Blessing Offor was born in Nigeria with almost complete blindness in one eye.
His parents, hoping they could save some of his vision, make the heart-wrenching decision to allow their 6-year-old son to move to America with his Uncle, to get help.
Blessing went through numerous surgeries on his eyes in the first few years, but when he was 10 years old an accident while playing in the backyard caused him to be hit by a water gun in his “good eye.” Blessing lost his vision completely and was worried his parents would think of him as a failure for losing his eyesight.
Refusing to succumb to darkness, Blessing began to learn other skills. That is how he discovered his ability to connect with others through music. ‘It was a difficult time,’ he says. ‘In Nigeria, you see hard things all the time. You see people that are hungry, that are sick and can’t get health care. It’s not a contradiction to think that life can be good and difficult at the same time.’
Yet Blessing continued to trust in God. He had been raised as a Christian, and knew that God was there in the hard things. He wrestled with the idea of God as Abba Father and admits that what he was going through was not his favourite part of God’s plan.
‘When all of this was happening with my good eye,’ says Blessing, ‘we got a piano in the house. I suddenly had all this free time where I could sit and play. In hindsight, the solution was right there all along. None of this was an accident. I poured myself into the piano because I fell in love with it.’
Blessing’s debut album, “My Tribe” is about to be released, and he says it is a record based deeply in faith. ‘I wanted to make a record that was not afraid to be human and vulnerable,’ he says. ‘Love in its best form is created by God. When you sing something to someone that’s genuine and heartfelt, you are worshipping.’
Blessing says he felt disingenuous to not bring in the full aspect of who he is and his love for music to this album. He wanted to make a record that was both worshipful and human, and didn’t necessarily have what he calls a “victory march.”
‘Wherever you are, it’s okay,’ says Blessing. ‘And wherever you are, God is there too. Even if you can’t see Him. Being human is a journey and a destination all at the same time.’
Having grown up in different parts of the world, Blessing wanted to acknowledge the influence that has had on his music. ‘There’s literally a tribe I’m part of in Nigeria,’ he says. ‘But even in America the friends and family I met are all beautiful parts of my tribe. This record really goes towards celebrating all of those things because no matter the distance, those are still my people.’
Blessing believes that God is the only one who could have brought him from a village in West Africa to the career he has now. ‘My faith and my life are not compartmentalized parts of me,’ he says. ‘My faith is in everything.’
‘Every day is kind of a miracle.’