New Artist Alert: Nigerian Born Seun “S. O.” Otukpe

Tell us about your musical journey.

I started making music professionally in 2010 at the age of 22. I signed on to Lamp Mode Recordings after they got hold of my The 5 Solas Mixtape. They are an independent record label based in Philadelphia, PA in the United States.

It is home to artistes like Json and Hazakim. In June 2011, I released my first album So iI Begins for free to critical acclaim in Christian hip hop circles.

So It Continues, my sophomore album was released in November 2012 and peaked at number 36 and 24 on the Billboard US Gospel chart and US Rap chart respectively.

So It Ends was released on the October 2015. It peaked at number 24 on the US Christian chart and number eight on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.

Your music isn’t boxed into the usual gospel vibe. Why is that?

I write my music based on what I am going through. When I was single, I wrote about singlehood, but from a Christian perspective. Now that I am married, I will still write about what I am going through and where I am in life.

It’s great, but my purpose is to grow the kingdom as a Christian so I cannot deviate from my core. I’ll talk about a social issues. My emotional and expressive nature of music is what makes me stand out.

You’ve worked alongside some of the biggest names in the gospel industry such as Lecrae. What’s that like?

It was cool. I learnt a lot both as an artiste and individual.

Does music pay all your bills?

No. I also work in church serving in ministry, so the church pays my rent and music pays everything else.

You are no stranger to rap, with a love for hip-hop birthed at a young age. Any chance we’ll get to see you dip your hand to some Afro?

Sure. I am in touch with my Nigerian roots. I even took a go at an Afro beat tune. I will, however, not abandon hip-hop because my fans love me for it and need me to preach about stuff in a language they understand.

Did you get a chance to listen to some local music and can we expect a collabo?

No. I did not get a chance to listen to it, but I believe good music is good music. If it sounds good, it’s good. This is standard across every country. If music is good, the audience will accept it and listen to it. Back home, the principle is the same. And definitely, I am open to making great Christian music with an artiste.

What are your thoughts on secular and gospel artistes doing music together?

I think it depends. If the song is going to be about addressing a social issue like the choices we make everyday, that is fine. If it’s going to be about shaking bums, well, that would really not wash down well as a Christian.

Advice to the local gospel industry?

Stay true. Remain authentic. It’s okay to copy style from outside of the country, but stay true and do real authentic music. Be grounded. Have a church, a relationship with your pastor and remain in church. Draw your inspiration from the Bible.

How was your African tour?

It has been amazing. Kenya is the last and the fifth country that I have visited. Being in Kenya for the second time has also been great. I’ll definitely be back.

What was it like performing with Nairobi’s urban movement Verse5Ve?

Having a fan base that knows your music is really humbling. The crowd was great and I loved the fresh concept of not having a stage. I salute the Verse5ve team.

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