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Culture

After a two-year wait, Florida-based Sofi Tukker will finally perform at Ultra

Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern. They are wearing rainbow-colored tennis clothes and standing outside.
Elizabeth Miranda
/
Courtesy of Sofi Tukker
Tucker Halpern and Sophie Hawley-Weld. She describes Sofi Tukker's music as electronic with lots of organic sounds. The duo will perform at Ultra on Saturday.

The electronic music festival finally returns this weekend after two years of cancelations, and the Grammy-nominated duo is thrilled to be performing music from their upcoming album.

The Ultra Music Festival is finally returning this weekend at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami. The event brings hundreds of thousands of music fans and 150 artists from around the world.

Sofi Tukker — the duo Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern — will perform at Ultra for the first time. They were part of the 2020 lineup, but the festival was canceled two years in a row because of the pandemic.

“We’re looking forward to it … it’s sort of an extra way to make it even more exciting,” Halpern said. “During college, I went to Miami Music Week and thought to myself, how crazy would it be if I performed at Ultra one day?”

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The duo met during their senior year at Brown University.

“I was in a jazz-bossanova trio and Tuck was a DJ, playing at the same event," Hawley-Weld explained. "He came early and saw me play and basically we mixed one of my songs on the spot. It was really fun and very effortless and organic, and we haven’t stopped ever since.”

Their joint career started while they were still in college. Hawley-Weld said they posted a song on Soundcloud and then received an email from an Apple representative asking to use their song in a commercial.

In 2020, they began live-streaming on their Instagram and Facebook pages. Hawley-Weld said DJing online gave them the feeling of being part of "a very beautiful community" during lockdown.

"It could have been one of the most isolating times and it ended up feeling like one of the more connected experiences that we’ve had. It kind of became the fabric of our life."
Sophie Hawley-Weld

Hawley-Weld has lived all over the world. She was born in Frankfurt, Germany and has lived in Atlanta, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands, Geneva and Rio de Janeiro. She attended international schools her whole life.

"My high school had 200 kids from 100 countries and what everyone was listening to and what was popular was so different than what was popular in Tucker’s high school in Boston," she explained.

"I didn’t have a sense of what American pop culture was and what was cool or what was normal ... I feel like because I moved around a lot, I had to figure out for myself what I thought was cool and what I thought was awesome."
Sophie Hawley-Weld

The duo is thrilled to finally be performing at Ultra. They will be playing a variety of songs and music from their new album, Wet Tennis, which comes out on April 29th. The video single from the album, “Original Sin,” was released last month.

“You know it’s so infectious to be around not just a couple of people, but like a sea of people who are all vibrating on that really high level and just letting their bodies move. I mean, it’s life at its best,” Hawley-Weld said.

Sofi Tukker’s debut album Treehouse, and their debut single “Drinkee,” were both nominated for Grammys.

“I would say our music is definitely electronic but there are a lot of organic sounds in it," Hawley-Weld said. " It’s not black and white but what we really want to do with our music is make people dance, make people feel joyful and happier after they listen to the music.”

When they're not touring, Hawley-Weld and Halpern split their time between South Florida and New York.

Sofi Tukker performs at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets for the event are sold out.