- Nigerian-born artist DJ Cuppy is excited to host Apple Music's first radio show dedicated solely to African music.
- She tells us she has always had a passion for African music and looks forward to correcting "misconceptions about our history".
- Known as the "Princess of Afrobeats", Cuppy opens up about how this African genre has taken the world by storm.
A show that is "for Africans, by Africans" – that's how DJ Cuppy describes her new gig at Apple Music.
The radio show, which is based on the recently launched Africa Now playlist, showcases the best in African music with the Nigerian-born DJ at the helm.
Speaking to Channel24, Cuppy says she has always given a spotlight to African artists, making Africa Radio Now the perfect fit for her.
"I've always been about pushing and promoting the African Culture; its music, potentials, talents… everything. In fact, the African culture has been deeply integrated in the Cuppy brand, hence my nickname, 'Princess of Afrobeats'. I thought about how I could do this on a more global scale consistently aside DJing, and when the opportunity to host 'Africa Now' on Apple Music came to me, I knew it wasn't just a coincidence but a result of years of hard work. It's finally time!"
The first of its kind on Apple Music, the show sees Cuppy interview artists from around the African continent, playing the hottest hits throughout, and finishing off with a 10-minute personalised DJ mix of tracks from the Africa Now playlist.
"I'm really looking forward to telling the African story and documenting the process," the DJ tells us, adding: "I feel like this is a great opportunity to change the narrative and showcase the beauty that is resident in the continent because if we do not tell it ourselves, who will?"
From Africa to the world
Afrobeats – a genre of music originating from West Africa – continues to take the world by storm. We've seen it slowly seep into commercial music, making its way across the ocean and influencing the sounds of many international stars.
Cuppy believes it's the "distinctive sound" of this genre that "compels you to give it attention".
"It aggravates you as much as it soothes you, it comes with a sense of healing… It commands a variety of emotions. Our music is a powerful expression."
And now that the world's spotlight is on Africa's stars, it's only going to get better, she says.
"It's phenomenal how Afrobeats is taking over the world. Our sound is going from strength to strength; it's so beautiful to watch and even better to be part of it!
"Afrobeats artists are taking things to the next level on a global scale. We literally have a spotlight on us right now, and all our stars are shining bright. It's been a long time coming, and I don't think it's going anywhere."
But as African artists continue to gain global recognition, Cuppy says the struggle then becomes authenticity. "I think in a world where there are pressures, most African artists struggle to stay authentic as they grow beyond borders."
Avoiding this trap is simple, though. Just "do you, and the rest will follow," she advises.
"Learning to be myself has been a big challenge. Being a female in a male-dominated industry, I've had to adapt to environments which have often made me question my own passion and authenticity for my art. It's really interesting because things started working out when I finally decided to simply be myself."
Africa Radio Now with DJ Cuppy airs every Sunday on Apple Music.