Biography of Minister Buchi Atuonwu Bwai

Born in Kaduna State, Nigeria on 24th June, 1963, Minister Buchi Atuonwu Bwai is a Nigerian gospel musician with an exceptional touch for gospel reggae music. He is a songwriter, producer and author. Popularly known as Buchi, he is a reggae gospel artist who started his music career as a disc jockey (DJ) in night clubs.

Minister Buchi hails from Ikwuano in Abia State, but growing up, he had his early education in Enugu and took him through Methodist College, Uzuakoli and Federal Government College, Enugu. In 1983, he gained admission to study English Language and Literary Studies at the University of Lagos. Thereafter, Minister Buchi obtained a BA in 1986, MA in 1988 and later the same year took up an appointment to lecture at the same institution alongside a PhD programme. Buchi remained at the Department of English until 1994 when he yielded to the higher calling to propagate the gospel of Jesus through writing and singing in the reggae genre.

Full Biography of Minister Buchi Atuonwu Bwai

While in the university, his casual involvement in black activism through reggae club became intense after listening to Oliver Thambo and the officials of ANC (African National Congress) from South Africa, during the club's exhibition on "Apartheid in South Africa" Again, having studied the black activist literature of Dennis Bruts, Professor Wole Soyinka, Muta Baruka and the likes, his preoccupation with reggae music as an "outcry against oppression" became deeper. Little wonder he also became involved in one of the campus confraternities which at the time prided themselves as anti oppression movements. This preoccupation with reggae music took a new turn when his friend Ras Kimono invited him to join the team of deejays on the Floating Bukka – a reggae nightclub situated on a docked vessel on the Marina , Lagos Island.

Foremost on the list of Buchi's strong musical influences are Eric Donaldson, Joseph Hills , Burning Spear and Frankie Paul. In 1992, Buchi gave his life to Jesus Christ in Christ Embassy Church and transmitted from the nightclub to the choir of that ministry, where he has remained till date. 1st album released 1999 (These Days) 2nd album released 2002 (So Beautiful) 3rd album released 2005 (What a Life) Married to Jane with 4 children Has ministered in church concerts including Reinhard Bonnke's stadium-packed outreaches. Multiple award winner including prestigious AMEN for Best in Gospel Category, 1999 Faith, POMP and TOMA Awards for Best Artiste, Reggae Artiste and Gospel album of the year variously.

Loveworld RecordsBIG TOONZ
Buchi is part of Christ Embassy's LoveWorld Music and Arts Ministry.

He has lived most of his life in Lagos.

Buchi started his education in Enugu in Methodist College, and Federal Government College. He gained admission to University of Lagos in 1983 to study English language and literary studies. He graduated with a BA and MA in 1986 and 1988 respectively. He took up an appointment with the university at the end of his program to lecture and run a PhD program. Buchi remained a staff member of the Department of English of the university until 1994 when he started writing and singing in the reggae genre.

Buchi has released 8 Studio albums and 2 books. The audio albums are as follows:

1999 - These Days
2002 - So Beatutiful
2005 - What A Life
2008 - Sounds Of Life
2011 - Judah
2014 - I See
2017 - Red, Gold & Green
2020 - 11:59

Buchi What A Life! Album (2005)

  • Beware
  • Hallelujah
  • Jerusalem
  • Mma Mma
  • What A Life
  • What A Thing
  • Wisdom

Buchi Red Gold and Green Album (2017)

  • Almighty
  • Amarachukwu
  • A Song For Caro
  • Beyond Words (Kololo)
  • Hallelujah Medley
  • His Grace
  • Holy Holy
  • It's Still Legal
  • N di Niile
  • Not Ashamed
  • Red Gold and Green
  • Sing Unto The Lord
  • Why

Buchi So Beautiful Album (2015)

  • Bridegroom
  • It Is Well (Yard Version included)
  • Joy
  • Lo I Am With You
  • Make Him Smile Again
  • Prologue
  • So Beautiful
  • Strength
  • Trumpet Sound

Buchi Judah Album (2011)

  • Brand New Man
  • Ceasefire
  • Champion Lover
  • Created
  • Created To Praise
  • Epilogue
  • God Alone
  • God Alone (Acapella)
  • Here I Lay
  • Holy Ghost Party
  • Judah
  • Intro (Judah)
  • Number One (Version)
  • Number One
  • Odighi Onye
  • Thank You
  • We Lift Your Name

Buchi Sound Of Life Album (2011)

  • Ekele
  • Flying High
  • I Know His Name
  • Let Them Come
  • Made Like God
  • Revelation
  • Smell of Praise
  • Sound of Life
  • Thanks and Praises
  • The Land Is Good
  • Three in One

Buchi 11:59 PM Album Released in 2020

  • 11 59 Pm
  • Bia Nu Le
  • His Mercy
  • His Mercy II
  • I Am
  • Melody
  • More and More
  • Normally
  • Seven Women To One Man
  • Shalom Jerusalem
  • Sing Hallelujah
  • Soon Gone

Buchi I See Album Released in 2014
  • Bari Odule
  • Cultural Festival
  • Fire
  • Friends
  • Greetings
  • His Name Is Holy
  • I See
  • It Is Possible
  • Ke Hossana
  • My Helper
  • Rhapsody

Buchi These Days Album (2021)
  • Born Again
  • JesusMust Be Honoured
  • No Other God
  • Preach The Gospel (2021)
  • These Days
  • Three In One
  • What A Mighty God
  • Congratulations

Books by Minister Buchi

As an established writer, Minister Buchi has authored the following books:
  • Cease Fire

Buchi Atuonwu is a gospel reggae legend who once combined his singing career with a lecturing job.
Starting out in 1984, He has been in music for over 35 years, 

Before his entry into music, he engaged in some informal training. This was also years before he became a Christian. He was already playing reggae music and that served as a training for him. So, when he became a Christian, there arose a need for me to sing and I was already equipped with enough exposure to reggae music. I was a night club DJ at 'Floating Buka' in Victoria Island, Lagos, a club that was in a ship along Marina. Then, I used to play with Ras Kimono who was a DJ there too at that time. In fact, it was he ( Ras Kimono) who invited me over to come and play there with him. That was precisely between 1987 and 1988. Then, I was a postgraduate student at University of Lagos. Thereafter, I went for my doctorate degree in English Language in the same institution. I was also teaching in the Department.

While doing that, I continued with my DJ work - an odd combination. Yet, I continued until Jesus found me in 1992, when I moved over to the church from the club.

I was not paid then for the DJ work. It was borne out of the passion I had for reggae music.

The informal training I meant was my time as a DJ in that club and the club was a reggae club. I was not a born-again Christian then. 

I didn't choose gospel muisc, gospel music chose me. I didn't choose reggae as well; reggae did. Reggae music appealed to me greatly when I was younger and I began to listen to it. I listened mostly to Jamaican music, and that shaped my sense of music. When Terracotta, Ras Kimono and Majek were making their album and I was a DJ in the club, I was already in love with reggae music.

Also, gospel chose me in the sense that Jesus found me and put a message in my mouth. My style of music is not gospel, there is no type of music called gospel. Gospel is the message of the music. But in terms of style, you can have reggae, pop, rock R n B among others. In terms of message, you can use your medium or style to speak of whatever you believe. I believe in gospel, so my message is strictly gospel. That's how the combination came about.

Most reggae artistes we know in Nigeria speak Patois. Would you say that is one of the criteria for being a reggae musician?

Reggae is a culture; it has a language, history and style and when you practice reggae music, you cannot totally divest its culture. You cannot totally alienate the sound from its surrounding culture. That's why you see most reggae artistes speaking Patois. Reggae was born in Africa but was raised in the Caribbeans. And so, the Jamaican and Caribbean Patois came with the language of the reggae music.

So, as you can see, you cannot totally move away from the language. I tried as much as possible to do that because I found a need to communicate my message to my people, knowing the importance of my message and that is the reason I have cut down the use of that language. It has a style. Most reggae artistes wear dreadlocks but I don't wear dreadlocks – even when I was much younger.

What would you say has been the biggest challenge you have ever had while on stage?

I have relayed this story several times on how I was asked to leave the stage publicly because it was a crusade. It was a Christian crusade and when I began to play my music, the organizers began to complain, 'who brought this person to this stage?' And they told me to get off the stage but people were enjoying my music. They didn't seem to listen to my music, they were listening to the beat. They were watching my dance steps; they were looking at the outward not the wordings.

Are you the cap wearing type?

I am a cap wearing fellow. It is something I love to do. I love the way it makes me feel. I feel naked without the cap. It is something I love doing, it brings me close to the people I want to reach. To me, what becomes of the ordinary man in the street matters  and not necessarily that of the high and mighty in the society.

I feel I am the man so I dress in the way they can freely relate to me without fear. I don't want to look different for them to confide in me. I want to dress in a way they can access me and find me approachable.

The easiest way to leave a habit is to receive Christ. I walked clean away from smoking. The last time I smoked was on 30th of December 1992. I never smoked again since then.

Aside music, what else do you do for a living?

I write. I recently published a book titled, "Ceasefire," The book is a story of campus cultism because I was involved in it. It tells the story, not to indict anybody but it tells you everything that you need to know about campus cultism.I wrote the book not with the intention of exposing anybody, but with the intention of exposing the system. The greatest tragedy about cultism is that, the members and the initiates do not really understand the meaning and implications of the system.

People find themselves in trenches of war before they know what the war is all about. I also published a book called, "Behind the Songs" which is an anthology, a collection of poems and song lyrics. It also tells the inspiration behind the songs. Something inspired me to sing "It is Well" and  other soul-lifting songs.

I have about five audio albums and  two video albums. My sixth album is due to be released soon. I  just came out of the studio last month. It is titled, "Over the years". It's a collection of songs that I have released and re-worked for today's audience. There are some songs I have released some 15 to 20 years ago and I know they are evergreen. So, I need to do something on them because, some of them, I didn't express myself the way I had wanted to. I need to rework them.

Songs and Music Releases by Minister Buchi

1. Yes Lord

In 2020, his daughter, Oluchi, graduated from Babcock University with a First class in Mass Comm (Advertising)! 

He married his wife on November 26, 1994

Minister Buchi Bwai is active on Social media. You can connect with him via his official social media handles on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and X.

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