Soso Tharpa: Upcycled Sonics

Soso Tharpa’s ingenuity spills out of his tracks – they bristle with energy and land with such a punch you imagine banks of sought-after synthesizers and premium signal chains, meters tickling the reds but smoothed out by a high-end console. But the Washington DC-based producer doesn’t believe that more tools bring about better music. Since he began his music production journey almost by accident after purchasing a MIDI keyboard and discovering the bundled copy of Live, he’s focused on pursuing sound through the immediate means at his disposal and avoided the creative cul-de-sac of over-abundance. 

“I didn’t have the hardest of upbringings but I had to do with what I had many times in my life,” explains Tharpa, real name Michael Aniekwe, as we chat on a video call, “and I feel like you hear that with my music. I’ll use the same sample in three different tracks, but people will never know just because of the way I processed it.” 

Aniekwe could be considered early in his career due to his concise discography, but behind the veil of publicly available music are many years spent developing his sound. Since arriving at a point where he was ready to release something out into the world, he’s chosen to keep focused on why he wanted to make music and not subscribe to the demands of the modern age, where productivity and visibility are supposed to equal success. His music has reached respected labels and DJs without the industry-approved pathways of PR and networking, serving as a heartening reminder that genuine talent shines through no matter what.

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