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Kupi, Prince (South Africa)  
Prince Kupi. © Steve Gordon

Since the tender age of 15, Prince Kupi has been playing the guitar. Not his instrument of choice, he initially played classical piano, until he was introduced to the guitar by his informal teacher, Rankitseng Ramela, to whom Prince's debut album "Loxion" is dedicated.

As a youngster, he listened to Radio 5's late night blues and the raw guitar sounds. He would record the tunes on cassette and practice from them. His discovery of the George Benson album "On Broadway" proved to be one of the greatest influences in his musical journey and he feels that this is where his real guitar education began.

Prince played with "The Brown Rock" band from Mozambique. They entered a competition, where McCoy Mrubata & his band were also playing. At that time, Jimmy Dludlu was a member of McCoy's band. Prince was drawn to Jimmy's character in his playing, similar to that of George Benson.

Genre: fusion
From then on, Prince made an effort to go to all his gigs. He experienced that same kind of connection with Selaelo's style and so too with Louis Mhlanga with his scat singing. Prince was enchanted by Louis, and followed him around copying his playing style.

This Southern African influence has translated strongly in his own compositions. The 10 tracks on the albums differ in style from tune to tune. With a great love for Latin and Caribbean sounds, many of the tracks convey this sensitivity, as well as the influences of smooth jazz and the typically South African Mbaqanga sound on songs like "Bohlokwa", "Mahamba Uzobuya" and "Botsotsi".

Prince Kupi © Steve Gordon
The track "Ba'agisane" carries a mixture of both the Caribbean and Mbaqanga sounds. "Loxion" was produced by Andy Narell, who due to his own musical history understood Prince's love of Caribbean sounds and Latin influences, enabling him to enhance Prince's original ideas and produce a debut album that crosses genres, yet retains a uniquely South African sound.

Prince Kupi tragically died on Sunday, 08 June 2008.

This biography courtesy of SHEER SOUND
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