own thing ever since. Spend five minutes talking to him, and you’ll immediately wish you had his perspective. There’s an intangible quality about him that’s contagious; a rare joy that only he seems to possess.
“As I got older, I started to realize that everybody’s dealing with something crippling. We’re all somehow falling short. If you could picture anybody you deal with being in an emotional or mental full body cast, you’d have a lot more grace for people,” he asserts. “I actually feel bad for people who have yet to discover what they’re struggling with because no one cuts them a break, and that’s really sad.”
When asked how he reconciles his blindness with his faith, he replies with a series of questions. “Is God only good when things are awesome? Because surely the answer can’t be ‘yes’ to that question. Why should we expect that nothing bad should ever happen to us? Am I the only one dealing with bad things?” he asks. “So that is the road map, so to speak, to kind of understand why it’s OK when bad things happen.”
His point of view is distinctive. His personality is joyful. His music, however, is far more difficult to classify, and perhaps that’s intentional. The through line is a powerful trifecta, though: warm, friendly vocals, piano-led melodies, and sincere lyrical depth.
“Honestly, one of my life goals is to have a No. 1 in every genre,” Blessing ambitiously remarks. “There was a point in my life when I realized that genre was more or less just about differences in vernacular and syntax more than anything. So a good country song, if you put some different instrumentation on it, is a good soul song. Once you kind of break down those walls in your head, all that matters is that the song is good. I think as soon as I came to that understanding, my goals and my definitions changed, and now I just want to write good songs.”
The singer had a hand in writing each of the selections found on his upcoming debut on Bowyer & Bow/Capitol Christian Music Group. The EP - produced by Hank Bentley (Crowder, Jeremy Camp), Ed Cash (We The Kingdom), and Sam Ellis (Ingrid Andress) - is slated to arrive in 2022.
For Blessing—regardless of whether he’s writing a song for himself or for another artist—his lyrical efforts are just as significant as his musical pursuits. He sees himself as equal parts artist and songwriter. “I’m an artist who very much takes the craft of songwriting seriously, and I’m eager to prove myself in both arenas,” he shares. “I just like to think of the music I’m creating as songs that sound like me. It’s pop in the sense that it’s catchy, but it’s also thoughtful. I hope that once you listen to it, you walk away with something to think about and a melody you’re singing.”
His melodies are intricately woven together by his unflinchingly positive outlook on life and his trust in God. And although he hasn’t seen his parents in-person in two decades, the moral barometer they instilled in their son early on remains an integral part of Blessing’s DNA and a cornerstone for his lyrics.
“If it’s not something I can play for my dad, I can’t do it,” Blessing claims. He’ll hopefully have the opportunity to play some of his songs for his father when he makes his way back to Nigeria later this year—the culmination of a personal documentary he’s working on. His long-awaited homecoming will return a son and brother home to the small village where his best qualities were born: resilience, positivity and faith.
“My faith and my life are not compartmentalized parts of me. It’s in everything, even when I write love songs,” Blessing insists. “If you’re OK with me being myself, then I’m in; because at the end of the day, I want to be myself.”