Nigerian-born multi-platform musician and philanthropist, Florence Ifeoluwa Otedola aka DJ Cuppy, will be releasing her debut album, Original Copy, later this month. We swung a few questions her way to find out about her new album, her charity work and supporting women in the arts.
The album sees Cuppy take the vocal reigns on themes that range from independence to love lost and African pride, over a pop-meets-Afrobeats sonic bed that she calls: ‘neo-Afrobeats’.
DJ Cuppy graduated with a degree in business and economics from King’s College London in 2014. By then she was already well established as a DJ and was selected as a DJ at the MTV Africa Music Awards.
That was followed by her first compilation, The House of Cuppy, where she produced EDM-esque remixes of songs by leading Afro-pop artists. Soon came The House of Cuppy II, which took on a more Afro-house slant. Endearing her pan-African brand to the continent beyond Nigeria, Cuppy went on the Cuppy Takes Africa Tour a year later.
DJ Cuppy dedicates her time to making impactful changes as an ambassador for Global Citizen and Save The Children. She started The Cuppy Foundation in 2018 and the Foundation’s Cuppy Gold Gala raised $17m to help displaced children across Nigeria.
What can fans expect with your soon to launch new album Original Copy?
My cupcakes (my fans) can expect a new side of me. This album I poured my heart and soul into and I was fearless. I decided to do what I wanted to do and I worked with people who wanted to work with me. I think they are in for a treat! It’s going to be a Cuppy they have never seen, but also a confident Cuppy, an unstoppable Cuppy, an original Cuppy.
If you had to describe your sound as an outfit what would it be and why?
My sound as an outfit, I think would have patterns, definitely colour and texture. So it would look something like a velvet zebra dress that is pink with green dots, lots of gold accessories, perhaps a choker (for cheekiness), kitten heels, a mini bag and I may even throw in a bit of latex.
What have been some of your career highlights?
My career highlights have varied from highs to lows, but certain highlights for me are three events that stand out for me. (1) DJing for the Nigerian and Ghanaian presidential inaugurations, (2) having the opportunity to DJ for charity, like at the Cuppy Gold Gala to raise funds for children, (3) lastly, recording my album. It was a personal goal that I achieved, and now it’s time to share it with the world.
What do you feel still needs to change when it comes to supporting women in the arts?
I think that women need to know their own strengths, without sounding like a cliche, we are stronger together! A lot of us African women are scared to sometimes speak up, but I do feel like we are on the verge of change, women are becoming unapologetic and they are also realising that men can do better.
Can you tell us more about your foundation The Cuppy Foundation and how the public can help and get involved?
The Cuppy Foundation is an initiative I started out of a passion to tackle issues surrounding child protection and education for girls and persons with disabilities. Before I started the Cuppy Foundation, I’ve always been ardent about protecting and empowering the minorities in society. What I did was create a platform where I’ll be able to do that on a larger scale.
So far, I’m so proud to have been able to achieve that and even more. I’ve partnered with different reputable organisations like Save the Children and Global Citizen to raise the much-needed funds to provide education, healthcare and essential resources.
I strongly believe that we all have a part to contribute to making the world better. Be it speaking out against social injustice, spreading awareness or contributing financially to organizations that prefer help.
What advice would you give to aspiring female artists?
Being a female DJ is not the norm and because people don’t like what they don’t know, it’s harder to break in. So, be prepared to do it twice as hard! Your sex is not a limitation. Work hard consistently and always work on improving your craft. Be better today than you were yesterday.
What’s your hidden talent?
Apart from being a female superstar female creative who is repping Africa, I feel like I can make my tongue touch my nose.
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