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Alumnus Paapa Berko finds his voice through music

For Paapa Berko of the Class of 2020, Carolina transformed his perception of music and what it could be.

Paapa Berko holding his graduation cap.

Alumni from the College of Arts & Sciences’ Department of Music never cease to amaze, and recent graduate Paapa-Berchie Berko ’20 embodies this. He graduated from Chapel Hill as a double major in exercise and sports science and music, where he concentrated on vocal performance.

Since graduating, Berko has gone back to school for cybersecurity and launched a small business, Berchie Music and Entertainment.

“Carolina equipped me with not only the leadership skills but the confidence, tenacity and wisdom for me to navigate through the music and tech industry,” he said. “My time at Carolina helped me work on my communication skills, both personally and professionally, so I can continue building relationships throughout the course of my lifetime.”

Berko’s beginnings at Carolina 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],” he said. “You kind of mirror what you see, to make something that’s more like you.”

His love for R&B and hip hop started at a young age from hearing music at home throughout middle school and high school. His experiences at Carolina, 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 music.

Berkos’ music can be found on Apple Music and Spotify