DJ Cuppy: African music will be the next global trend

DJ Cuppy performing

DJ Cuppy  DJ Cuppy

Florence Ifeoluwa Otedola, known as DJ Cuppy, is a musician and entrepreneur. Born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1992, Cuppy’s musical endeavours began at a young age and she was already producing her own tracks and DJing around the world whilst completing her bachelor’s in Economics at King’s.

WAKANDA forever, what a time to be alive! More so, what a time to be in the global music industry as an African… In the last few years, we’ve all remarkably witnessed Afrobeats music go from strength to strength with worldwide hits and the upsurge of African mega superstars; the 02 Arena recently SOLD OUT for the first ever ‘Afrorepublik Festival’. Without over-complicating this blogpost by writing a whole epistle on the matter, we also have to acknowledge that it’s not just African music on the rise but the continent’s creative culture as a whole. I mean, dabble into any industry including fashion, film, and food; you will be guaranteed to come across African innovation. Just this afternoon, I kid you not, I walked into Harrods with the joy of hearing Nigerian popstar ‘Mr Eazi’ in the background! With Godfathers such as Fela Kuti, we’ve seen the genre evolve to a global phenomenon spearheaded by the likes of Wizkid and Davido.

DJ Cuppy with DJ Abrantee in the Capital Xtra StudioDJ Cuppy with DJ Abrantee in the Capital Xtra Studio

However, being a global African DJ myself, the true question at hand is the long-term stance of this beautiful yet misunderstood genre dubbed ‘Afrobeats’. Being Nigerian I have a natural bias towards Afrobeats (the more West African sound), and have nothing but faith in its bright future. Having said that, we cannot avoid the need for structure and governance if Afrobeats is to stand the test of time. In comparison to other genres, it has had a relatively short life-span but its story is just as powerful and inspiring.

DJ Cuppy performing in South AfricaDJ Cuppy performing at her final sold out show of the 'Cuppy Takes Africa' tour

Africa’s music industry is young and vibrant. From Dakar to Mombasa, Lagos to Cape Town, creative communities are producing music that draws from our millennia of heritage, while incorporating modern instruments, and now, the latest technology. The industry itself contributes to Africa both economically and culturally. But it faces challenges to its ongoing development and expansion, and will require both structural and cultural support to counteract these damaging trends and allow it the global takeover it deserves. The difficulties faced by the African music industry are long-established and well-documented with the fundamental challenge being the predominance of an informal economy operating supply chains without proper regulation or observation. Unlike here in the UK, there is a staggering hindrance preventing artists from receiving remuneration for intellectual property with content piracy stealing livelihoods.

DJ Cuppy with children in AfricaCuppy also made several charity visits to schools and communities during the 'Cuppy Takes Africa' tour

It’s now up to us stakeholders to create an environment that allows artists and their content to grow so it can reach its full potential. The legal and governance frameworks which surround African music are in their infancy, but the continent’s musical heritage is as rich, time-honoured and robust as that of any other continent on earth. It has an exciting future, a future of challenges but also of opportunities, most notably through the emergence of digital platforms. Properly protected and nurtured, African music can continue to go from strength to strength. No one can doubt that the whole world would benefit from that. It is only a matter of time before African music completely takes over the world. I’m just here to give my King’s crew the heads up!

Cuppy, Red Velvet Music Group LTD
Twitter/Instagram: @cuppymusic

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