“First on SoundCloud” artist Cuppy is the “Princess of Afrobeats”

“First on SoundCloud” artist Cuppy is the “Princess of Afrobeats”

First on SoundCloud is your chance to meet SoundCloud’s most promising acts before they hit superstardom. FOSC alums have reshaped the R&B landscape (Kehlani), built their own labels (Peggy Gou) and released award-winning albums (Little Simz). Yet, this is still only the beginning. Get ready for our next wave of FOSC creators who are making the most of their time in quarantine. 

At age 13, Florence Otedola found herself moving far away from home. The daughter of a renowned businessman, Otedola was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria where she developed a deep love for her surroundings, community and culture. So when she learned her family was emigrating to London, the news hit her especially hard.  

Though her heart ached, a gift from her parents helped her tackle the transition head-on — an iPod which she filled with African music. The Afrobeat and highlife songs that perpetually played in her earbuds served as her lifeline, providing a sonic connection to Africa that now drives her musical career as DJ Cuppy.

Today, Cuppy is widely known as the “Princess of Afrobeats.” It’s a title she’s earned many times over throughout the course of her 10+ year career as a DJ and artist. At 27 years old, she’s already a veteran of the African music scene: she has DJ’d the MTV Africa Music Awards, worked with the continent’s biggest stars and now hosts her own African music radio show called “Africa Now.”

The road to the throne wasn’t easy though. In London, Cuppy experienced racism and othering for the first time, getting picked on for her accent and skin tone. She worked hard to overcome her homesickness and culture shock. In the end, the adversity only made Cuppy prouder of her identity and birthplace. 

Over time, Cuppy taught herself how to DJ, produce and sing. As her notoriety as a selector and artist grew, so did her travel itinerary. Before long she was spinning, performing and collaborating with artists across Africa, bolstered by the success of her House of Cuppy compilation series and singles like “Green Light” featuring Tekno and “Gelato” featuring Zlatan.

For now, Covid-19 may be temporarily grounding Cuppy’s high-flying lifestyle, but it hasn’t stopped her plans. “Creating in isolation is a bittersweet experience,” she says. “A mix of slight loneliness but high productivity took up most of my days during the lockdown.” 

The influx of time has also helped Cuppy put the finishing touches on her critically acclaimed debut album Original Copy. “My album certainly took a deeper and more meaningful direction and I learnt to listen to my own inner voice,” she says. “For the first time I could be Cuppy, the creative without any distractions.”

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