Anjimile wanted to play at a tiny desk then settled for the big stage

In June 2018, WBUR announced its favorite Massachusetts entry to NPR’s ongoing Tiny Desk Contest. That honor went to Anjimile Chithambo, a Texas native who relocated to Massachusetts in 2011 to attend Northeastern.

Anjimile, as a musician, sits within the indie folk tradition, though with noticeable influences from ambient, rock, and pop music. It’s this blend that allows Anjimile to credit the works of Sufjan Stevens, Lauryn Hill, and Michael Jackson in the same breath.

Originally, Anjimile hadn’t planned to enter the NPR contest. That is until a friend named Justine Bowe, who performs under the name Photocomfort and is featured in the video Anjimile submitted for the contest, heard Anjimile’s song “1978” and thought it stood a chance.

But Anjimile acquired more musical training in that one year, leading to the ability to write “1978” and gain more critical acclaim.

“I think one obvious difference between ‘Therapy’ and ‘1978’ is that, between those two songs, I learned more guitar chords,” Anjimile said with a laugh. “Thanks, Northeastern!”

Joking aside, Anjimile does credit this leap in ability to certain skills learned as a student. Having taken classes in songwriting and music licensure, the musician acknowledges the support that can come from academia—”specifically the music industry major that I’m a part of,” Anjimile said.

Anjimile continues to spread roots across the greater Boston area; next up is a performance in Lowell on October 19 as part of The Town and the City Festival.

The musician is also represented in the Boston Music Awards, securing nominations in three categories: Unsigned Artist of the Year, Folk Artist of the Year, and Singer-Songwriter of the Year. Fellow Northeastern student Sidney Gish was also nominated for Unsigned Artist of the Year.

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