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