By Nathan Kiwere
Coopy Bly needs no introduction in Uganda and some parts of the world. His iconic stage craft and vocal prowess have cut him out as one of the leading gospel music maestros of our time.
He is a multi-award winning and highly celebrated artiste who performs in multiple genres, including reggae, raga and afro-beats. His talent has led him to scale the heights of stardom, showcasing on three continents.
Coopy Bly started out earlier in 2003 while in Senior One, when he recorded his first track – something that first opened his eyes to the possibilities latent in music as a profession.
But it was later in 2011 while at university that his vision to become a professional artiste was actualized, following the release of his afro-beat hit song called Bwaka.
This maiden song launched him onto the local scene and swung the gates wide for him. He followed it up the subsequent year with Nyweza and Sida Mukyalo in 2012.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in social science at Makerere University, he never looked back; he has pursued a blossoming music career that many of his ilk can only dream of.
Coopy Bly has since gone on to release hit after hit and dominated a big share of the airwaves. Some of the well-known tracks include What a Love and Wakayima as well as the more recent release No Way Nah.
Throughout his career, Coopy Bly has earned himself the privilege to perform on numerous international stages, throughout Africa, Australia, Europe and Asia, sharing the stage with big names within the international gospel industry.
Some of the notable stars he has performed with include Papa San, Da Truth, Isaac Blackman and Sho Baraka.
In 2016, Coopy Bly hosted his largest local gospel concert to date, dubbed Coopy Bly Live- One Last Time, where he debuted his 26 song album, What a Love.
Accolades on the shelf
Few years down the road, his rise in the Ugandan music industry has continued to grow, winning numerous prestigious awards.
These include the Olive Awards Artiste of the Year 2012, HIT Awards Gospel Artiste of the Year, Viga Awards’ Song of the Year, Reggae Artiste of the Year, Video of the Year 2016, and his most recent award of ‘Video Trailblazer of the Year 2018/2019’ in The Hipipo Awards.
In 2020, Coopy Bly was set to stage his would-be largest concert to release his latest album alongside celebrating 10 years in music at Lugogo Cricket oval, which was unfortunately postponed due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
But this did not cause him to let his guard down; during the lockdown period between April and July this year, Coopy Bly released three hits, including Tewelabira Kusaba (don’t forget to pray) that received massive play on the local airwaves.
It echoes the message in Psalms 28:7, which says: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.”
The song was a collaboration with other local gospel artistes, including Fortune Spice, Kajambiya, Katalina, Zabuli and J.K. Shine.
Caring for humanity
Coopy Bly has used his talent and earnings to start his Yimba Foundation, a charity through which he does youth empowerment through skilling.
Each year he selects 20 youths whom he gives training in tailoring, fashion design and music mentorship.
During the lockdown, his foundation distributed eight tons of maize flour and five tons of beans to needy families.
The biggest influences on Coopy Bly, musically speaking, include our own Martin Seku, who inspired him greatly while he was starting out, and Jamaican dancehall sensation Papa San.
Bly delights in the fact that his music carries the undiluted message of the Gospel.
“My biggest milestone has been knowing that my music has touched the lives of many people,” he says.
To emphasis this conviction, he released a song entitled Pita Pata, which was a renunciation of so-called gospel music that is devoid of the Gospel.
In the song, he calls upon fellow artistes to bring the Gospel back to their music.
“His urban gospel music style indeed not only has a message, but also communicates across several age brackets,” said Myco Holly, a gospel music contemporary of Coopy Bly’s that has known him for a while now.