Born in 1955 in Dimbokro, south-central Ivory Coast, NST Cophie's (Ernest Koffi) grew up surrounded by music. Influenced both by his family – his grandmother and father were both musicians and his half-brother Alpha Blondy has himself had a successful musical career – and by American jazz musicians such as Chick Corea and Miles Davis, Ernest quickly realised that the only career he wanted was to be a musician himself. As he reminisces, "Everyone was a musician. Music was in the blood". It seems only natural therefore that he decided to start his first band with fellow Ivorian musician Desire Gadeau in 1968, followed by another outfit, The Husband Mackers, in 1970.
By the mid-decade, the bright lights of Paris were calling and in 1976 he moved to France to perform as part of Bozambo, a new jazz-rock band with Desire Gadeau, Augustinian Dahoué, Theophilus Mell, Maxim Yao, Dom Nanock and George Sissoko. Four years later, having played with other well-known bands such as N’Bamina, Osibisa, and with numerous artists including Jimmy Hyacinthe, Papa Wemba and Ernesto Djédjé, NST Cophie's released his first and self-funded solo album Mon'Da Center in 1980, recorded at Studio Caroline in Paris's 20th sector over the space of one week.
In sum, Ernest states that his mission is “to have my music in everyone's minds because of the sacrifice that I made to provide the best quality. I just want to be recognized by those who want to share the emotion of life… My mission is to stay in my fans' hearts and to connect with them the best I can through my music by expressing our life experience. My belief is that musical sensitivity brings reality through life.”
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