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“I Consider Myself A Business Woman Before Anything Else”- DJ Cuppy

It was an hour of fun and open conversations as Manchester United fan and lover of pink, DJ Cuppy, talked about her music, the new album and her brand.

Who said 2020 was cancelled? Not with Nigerian artistes releasing dope albums at this time including DJ Cuppy. Her debut album, Original Copy, shows us that Cuppy really wants this (music) and is ready to do what it takes. She even admitted taking singing lessons and familiarising herself with sounds just to make sure that she dropped an album that her fans (Cupcakes as she calls them), can be really proud of.

You cannot change your voice but you can control your voice- DJ Cuppy Click To Tweet

During an exclusive virtual chat at YouTube Music Week, she let us into the making of the music album, some of the problems that she encountered and the inspiration behind each track. We equally got up close and personal where she talked about her Ferrari, her self-care routine and more. All of that you can find in the digital copy of our 10 Questions publication available for download HERE.

The Making Of Original Copy by DJ Cuppy

It began 3 years ago with the writing of Labalaba which features Seyi Shay. Officially, Cuppy says February which was the time when she travelled to Ghana and started creating the sounds. It was during that trip that she equally recorded Karma with Stonebwoy, a collaboration that she says happened in the most organic way anyone can think of. As a matter of fact, she declared this her best collaboration.

Lessons Learnt From Working On This Album

“Nothing is given. You have to go out and get it”- DJ Cuppy

If you ever thought that she had it all easy peasy, you may want to read this. Getting other superstars to feature on the album was quite tasking with some saying no, some not completing their verses and others declining at the last minute. These situations left the DJ with a lot of unfinished songs; some of which you may be seeing in a deluxe version of the album.

Despite the challenges, she is happy with those she eventually featured as they all turned out to be people who wanted to work with her. In her words, “I feel a sense of fulfilment”. Who wouldn’t with all the positive feedback that she has gotten on the album and getting Wyclef to do Wale. That collaboration was a typical slide in the DM situation. Cuppy revealed how she slid into Wyclef’s DM and the rest as you now know is history. As a matter of fact, Wale is not the last of that collaboration by the duo. We have it on record that Cuppy and Wyclef have another collaboration which you should look out for.

Her Top 5 favourite songs on the album

  1. Epe because it represents where she is from
  2. Wale because she showcases her vocal cords on this one. This is the collaboration with Wyclef
  3. Karma because she sang the longest on this one
  4. Litty lit. In her words, it took Teni 50 minutes to record that song and she was out of the studio.
  5. She has a hard time picking between Guilty Pleasure and Feel Good as she said, “this is like asking me to pick my favourite child”.

The Inspiration Behind Jollof On The Jet

“I was flying from Accra to Lagos. Got on the jet, they gave me jollof rice. I ate it. And that was it. I landed and called Rema. When he was done, I decided to add some Bongo spice to it”, DJ Cuppy.

The Inspiration Behind Each Track On The Album

  • Epe is where she is from
  • Karma is when you think you and a guy will happen
  • Cold heart killer because she says, “I have broken a few hearts before
  • Guilty pleasure talks about her going back to her ex when she shouldn’t
  • Africa 54 represents how much she loves Nigeria
  • The interlude is a direct hit back to those who say she can’t do music.

Speaking On Music Influences

The superstar DJ says that she is influenced more by people who aren’t exactly artistes. For instance, Jstor inspired the title of her album, Original Copy. She is equally inspired by young people which explains the choice of one of her producers, Bond. Cuppy discovered Bond on Twitter and he produced most of her songs including POY and Guilty Pleasure. In her words, “He is young, hungry and likes to do music”.

Music as a business and not just a passion

It is one thing to get into music hoping to get that one single that makes you popular. However, how sustainable is that? This is the most important thing to Cuppy- sustainability- which is why she started her music group, Red Velvet Music Group. Cuppy is very big on setting structures including a fully functional legal team in Nigeria. The lady you know as DJ Cuppy is more of a businesswoman than an artiste. Little wonder she says, “my brand makes me more money than my music”. “We watch our costs and ensure that we are growing in the right way”, she added.

“I consider myself a businesswoman before anything else”- DJ Cuppy

On collaborating with her sisters Tolani and Teni Otedola

Tolani Otedola had declined getting featured on the Original Copy album stating that she wasn’t ready. However, she did help her sister to record Feel Good, a song that featured Fireboy DML. Cuppy would love to have her sisters Tolani and Teni feature on her song but only when they are ready. In her words, “my sister Tolani is very talented and I cannot wait for the world to hear from her”. Teni on the other hand is the ‘next big thing’ to come out from Nollywood with her movie, Citation, set to premiere soon.

Leveraging on her Daddy’s connections

It is no news that Cuppy is the daughter of an oil magnate, Femi Otedola. A very successful billionaire with connections to some of the high and mighty in society. It is only right then that his children get to benefit from his connections. After all, it is said that your net worth is dependent on your network. However, this does not take away from one’s skills which is what we see with DJ Cuppy. The billionaire daughter recognises that she has the connections but also makes it clear that she has had to do the work. There are opportunities she has missed out on because she was late or unprofessional at some point. So, the connections open the door but her skills are what keeps the doors open. “After all, my dad cannot DJ for me”, she says.

Biggest Deals So Far

Cuppy works with some of the biggest brands but says that she likes to think that her biggest deal is yet to come. She revealed that the partnerships which she is most excited about aren’t necessarily the most lucrative. For instance, being on the board of Save The Children, UK and being a brand ambassador for the NGO, exposed her to global challenges like the crisis in Maiduguri.

If the focus is on the money, then she is glad to be a brand ambassador for brands like Pepsi, Tiger Beer and Apple Music, an endorsement she is very excited about as she believes it is time that global brands recognize what Africans have to offer and this is one of them. Cuppy is not stopping and we should be expecting a reveal where she partners with a makeup brand and a sporting brand too.

Next Steps for DJ Cuppy

Making videos of the songs and getting them out on YouTube.

As we stated earlier, Cuppy shared some personal information with us which you can find in the second part of this interview tagged, 10 Questions. You can download that HERE. Those on our mailing list saw it first. Now you can!

The chat with DJ Cuppy was made possible by YouTube Music. Watch the unboxing of the swag delivery we got by clicking the button below;


Feature image by Getty Images

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