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RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW ARTIST PAAPA-BERCHIE

What made you decide to become a soloist?

Honestly, it was overcoming the fear of public opinion and believing in myself as an artist. Once I realised that making music to me was a passion more so than an actual job, it became an enjoyment for me. I realised that I have a powerful story and message to share to the world, and I wanted to be able to tell it on my terms, and that is through music. 

Introduce us all to you and your musical history?

I have always been involved in music in my life, for I was involved in various church choirs from the age of 4 all the way throughout high school. Being involved in numerous choirs and bands inside and outside of school, it was during my time where I received vocal training from Alina Kozinska and Polly Parr Correctjer. The vocal lessons have blessed me to perform at Carnegie Hall and win two national soloist awards before I became a senior. All the training paid off for me to receive a vocal scholarship at UNC-Chapel Hill, where I would study Classical Voice under my current vocal coach, Dr. Gene Galvin. It was during my time in college that I felt that there was something more that I was being called to do with my music. Though I was involved in acapella and performing groups, I always felt there was something missing that I knew I should be doing. There would be multiple dreams where I would have conversations with God and He would tell me that I need to share my gift  to the world.

It then went from having dreams, to my family, friends, and professors inquiring about my prowess and my intentions for the gift God has given me. I was always someone who at first was very nervous about sharing my creation because though my talent had opened doors for me, it didn’t give me enough confidence for me to step out of my comfort zone and create my own personal forms of art.

It was towards the end of 2018 that I finally decided that it was time for me to finally answer the call God has given me, and dive into the creative world. It started with me releasing my very first single “Dreams” in January of 2019, and we have not stopped since then.

We have set up RGM USA sharing USA music with the uk scene and vice versa, what are your thoughts on the UK music scene?

The UK music scene is VERY dope. Definitely filled with loads of talent such as Ella Mai, Dave, Stormzy, Ama Lou, Mahalia, Che  Lingo and others that I cannot wait to get to work with as I work my way up in the industry. 

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? 

Nah I am not too big on conspiracy theories. I know there are a lot of things about the world that I have yet to discover, but as far as theories I haven’t had the thought.

What support is out there for new artists in the state of Maryland? 

The support for new artists has been getting better throughout the years, but it still needs improvement. It’s like in the DMV area everyone wants to be the top dog and wants to be above the rest of the pack, meanwhile, there is more than enough money out here for the rest of us to flourish. The DMV music scene produces some of the most versatile, conspicuous, and talented artists in the country. Once we really work in harmony together like Artists in Richmond or Atlanta, watch out.

What was the most fun you have had on stage?

My second show in 2020 before COVID hit. At my university, there is an annual festival titled BE LOUD! The energy for my performance was VERY HIGH, with the crowd engaging with the songs and also a few people singing along to some of them! It was truly an ecstatic moment for me, for it was one of the very first festivals I got to be a part of. 

What was the worst experience on stage?

So far, I have been blessed to say I have not had a bad experience on stage. 



Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about? 

One thing that has caught people by surprise so far is the fact that I am a classically trained singer and I have been singing opera/classical since I was a sophomore in high school. Another thing people would be surprised about is that I can sing in different languages, which include Italian and Spanish and am now learning twi. 

Tell us a funny story from backstage?

Backstage is always full of surprises. One time I completely forgot to go out on time when my name was called out to perform, only because there were so many jitters from me performing. It was funny because it was my very first performance ever for my school for our jubilee fest that year and at the last minute the supporting act that was supposed to come showed up VERY very late. Improvisation is something I’m now better equipped for, btu back then was something that had me shell shocked. 

If you had to describe your music to an alien how would you describe them? 

Think of it as an intergalactic phenomenon that combines the modulation of vocal prowess with earthly rhythms and patterns. 

Best gig you’ve been to that you weren’t playing? 

Dreamville festival 2019. By far one of the best festivals I have been  to where I got to see some of my favourite artists/inspirations perform. I definitely want to be able to go to dreamville again soon, but the next time I go I want to be able to perform.

What’s your biggest achievement as an artist?

So far my biggest achievement is that my music has been played across 30 national radio stations across the United States, and that in 2021 my single Queen amassed over 250K streams on spotify. 

What makes you stand out as an artist?

I know that out of all my competitors, there is not a soul that would be bale to do the same thing I am doing. The style I bring is unique, provocative, and intriguing. Instead of giving consumers something that is almost considered the “Atypical rapper/singer”, I bring a whole new vibe and joy to the game. I am not afraid to be my most authentic self with other people as well, which shines a light on my personality and flare when it comes to presenting myself as the total artist. I can sing, rap, and perform across ALL genres, while also playing the saxophone, piano, and learning twi and spanish.

Right now, what’s pissing you off the most? (Can’t say the virus )

The fact that everyone looks to find the negative in situations more so than the positive, that hate is prevalent in society today more so than love. I feel like as humans we take joy in seeing negativity prevail. I feel like though we are doing a great job to combat it, sadly hate and negativity only grows more. 

Talk me through the thought process of the single/album?

When it came to recording the project, it was an accumulation of feelings and circumstances that I had endured the past year from COVID. Ranging from graduation, depression, finding my voice/passion, love, heartbreak, and various other scenes of life, I channeled all of those stories into the project that I created. With music, I never really want to rush to record just anything, I record my current life and situation at the moment, kind of like an audio diary of sorts. 

What was the recording process like?

Recording took a span of almost a year to finish the project, only because of countless studio sessions of refining and fine tuning each song so that it fits the vision that I want. When it came to cutting down the songs and putting them on the project, it seriously came down to tone, the message, and the marketability. I always want to make sure to put my very best foot forward with recording, and I believe that I was able to make a leap by doing just that.

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single/album?

For me, the biggest curve was the writing, only because I always take my time to make sure I make the lyrics of my songs have storytelling, depth, and emotion. Channelling different thoughts and feelings that I usually never tap into was a big learning experience for me, and I believe it has not helped me grow as an artist, but as a human as well because I am more in control of my emotions. 

Would you change anything now that it’s finished?

I believe I wouldn’t change a thing with the project because it was finished the exact way I wanted it done, and I couldn’t be more proud. 

What are your plans for the year ahead? 

Next year is going to be a HUGE one. I can’t say too much how things will go and what’s to come, but one thing I know for certain is just to get ready because 2022 is going to be a very exciting time!!

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

Stay true to others and always be kind to people. Never forget to treat others the way you want to be treated and extend grace towards others, for not only will you know whose life you will impact, but you never know the kind of bonds you will create along the way. Life is a gift, yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and we can choose to make each 24-hours we have special. That is why we call it the present. Seize the moment, and never let go.