NEWS-ONE caught up with gospel singer Herty Borngreat, the reigning Gospel Artiste of the Year, and engaged her in a rather interesting off the cuff interview that touched on her life, upbringing, career, marriage and home.
Interestingly, Herty did not hold back but rather opened up and said a few things she had never told anyone. She revealed that though the media reported that she has five children, she actually has more than five. She also narrated how she was born in a mission house while her mother was preparing to leave for a maternity home. She also revealed that her husband and Executive Producer, Reverend Daniel Ofori Borngreat, General Overseer of the Great Kingdom Family Chapel, headquartered in Adenta, a suburb of Accra, was the one who broke her virginity.
Below are excerpts of the interview:
NEWS-ONE: What is your secret? You are always trendy.
Herty: I am sure it is the grace of God.
NEWS-ONE: God tells you to look trendy?
Herty: Yeah. When you have God you have everything and even when you are poor, you have it in your mind that you are rich and before you realize, the richness has caught up with you.
NEWS-ONE: I won’t let you dodge the question; where from your taste for trendy fashion?
Herty: It all started after I got married. Before then, I had not even worn a weave-on or synthetic hair. I was just a very simple girl doing my own thing in my own small way. It could be because I was born and raised in a mission house and it was not easy for me to wear jeans trousers and such things. I never wore them until I got married and my husband said I should start wearing them because he wants me to look very nice for him. He even had to force me to go to the salon to do my hair. I was a university graduate but I was not really into fashion. Hope you get me?
NEWS-ONE: Let’s roll back a bit? Were your parents pastors for you to have been born in a mission house?
Herty: I was born to Madam Faustina Boatemaa, currently in the UK but you know that in those days when you get married and you are pregnant, you went to your parents’ house to deliver. My grandparents were both reverend ministers staying in a mission house so that explains it. When it was time for her to give birth to me, I came out before she left for the hospital. I just dropped out right in the mission house. I did not wait to get to the hospital.
And my dad says that’s why he named me ‘Henrietta’ meaning home ruler, ready to take over wherever I step foot.
NEWS-ONE: Which mission house was this?
Herty: They were in the Methodist Church.
NEWS-ONE: I hope you won’t say you attended mission schools as well.
Herty: Well, I had my early schooling at Peters Educational Centre until I was about five or so when my parents divorced. My mum left me for my grandparents and travelled outside to work. Growing up was not very easy but God saw me through big-time.
NEWS-ONE: What is your educational background?
Herty: I climbed all the way to the university. I graduated from the Aston University in Birmingham, UK and I am currently doing my Masters at the Colombia University through an online programme.
NEWS-ONE: When did you start singing?
Herty: Right from the mission house. I was always at church so I joined the choir and the acting group. Once you are in a mission house, you learn all sorts of things. So I learnt to play the piano, the drums, to sing. I was going to be a musician because I loved music. My grandparents actually paid people to teach us how to play the instruments. But I did not plan to be a gospel musician; I thought I would end up as an inspirational musician.
NEWS-ONE: How long ago and where did you meet your husband?
Herty: Ten years ago. I first came to Ghana to attend an engagement ceremony with my mum and that was when I first saw him there. That was in Kumasi. He was just staring at me.
Herty With her children
Herty With her children
NEWS-ONE: And you were also gazing at him?
Herty: Of course! He had put his hands into his pocket and was just looking at me. I asked myself why this man was looking at me like that. He gathered courage, came close and asked my name. From there we became friends. I realized he wanted to say something but he couldn’t until I had to return to the UK.
NEWS-ONE: Oh just like that?
Herty: Hmm. He followed up to UK and met with me. He proposed once but I thought he was joking. Then he went to my mother and told her he wanted to marry me. She asked if he had spoken to me and he told her yes but I was playing hard to get. Then my mother explained my upbringing and why I would shy away from men.
NEWS-ONE: Is your husband your first lover?
Herty: Honestly yes. He broke my virginity.
NEWS-ONE: You have children
NEWS-ONE: How many.
Herty: Actually I have a surprise for you. You have always said I have five children and that is what almost everybody says. But truth is I have six.
Herty: Yes six. You are surprised. Yes you are the first media man to know this. I told my husband your paper would be the first to know this. Oh look at the way you are looking at me. The sixth born is there.
NEWS-ONE: Biological children?
Herty: Yes. The sixth one is there. He is barely six months.
NEWS-ONE: You are still very sexy after six children.
Herty: Yeah. I have to look good for my husband. Many people did not even know that when I was jumping from one stage to another last year, I was heavily pregnant with my sixth child. They only thought I had but on weight. They do not know I have a very flat tummy and what they were seeing was pregnancy and not over eating.
NEWS-ONE: How do you combine six children with your career and home chores?
Herty: With all these six children, I have no house help. We live in our own mansion where I do all the washing, cleaning and cooking. But my husband has been very supportive. He has been there for me. I am Osofo Maame. So I play my church roles at same time; leading worship, taking care of women’s fellowship, playing the role model for the younger ones and being a mother for the younger ones.
NEWS-ONE: When did you decide to go professional?
Herty: That was when I returned to Ghana. My mum introduced us to a friend who could record me. My husband said he would also help me out at the right time so we should pray about it. And that is how far we have come.
NEWS-ONE: How has the journey been?
Herty: I thought it would be cool because it is the work of God and I do it with all I have. But I realized some people still come at me and write very unkind things about me. Things I just sit and wonder how they formulated them and what the motive may be and whether it is the price I have to pay for doing gospel music. But all the same the journey has also had some success and recognition. It is great to be on God’s side.
NEWS-ONE: You have won a couple of awards?
Herty: Yes the first one was Discovery of the Year at the Ghana Music Awards. Then the next was when the Ghana Gospel Awards gave me the Contemporary Gospel Song of the Year for my work, ‘Bebre’, the one I featured Sarkodie. Then the University of Ghana, Mensah Sarbah Hall gave me an award and I recently won two awards: Gospel Artiste of the Year and Collaboration of the Year at the VGMAs.
NEWS-ONE: Do the mudslinging and media negativity bother you?
Herty: It depends on what they write. If they criticise me, I take it as feedback and improve me style, if they defame me, I ignore them and try to work harder but I am human so when they attack my husband, my children and my family, I get bothered. I understand I am in showbiz and not everyone would like me. But taking the hate campaign to my husband and family is below the belt.
NEWS-ONE: Tell us about your ‘Stronger’ track.
Herty: Stronger. People Dey Wonder. Actually, I did not write that song but can tell you that it was so timely that I feel God wrote the song just for me. Many people think I wrote the song to tell my story but I did not even write it. But when I got the song, I decided to put myself into it. I know there may be people out there going through worse than what I think I am going through and this also applies to them.
NEWS-ONE: What are the future prospects for your career?
Herty: Well I believe with God we can do all things. I don’t have a limit.
NEWS-ONE: Your critics say you are antisocial.
Herty: Oh no. I am not. My husband and I go out a lot. We visit people when necessary and we reach out to friends and society. Maybe people hardly see me with friends because most of the people I grew up with are outside Ghana. They are scattered across Europe, UK and the United States. But back home here, I am still open with an active social life.
NEWS-ONE: Any final comments?
Herty: My message is that I am very grateful to them for supporting me all these years. They should keep on keeping on and trusting in God. He can and would make them achieve all that they want. I pray for God’s mercies, favour and blessings for all my fans and all persons who listen to my songs. I really love them because they are my family.