Callum Afcouliotis got his music education from an iPod at a young age. The singer, who performs under the name COTIS, can still remember the time when his older brother loaded a bunch of songs for him and he “went completely in, and just listened to as much stuff as possible.” Included in there were songs by Kanye West and Kid Cudi.
Little did his brother know, though, that those tunes would inspire COTIS to start writing “little raps and songs” himself. At first, it wasn’t much (“I’d write like, one verse every six months”), but it was clear that being creative would become an important outlet for him.
Now 19 years old, COTIS is slowly but surely carving out a space, somewhere nestled between pop, R&B, and hip-hop, that’s garnering him lots of attention. Last year, he put out “Phone Light Up,” his biggest song to date, which has accumulated more than 3.6 million streams on Spotify. The song finds COTIS’ melodic flow – one that closely evokes Post Malone at times – riding a bombastic beat that was tailor-made for the club. It’s what he might describe as a banger.
But even with that hit, which was included on his latest EP Wait! alongside poppier dance tracks like “All Night” and “Ride,” COTIS admits that he still doesn’t feel like he’s “accomplished anything yet.” In the digital era, it can be easy to hang one’s hat on isolated achievements like this, but the young man knows that he’s still got a long way to go.
“I’m still trying to come into my own and find myself as an artist, and that’s what mostly matters to me,” he explains. “Streams are sick, but I’m really trying to make bangers. I’m mainly focused on staying consistent right now.”