Writer Sarah Walsh
Photographer Lucia De Giovanni
Few people are dynamic enough to be both creatively and technically talented. Soji Otuyelu is the rare exception. By day, Soji works as a mechanical engineer at R.H. Sheppard Co., but by night, he embraces his creative side through songwriting and performing at open mic nights.
Soji previously lived in Schuylkill County, but he was looking for a change of scenery. At first, he considered Baltimore, but he “didn’t want to deal with the rush, rush, sit-in-traffic kind of lifestyle.” Eventually, Soji found himself attracted to York’s adult recreation activities and happily relocated despite not knowing anyone who lived here.
Since establishing his artistic career in York, Soji’s music has taken on a style all its own. Soji credits the York community and his experiences here for influencing his musical styling to what he now calls “Susquehanna River Soul.”
When not performing, Soji channels his inner child. “I’m into playing sports, fun recreation stuff. Kickball leagues, softball leagues, a lot of outdoorsy stuff — all within 15 minutes of downtown. I can enjoy city living but without much of an effort appreciate a social and outdoorsy lifestyle,” he says.
He likes that York is a fun place to live. “People are so readily available for friendships in York. It’s not that hard to say, ‘Hey, what’s going on? I’m new; what might I find interesting?’” he says.
Now that he’s recently married and establishing his new family, Soji’s focus has shifted more toward the arts and listening to other musicians. But he still makes time to coach soccer and go to the occasional open mic night. With no plans to relocate in the near future, Soji and his music will hopefully be a part of York’s culture for years to come.