Sophiegrophy Is The Nigerian-Antipodean Artist Making An Indelible Impression With Her Bold Yet Understated Sound – Culture Custodian

With a multi-faceted sound that’s hard to ignore and a captivating sense of style, this artist has undoubtedly made a name for herself in the Australian music industry. Her career took off in 2016 with the release of her mixtape, PURPULARITY and till date, Sophiegrophy is showing no signs of slowing down or changing who she is to fit the mould. 

Born in Nigeria, raised in New Zealand and now living in Australia, her multicultural background has set the stage for her experimental and carefully but expertly curated sound. Her recently released EP, Bold is clear-cut proof of this. We had a chat with Sophiegrophy about the impact her upbringing has made on her sound, and the creative process behind her debut EP.

Being a New Zealand raised, Nigerian woman in the Australian hip-hop scene has surely birthed a very distinct approach in how you navigate through music as an art form. How exactly has your multicultural background influenced your sound and the music you create?

My multicultural background has definitely influenced me a lot. In regards to writing, it has really helped with being able to take bits and pieces of my experiences and [fuse] them with my music. Writing is all about inspiration and influence and without these, it becomes hard to gather your thoughts. So the good thing is that, [living] in Nigeria, New Zealand and now Australia, has really impacted my art. Each country has shaped my identity and led me to finding not only who I am but more importantly, my sound. 

Touching on what you just said about finding your sound and finding who you are… Who is Sophiegrophy beyond the spotlight?

Sophiegrophy is a very nonchalant individual who is a really goofy person when you get to know her. She isn’t easily influenced because she’s aware of not only the people around her but also society. 

Your career has had quite the trajectory since the release of PURPULARITY, from performing at major festivals like Rolling Loud Australia to recently having your own Spotify billboard and everything in-between. What’s been the biggest highlight of your journey so far?

Honestly, it’s really hard for me to choose one because every milestone I’ve had is still incredibly shocking to me. I am just grateful for everything. 

When was the first time you ever performed in front of an audience? Can you remember what that experience was like?

Omg YES! This was back when I first started high school so I was 13. My high school at the time ran a talent show which I participated in. The crazy thing is that I was not nervous at all. I was more excited to perform and showcase my [talent]. 

Photo: Jesse O’Brien

So let’s talk about your debut EP, Bold. It’s quite the eclectic mix of sounds, incorporating genres such as hip-hop, house and afrobeats. What was the creative process like with bringing this EP to life?

The process was so inspiring. As an artist, you never stop growing. So I learnt [even more] about myself and my sound. I did a lot of the writing at home in my own space because I get very distracted when I’m trying to tap into my thoughts and creative side while there are people around me. So writing was done at home and refinements were done in the studio. The recording process was actually the hardest bit because I am such a perfectionist and so is my producer. Every [single] sound and note was analysed. 

And what do you want your fans, old and new alike, to take away from this EP when they listen to it?

When they listen to my EP, I really want them to understand the importance of diversity. Even though each track is different, I made sure that there’s still a [sense] of who I am in every individual song. 

There’s no doubt that your sense of style is a big part of your brand. Who are some of your major style influences?

You know what’s crazy? I actually don’t have a major style influence. I just love to wear things that make me feel comfortable and I wear whatever I consider to be dope. Growing up, I was always the type to wear things that many deemed weird but I never cared because I liked them. 

The Covid-19 pandemic and this new reality we’ve all been thrown into has made a lot, if not all of us reassess the importance we place on different aspects of our lives. Has this period influenced your thought processes in relation to the direction you want to take with your music career?

Covid-19 has really halted everything. At the same time, it really has given me a lot of time to think because usually, I would be travelling and doing shows and interviews. But without being able to do that, I’ve used that spare time to focus on certain aspects [of my career] and moves that I want to make. 

If you could choose one artist to collaborate with in the Nigerian music industry, who would it be?

Ohhh that’s a tough one. I would say Wizkid. 

What’s next for you in the near future?

Definitely more visuals and music. And hopefully, you might see me in Nigeria. 

Photography: Jesse O’ Brien

Mediaweek Morning Report: July 1 2020 – Mediaweek

QMS Media has successfully secured an exclusive 10-year agreement, with a further option, with the City of Sydney to reinvigorate one of the world’s most sought after and prestigious outdoor advertising assets.

QMS Media will introduce new inventory to be installed in the second half of 2021. In addition to the incumbent JCDecaux, The City of Sydney also received a tender from oOh!media.

Following a thorough and robust selection process, the City of Sydney has determined QMS to be a genuine partner in the execution of their 2030 vision for the City. The long-term agreement incorporates the design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of what will be a predominantly digital advertising landscape, creating a dynamic Sydney CBD media channel.  

QMS group CEO, Barclay Nettlefold said QMS was honoured to win the coveted City of Sydney contract.

“The City of Sydney Street Furniture contract is universally recognised as the jewel in the crown of Australia’s OOH industry. QMS is proud to be recognised for our credentials, capabilities and people in securing this contract. We thank our new owners, Quadrant Private Equity, who have been very supportive in enabling QMS to submit a compelling proposition that will facilitate the development of an exciting new premium advertising landscape.”

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the new suite of furniture equipped with predominantly digital panels would support the City’s post-Covid recovery and refresh the city centre streets.

“The new suite of furniture will help modernise our streets while also providing significant revenue to the City, which will help us maintain high quality services and public spaces for our residents, businesses and visitors,” the Lord Mayor said.

“This deal means we will have the capability to display real-time event, transport and emergency information on modern, sustainably designed and energy-efficient street furniture.”

Commenting on the significance of this win, Nettlefold added: “This is a game changer, not only for QMS but for the broader OOH industry. The scale of such an opportunity does not come along often.”

QMS will develop a new Sydney based operations hub to support installation, maintenance, cleaning and repair with a dedicated operations and maintenance crew to service the new Street Furniture contract.

The new contract will see QMS begin the inventory rollout in the second half of 2021. Prior to this, there will be expansion of the business with more than 40 new appointments reflected across all key business functions as part of the commitment to outstanding service delivery for the City Of Sydney.

Commenting on the loss of the tender, JCDecaux ANZ CEO, Steve O’Connor said:

“We are, of course, disappointed not to retain this contract.

“The City of Sydney was JCDecaux’s foundational contract in Australia, and we have since built a tremendous business here and in New Zealand. In 1997 we partnered with the City to pioneer advertiser-funded street furniture in Australia, replacing run-down bus shelters, kiosks and benches with architecturally-designed quality infrastructure that is still relevant today – it is now part of the fabric of the City. For over 20 years, JCDecaux has cleaned, repaired and maintained this infrastructure to an extremely high standard. We are proud of this shared history between our two organisations.

“While a meaningful contract, it is not of the same calibre as the one we entered into in 1997. Irrespective of the result of the tender, JCDecaux will maintain a significant presence in the City of Sydney into the future due to its payphone contract with Telstra. The payphones populate Sydney’s most premium locations, while large swathes of bus shelters on highly trafficked city streets have been removed through the installation and operation of the light rail.

“Commuters and advertisers can rest assured that for JCDecaux it will be business as usual until at least 31 January 2021, and possibly longer. We will continue to provide these services with total professionalism and dedication until required. Further, we will continue our long-standing relationships with the many cultural institutions we support here.

“JCDecaux has big plans for the future. We’re more committed than ever to our vision: to be the unrivalled Out-of-Home leader in Australia and New Zealand, delivering exceptional experiences to brands, partners and our people.”