Cope Cantrell

Capucine Cantrell’s journey to becoming a recording artist is full of life lessons and encourages anyone embarking on a music career.  Born to parents Alma and Dorsey Cantrell, she was number six of eleven siblings. At six months old her father named her Coppe because her hair looked like a brand new, shiny copper penny. She attended John Muir High School, in Pasadena, CA. Capucine later went on to college and completed all but four classes when she became pregnant with her first child. She tried to finish school but left, and made the choice of raising her son her top priority. She then met her husband to be Johnny Jackson, known by many as Johnny “J” in the music entertainment industry. Smitten by Jackson, and after just six months of courtship, the two were married. They had one child named Zhani.

Aside from the relationship, they formed Klock Work Entertainment Corp producing projects from various artists such as the legendary 2Pac. Capucine stayed mainly behind the scenes but contributed to records for 2Pac, and Coolio (Gangsta Paradise), toured as a dancer, and was the road manager for Johnny’s solo debut “I Gotta Be Me”. She also was the leading lady in his music video “Get Away from Me”. After 17 years of marriage to the legendary producer Johnny “J”, on October 3, 2008, her world came crashing down. While in jail for a 6-month sentence stemming from DUI charges., Johnny never made it home.

Capucine was devastated by her husband’s sudden death, and it took everything within her to hold it together. Ironically, during her husband’s jail sentence, Capucine returned to school to finish those classes that she didn’t finish. It was there,  after her husband passed, one of her college professors re-introduced the bible to her. Through constant prayer, reading the bible, and her now strong belief in God,  Capucine was able to get her life back together. On July 1st, 2009, God woke her up at 3 am out of a sound sleep and gave her the gift of song. Capucine started singing words of praise. Before she realized what was happening, the Spirit had given her words upon words. She had written a few songs within three hours. During all her trials and tribulations, her Lord has always had another plan for Capucine. Going by the name Coppe Cantrell, she can now say this is a new beginning of ministry in the form of a Christian Contemporary Recording Artist. Her debut album, titled “God’s Project” (Book I), attributes to God’s work on her life.  We spoke to Coppe and delved further into her music,  her life, and her faith.

Coppe, thank you for agreeing to catch up with Occhi Magazine. For readers unfamiliar with you and your background, tell us more about your introduction to the arts. 

What drew me to my career path in the arts is a very unconventional way. It was a miracle. First and foremost, I would have to tell you, my life stories.  I grew up in a large family, with a total of eleven brothers and sisters, raised in a Catholic home by both of my parents.  We grew up with very humble beginnings. It was tough having so many of us to take care of, but we made it through by the grace of God.

We lived in Pasadena, Altadena Calif. Often, you didn’t realize you were in the next city so we call it Dena.  I attended John Muir High School, wherein, I was on Tall Flags, which was a part of the High School Marching Band. I played on the Volleyball Team, BSU, Mecha Club, and I was Vice President of my senior class.  I later went on to Junior College, where I was a cheerleader, and later became pregnant with my son Niamyja.

I was a single mom, out there trying to make it, when I would meet my husband to be Johnny Jackson, known to many in the industry as Johnny “J”.  After we got married, he was introduced to 2Pac, who became his biggest music collaborator, and producer, selling over 100 million records.  During this time, I was able to have the opportunity to be at all those recording sessions they did together.  We are talking about thousands of hours together in the studio.  I even got to play some small parts on records like “How Do U Want It”, Hit Em Up, and “Death Around the Corner”.  I wasn’t a singer though I always wanted to be. I was tone-deaf.

Fast forward, after the death of 2Pac, life’s ups and downs, and being blackballed in the industry, my husband took his life in 2008. It was after the death of my husband that God had another plan for me. I started reading the bible to get my life back on track.  During this time, I attended Junior college to finish the classes that I had not completed. It was a college professor that re-introduced the bible to me. After about six months of reading the bible, he had given me a prophecy that I was going to be a singer.  I laughed at him.  He laughed back and said, ‘you’re gonna be a singer, and your name is going to be COPPE’.

I tell you, I was astonished that he knew my nickname. I had not told him what my nickname was, though I laughed at his prophecy. I was more intrigued by how he could know my childhood nickname when only my family and childhood friends knew this.  Just three months after I was given the prophecy, it came true.  On July 1st, 2009, out of a sound sleep, God woke me up, and words of praise started coming out of my mouth. I literally woke up and started singing.  I started crying and singing, then I started writing songs, mind you this was at 3 AM, in the morning.

This was a true miracle. I felt like I was being baptized or dunked in a pool of water. I woke up singing. I was not a singer before this even though I wanted to be one. God did not give me that gift until I was 40 years old.  Something I can remember my late husband saying to me was, “I wish you could sing like Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey’. No, I’m no Whitney nor Mariah, I am who God made me be -COPPE CANTRELL, singing to glorify him uniquely.

Ever since that prophecy, I was writing songs and lyrics without music. When the prophet came back, I told him the news. He said, “now God wants you to put your lyrics to the music that your husband left behind”. I was overwhelmed.  I was like OMG, all those songs I wrote, I must match to the music.  It was a difficult task in the beginning, trying to match my melodies to fit the music he left behind.  One song became two songs.  Then, once I finished those, I was able to write directly with the tracks he left behind.

After all of this, I was able to release my debut album “God’s Project (Book I), along with the first single “Holly Groove”, which had a warm reception.  I have recently released a “Dance in the Dark”, and “Pick the Gate” which have gone to number one on the World Indie Music Charts and European Music Charts.

Who were your early influencers

My early influencers were my late husband Johnny “J”, and 2Pac. Although I don’t sing in the  R & B, and Hip Hop/Rap genres,  Johnny’s music is every track that I have written except for two. His influence is all over this album, musically.  Though my music is not secular, the musical influence is. Maybe that’s what God wanted- to draw in those people who would normally be reached by them, to be reached by me utilizing the same tracks.

As far as having influences as a Christian Contemporary Recording Artist, there was no one influence that I can truly say has influenced my music.  I will tell you I do love Toby Mac’s work, King and Country, and numerous Christian Hip Hop Artists, whom I’ve heard on the radio, but I can’t say that they influenced my work.  I did work with a few underground Gospel Hip Hop artists- Eastwood, Macho, and Shames Worthy, who through Gospel DJ ELVEE, put those collaborations together.  I will try to add a few more features for my future album, but I also think that it’s important to be able to establish yourself, not just rely on features to carry you.

Which three traits define you?

I would say that the first trait that would define me is that I am a self-starter, a businesswoman, that knows what she wants, who will try to figure things out, to be able to learn from those mistakes, and not just have everything handed over to me, because you can’t learn if everyone does everything for you.  I would consider myself to be a kind person, who wants to give to others, I always have a big soft spot for those who are less fortunate. I would consider myself to be a very loyal person, I think this is very important for any relationship because you need to be able to trust who you deal with, I think loyalty goes a long way, and you can’t build a team, friendship, marriage, business partners, without loyalty.

Please tell us about your latest project 

My next single to be released is “Jesus Rocks”. It will be hitting the radio on March 31st, and it will be available online for purchase on April 7, 2023.  This song is produced by Johnny “J” and myself. I wrote and produced the lyrics. The tracks were written, and produced by my late husband Johnny “J”.

I will be releasing every song on the album as a single, “Set Me Free” on June 9th, Swing to The Right/Keep Asking on July 21st, and my album and single “The Breastplate of Righteousness, which is also the title track of the album. I will be releasing that on September 8th.  There are some surprise collaborations, I am working out those deals right now, so I don’t like to mention things that have not come to fruition yet, but for the most part, this album is all me with a couple of collaborations.

What other projects are in the pipeline?

I am recording continuously in the studio for my next project coming in 2024, The Helmet of Salvation.  I am also working on a documentary about my late husband’s life titled Johnny “J” LEGEND (The Man Behind the Music).  I am working on a book that coincides with the documentary, with the same title, as well as Johnny “J” instrumental Vol I.  I am also looking for more talent because although I am a recording artist, I am also an owner of my own entertainment company Klock Work Entertainment Corp. You can see what’s coming, and check out the Sizzle Reel to the upcoming documentary on, and

Where can our readers find out more about you?