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Alumnus Paapa “Berchie” Berko (B.A. 2020) has been making waves in the R&B and hip hop music scene since he was in classes here at UNC. He’s continued to do so since graduating in December 2020. In April 2021, student staff member Audrey Ladele shared Berko’s story on finding his voice through music.

Paapa "Berchie" Berko
Paapa “Berchie” Berko

Alumni from the UNC Department of Music never cease to amaze, and recent graduate, Paapa Berko, definitely embodies this. Paapa graduated from Chapel Hill in the fall as a double major in Exercise & Sports Science and Music, where he concentrated on vocal performance. Since graduating, Paapa has been working a clinical job in hopes of becoming a physician’s assistant and owning his own practice while also working towards his dream in music of owning his own music production company. “I want to essentially take my company and have a partnership with a record label so I can sign artists and develop artists as well.”

Paapa Berko’s beginnings at UNC transformed his perception of music and what it could be. “Going to listen to different acapella groups perform, listening to the different bands, you get to develop an ear for certain sounds that you would want to add to your own [music]… You kind of mirror what you see, to make something that’s more like you.” While Paapa’s experiences in Chapel Hill have helped shape his music taste, his love for R&B and hip hop started at a young age from hearing music at home throughout middle school and high school. Paapa’s experiences at UNC, however, pushed him towards creating a fascinating blend of the two music genres, along with influences from classical music, K-pop, Afrobeats, and alternative rock. A lot of these influences, particularly Afrobeats, can be heard in his most recent music release.

Paapa Berko’s most recent music release was a single entitled, “Queen.” “When I was making this song, I just had this idea of the perfect way to fall in love with somebody… And especially during a time when a lot of people want to get into situation-ships or temporary partnerships, just to bring love and romance back.” He also discussed how he enjoys seeing love in his life as well as others’ lives, whether that means romantic or platonic love, and wanted to delve into that feeling and portray it to its fullest.

In addition to this recent release, Paapa Berko has plans to release another single and two EPs, one to be released in August and then the other in October. He commented on a single that will be released in May called “Crown,” saying that,

“At the time I wrote it, I was talking about a time in my life where I wasn’t really sure what I wanted… But then I got home, and I found it through music, what I wanted to do.”

On top of this, “Crown” is Paapa’s favorite song that he’s made so far in his music career, a discography that is already difficult to top.

The UNC Department of Music is proud to see Paapa Berko succeed before and after graduation and looks forward to his future releases. You can check out his music under the name Paapa Berchie on Spotify and Apple Music, and feel encouraged to check out his socials for music updates.

by Audrey Ladele

Listen to Paapa Berko’s music and Follow him on social:

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