Moving back to London has been nothing short of a heavy meditative time for me. Despite avoiding any form of sentiment or doubt as I boxed all my belongings from my apartment, unfortunately it seems my emotions have now caught up with me, forcing me to confront my decision to return to 'The Smoke'. My first thoughts were - Should I really be moving back to London? This was quickly followed by a series of panics; What about living in Lagos? What about your homeland Nigeria? What about Africa?
This is actually my second big move to London, so you'd think I'd be a pro; not sitting in my East London flat trying to decide whether to call SKY first or find my local supermarket. My first big move to London was when I was 12 years old. From my GCSE's to my recent graduation from New York University, I can proudly put 8 years of education behind me and enjoy the super-cool-confident-catty-creative-but-still-a-clever-clogs type of woman I am today. A woman that is madly in love with music and her career as a DJ.
Despite having not lived in Nigeria for the last 10 years, it will always be my home. Being born and growing up in Lagos absolutely shaped my creative side; in a city whereby vibrant colour and culture is everywhere, you cannot avoid the arts as a way to express yourself. My parents did such an excellent job raising my siblings and I (Lord help me when it's my turn lol!); as children we were encouraged to explore and never be scared to make mistakes. This made me both adventurous, but also very naughty.
My first impressions of London were a hub of cultural diversity, eccentricity and quirkiness. I remember being put on a plane from Lagos, finding myself in north London, trying to figure out how to make the perfect Bacon Sarnie. London has and will always hold some of my fondest memories; experiencing my wild teenage years inspired me to be a DJ and why I've fallen in love with the music scene here. London definitely paved the way for today's Cuppy.
Why did I leave London in the first place you ask? Simple; I had to follow my passion but also gain necessary knowledge. I attended Point Blank music school in North London over the summer, after my BSc degree at Kings College then applied for New York University, heading into the unknown.. I remember that summer of 2014; things were really picking up for me as a DJ in London. Nonetheless, when September came I got on a plane from Heathrow straight to JFK; and two years later here I am - back with a bang!
While I've been away, London has changed so much, there really couldn't be a better time to be innovative; like a sponge, Londoners are soaking in other cultures and mixing in influences like never before. The Nigerian genre of music 'Afrobeats' is now cementing its presence on the UK top 40 charts, which is amazing to see!
Many people including my friends, family and Cupcakes (my ever so loyal fans), want me to move back Lagos as adulthood has kicked in. However, I have decided to come back to London. Why? Because London is really the nest it needs to nourish. For the first time in my life, I'm able to be a full time DJ, without any essays due in the morning or thesis meetings; and I can't think of a better place than this city, which allows such opportunities, opens the gates to the international community, and has such a diverse culture. Being in Lagos at this time would have been a lot different. Although, one thing is that they are a bit more merciful with weight back home - I'll have to stay away from my perfected bacon sarnie and good old fish and chips!
I'm so excited to do what I love for a living and continue to use music to touch people's lives. For me that's the key - whether I live in New York, London, or Lagos. Going on tour to 8 countries in Africa showed me the true strength of music and it's inspired me to do more on and off the decks. My company Red Velvet Music Group just opened a new office in Shoreditch, with a studio where i'll be making new sounds (coming soon!), but more importantly, we are creating a space for other African artists to make and manage their content exposing it to a new demographic and inspiring news artists.
So my darling Lagos, I have not forgotten about you - let's just say I'm introducing you to some new friends.
London, thanks for having me back!