Born Florence Ifeoluwa Otedola better known as DJ Cuppy is a phenomenal person who has taken the disk jockey trade to another level. Cuppy, who is the second out of four children of billionaire Femi Otedola has managed to carve a niche for herself in the Nigerian music industry. At 25, Cuppy has carved a distinctive niche for herself in the industry and thriving to tow her own path with some degree of success. With her new song ‘Green Light’ Ft. Tekno, Cuppy sure knows her way when it comes song delivery. In this chat with MUTIAT ALLI, Cuppy spoke about her new work, been a billionaire daughter, what makes good music amongst others.
What is the idea behind your song Green Light? A lot of people ask why it is called green light. So Green Light signifies for me GO — an indication of moving forward. So I am using Green Light to take my career to the next level. I only said Green Light twice.
With Tekno on board, are we still seeing more of the DJ in you? I, of course, sang a little bit on the song but that is just a way of expressing myself. I am still first and foremost a DJ and the entire vision is to remain a DJ and the plan now is to infuse my own music into my set up. I actually haven’t performed Green Light yet, so
I have to see how I can amend that.
What informed your choice of Tekno? I am really excited about my project Green Light about three weeks ago and it is my first official single. It is exciting for me because I have decided to move back to Nigeria. I have decided that this is really a place that I want to make home. It has always been home but I have lived abroad for a long time and as far as my Deejaying is concerned, I have been building my brand. I have been working very hard and I feel like it is time to make my own original sound. For a lot of DJs, they collaborate with artistes and a lot of people are wondering why I chose Tekno. Tekno is amazing and creative, always making great music. He is very talented and I value him a lot. Tekno and I always wanted to work together and this happens to be the project that we embarked on and I am really proud of it. I think it is a great song. We have worked very hard on it, we produced it together, we wrote it together and I am really excited. This morning, I woke up to a million views on YouTube so, I really think that the song is doing well and I am very proud of it. I really hope people enjoy it.
How did your first song, ‘I Love My Country’, do in the market? I Love My Country was a song I came out with. It was not my first song in the sense that it is not an original song, it was just a remix. That makes Green Light my first original song. It was nice to sort of hear young people talk about this old school songs that a lot of us did not know about. But as far as the sound is concerned, it was House Music and I think it was a great way to come up because it was different. You are moving from being just a DJ to producing music, how much of House Music are you going to explore? I love House Music and that comes from living abroad and experiencing different sounds. Having spent my last year in London, everyone loves Nigerian music. There has never been a time literally that Afro beats has had so much light on it. I remember when I first started Deejaying when I was 18, I used to be like scared to play Nigerian music abroad because they will book me for shows and want me to play their own music. Over the last five years, everything has changed, so people actually book me abroad and say they just want Nigerian music, and I feel like now I can fuse both.
How was it like always trying to play Nigerian music? MTV Africa awards when I was a resident DJ, we were in South Africa and South Africans love Nigerian music but they still have their own House Music. They have their Pop, and Rock, so I felt like I am here; I got to represent Naija. Actually, I was given a list of music I could play and I started playing it but you know for me, I took a risk and everyone loved it. After that event, I had so many people say that you represented Nigeria so well and sometimes you have to break the rules. What is the unique thing about being a DJ than an artiste? The unique thing about being a DJ rather than an artiste is that you get a lot more of opportunities to express yourselves. We are not restricted to our own songs, so I feel like I get to have my cake and eat it too. I can play other people’s songs and I can play my own songs. I have more control over my creativity and you know, I have a lot more catalogue, artiste go and perform and they can only really perform their own songs.
Has the BBC documentary boosted your career? I did a documentary for BBC; it was called Lagos in London. And it was a long-term project where they followed me and other Nigerians and it was a big piece it was globally broadcasted. But that show definitely helped me and it was important for people to understand that despite being from Nigeria and despite living in U.K, we still have our heritage and we are proud of what we do. Are you making money from Deejaying or are you still a starving artiste? I am making money and I feel like it is very important to make money now.
I’m I running on a profit? That I can’t answer because I make a personal choice of branding myself. So, I have higher costs than a lot of people because I put a lot of my money into my business with everything I do. I have a reputation of doing things in a certain way. The reality is that I generate revenue but I have a lot of cost some may call the unnecessary cost. But I feel like it is really important that anything you do; you do well. And that is why maybe I am not rising in my profit, but my brand is rising in value every single year, so it is all about creating a name that has value, I believe that can later run turns into profit for me.
Do you think you would be famous without the name of your father? I don’t ever shy away from the fact that my father helps me and I am really proud of being associated with him. He is a great guy, he is an entrepreneur and he has done a lot for me. He has supported me not only financially but also morally. As far as my Deejaying if I didn’t have my father, I will still have my school cert and still be as passionate. But people would probably be a bit less curious but having said that, it is an advantage. Also there is a disadvantage too but the good once are far better. For instance, I can do a really good DJ set but because someone may have a problem with my dad, they already decided that am Bad DJ.
You once said people should not really look at your father but look at your talent, has people’s perception really changed? I feel like it is changing. I being able to produce my own song and the song is actually a good song. And working with someone like Tekno rather than maybe someone like Davido, it helps me show that actually, I am a credible musician. The perception is changing anyway. Your sister just introduced herself to the music industry in Nigeria, will there be any form of collaboration? Yes my sister Tolani has just launched her musical career and she is my older sister and I am very excited for her. She has been doing music for a while but I am glad that the world finally gets to hear her. As far as working together, I definitely think we will. Was showbiz part of your family growing up or it was something you kicked-off? Showbiz and music has always been a big part of my growing up, my father loves music and I think I the past he did some works with Sir Shina Peters and music has always been part of the entire house. My dad used to tell to when he used to go to the Fela Shrine and other things. Music was my exciting route to get happy. As an artiste’s now,
what do think makes a good music? Am not a singer but as a DJ I can explain better; there is something called frequency. When you hear a song, there are certain sound that clashes together and it either clashes in harmony or it doesn’t. For instance songs like Yeba, the reason the song works so well is the fact that it has a very unique sound; the flute in the beginning of the song. Most times you look at the actual cords, notes and the way they harmonize