Hip-hop artist Sophiegrophy likes to follow her own rules. In her music, she does just that. Hailing from Nigeria, she grew up in New Zealand and is currently based in Australia, so she has definitely followed her own unique path. Her versatility is reflected in her new EP, BOLD, which premiered this May. Fans of Bazzi, Glass Animals, and Cardi B will vibe with her EP (I said she was versatile!), which makes the perfect carefree soundtrack for hanging by the pool or cruising around town.
On Sophiegrophy’s six-song EP, each song represents a different genre and music style. Her first single, “Shake,” is all about “loosening, turning up, because sometimes life can be so serious that we forget to have fun. Even if it’s by yourself, even if it’s with your friends, as long as you’re turning up that’s all that matters.” Now that’s a mantra we can all get behind, am I right? “Shake” has already been featured on radio personality Ebro’s show on Beats, and Sophiegrophy can also be found on the future-forward tracks “My Own Thang” by Walker and Royce and “Bounce Back” by J. Worra & Codes, as well as Spotify’s “Starting Point” and “A1 Live” playlists.
On her EP, Sophiegrophy showcases her dedication to doing her own thing as she mixes hip-hop and R&B with a splash of electronic beats. She opened up to Betches about how she stays confident and ~bold~, telling us “Our decisions must be executed with confidence and we must always have faith in ourselves while not giving energy to the naysayers” (full interview below).
We chatted with Sophiegrophy about her diverse background, musical influences, mental health, and more below.
How does your Nigerian background & growing up in New Zealand influence your music and style?
My Nigerian background influences my music by allowing me into a world full of culture where music is the driving force for jubilance, dance, and unity. This background has really helped me with exploring afro beats, which are a part of my “BOLD” EP, and were really something that came naturally when I was writing. As a Nigerian we have a saying that “Naija no dey carry last,” which means we are always in the frontline. My style represents my background because I dress to be comfortable even if it means doing the most, and as a Nigerian we are known to go far and beyond when it comes to style because we love to look good and we love to stand out. I spent my late childhood and teenage years in New Zealand, where I discovered my identity and my sense of belonging that have made me the person I am today. All that I have discovered and learnt during my developmental stages has really helped me with writing and telling my story. New Zealand was where I realised I was different due to many bullying experiences I encountered, and it didn’t change me for the worse nor did it make me change who I was.
Who are some of your musical influences?
My musical influences are Lucky Dube & Jon Bellion.
Who are some of your inspirations right now? (Musical and otherwise)
My biggest inspiration is my mother. She inspires me to strive to be my best and to keep persevering. Everything she has encountered in her life gives me motivation to keep working hard, because she is where she is today because she never gave up and never stopped trying. No matter how hard it got, she made sure she finished what she started and she never left things halfway. This has motivated me a lot, because life is a roller coaster and there are going to be a lot of good and bad days. We tend to only appreciate the good days and give up when the bad days knock on our door. Every negative thing is a catalyst for something positive.
What’s keeping you upbeat right now?
Music and writing. I’ve been spending a lot of late nights with music, exploring what my next song or EP would be. Music brings a lot of happiness out of me and that’s really what’s kept me upbeat.
What’s your go-to pump-up song/album?
My go-to pump-up song and album would be “PMW” by A$AP Rocky/SchoolboyQ and Fan of a Fan by Chris Brown & Tyga. These choices are songs that bring back a lot of wonderful nostalgia of a night out with friends.
Your EP is called “BOLD.” Can you tell us why?
My EP BOLD signifies standing out and being as vibrant as possible. Each song on my EP is distinctively different because they each represent different genres and styles. I wanted to showcase my diversity when it comes to music—I don’t discriminate and I don’t like to place myself in a box. I love expanding myself as an artist and pushing the boundaries. I don’t want to do something because that’s what the majority are doing, I want to do things because I want to do it, even if it means being the odd one out.
What’s your advice to other women to be bold?
My advice to other women to be bold is to remember that as women we are dimes. Our aura is naturally bold, but to really exude it we must walk with confidence in ourselves. Our decisions must be executed with confidence and we must always have faith in ourselves while not giving energy to the naysayers.
Who would be your dream collab?
My dream collaboration would be Jon Bellion—he is absolutely amazing—or Skepta.
What are you up to in quarantine?
The first time we went into lockdown, I loved it because I had a lot of time to get things done, such as doing more writing, listening to old songs, and loving my space, so it was really a tranquil time for me. Now that we are back in lockdown once again for another six weeks, I really miss performing, being on a stage, and meeting different people along the way. So to keep myself busy, I’ve been trying to learn Spanish online which is a nice challenge, and I also have some videos coming up which is very exciting.
What are your goals, musically and otherwise?
One of my goals musically is to become very successful in my music while staying true to who I am, in regard to my style and personality. I really want to use my platform to start a mental health foundation that helps not only up-and-coming artists, but also young adults who are dealing with mental disorders but aren’t seeking help because of the stigma or because they are struggling to cope. I also want to help the young kids and families in Nigeria who are homeless and struggling to meet their daily needs. There’s so much I want to do, and that’s why I need to keep working hard.
Before the Grammys even happened on Sunday, most people had done the math and realized the main storyline would be Beyoncé vs. Adele. They were both up for all the big awards, and they’re obviously both huge fucking stars and queens and magical unicorn women.
Both of their performances ended up as some of the most talked about, but for different reasons. While singing a tribute to George Michael, Adele had to stop the song and start over because she was out of tune. She said “fuck,” which we kind of love, but also like, get your shit together. You had one job. Whatever. Beyoncé, on the other hand, made news because she literally looked like some kind of pregnant alien goddess while performing a medley of songs from Lemonade, causing viewers everywhere to wonder for the umpteenth time whether she is, in fact, human.
Both of them won smaller awards in individual genre categories, so neither was going home empty-handed, but Beyoncé came up short at the end of the show when Adele won Album of the Year. Knowing the Beyhive would annihilate her if she did literally anything else but dedicate the award to Beyoncé, she used both acceptance speeches to talk about how amazing Bey is. Adele was crying. Bey was crying. We weren’t crying, you were crying!
Obviously Beyoncé deserved to win. This is not an opinion. This is not a bias. This is an indisputable, non-alternative fact.
Years from now, there will be a few moments that will stand out in history—moments you’ll always remember precisely where you were and what you were doing when they happened. When Michael Jackson died. When Barack Obama won the presidential election. When Beyoncé released Lemonade.
Not content to shock us all with a surprise album, Beyoncé came out of the woodwork and did what no one other artist has ever accomplished: an hour-long visual experience that celebrated and empowered black women, forcing us to acknowledge for the first time that Beyoncé is, in fact, a black woman.
In addition to offering racial commentary and opening up about her struggles following Jay Z’s (reported) infidelity, Beyoncé used Lemonade to pose important questions to the world: What’s worse, being jealous or crazy? Who is Becky with the good hair?
In a situation where most would have shut down and shied away from the public, Beyoncé aired it all out for the world to see. It was healing, rather than vindictive. She did it all while bringing black culture to the forefront of pop culture, exposing it to people who would have otherwise pretended it didn’t exist, only to try to take credit for it a few years down the line. She did all that, and then gave us an hour of startlingly beautiful visuals—and many Halloween costume ideas—on top of it.
The irony of Beyoncé losing to a white woman was not lost on anyone in the audience last night. After last year’s #OscarsSoWhite fiasco and the current racial climate in general, you would hope that the Grammys could have been one of the first award shows to get their shit together and serve as an example for the rest of the industry of what a truly unbiased event could be. But once again, a woman of color was shoved into the background when she deserved to shine. And when that woman is Beyoncé, we will not take that lying down. Nobody puts Bey in a corner, not even the Grammys.
It goes without saying that Adele is wildly talented. None of this is a slight on her or 25, an amazing album in its own right and absolute shoe-in any other year. But everyone in attendance knew Beyoncé should have won that award. Beyoncé knew that Beyoncé should have won. Becky, whoever she is, knew that Beyoncé should have won.
In a moment that easily could have made or broken her career, Adele used her acceptance speech to go full Cady Heron and essentially give her
spring fling crown Grammy to Beyoncé.
You know what they say: when life hands you lemons, make Lemonade and then watch as it gets absolutely snubbed by the Recording Academy. Our thoughts about the entire debacle can be summed up, once again, by Adele.
To Beyoncé, to Adele, and to all the strong women in the music industry and life in general who put up with more shit than they should ever have to:
But no matter who you are, no matter who you wanted to win, just remember that nothing can ever be worse than Taylor Swift winning for 1989 last year.