Moses Sumney

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Moses Sumney
Sumney performing at Pitchfork Music Festival, 2018
Sumney performing at Pitchfork Music Festival, 2018
Background information
Birth nameMoses Sumney
Born (1992-05-19) May 19, 1992 (age 30)
GenresIndie rock, electro-soul, folk, art rock, baroque pop
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, musician
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, piano
Labels
Websitewww.mosessumney.com

Moses Sumney is a Ghanaian-American singer-songwriter. His self-recorded EP, Mid-City Island, was released in 2014. He released another five-song EP in 2016, titled Lamentations. His first full-length album, Aromanticism, was released in September 2017. His second studio album, Græ, was released in 2020. Sumney has performed as an opening act for James Blake, Solange Knowles, and Sufjan Stevens.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in California, Sumney was raised by pastor parents, and moved with his family back to Ghana at the age of 10.[2] He described his childhood as "Americanized" by this age and had difficulty adjusting to the culture of Ghana, especially the rural nature of his new environment. There he grew up on a goat farm in Accra and commuted by public bus to school.[3] His family returned to Southern California when Sumney was 16, settling in Riverside.[4]

He did not learn to play any instruments until he was older, writing a cappella music for years instead. Sumney did not perform his musical compositions publicly until he was 20.[1]

After high school, he moved to Los Angeles in 2010 to attend the University of California, Los Angeles.[5] He majored in creative writing and studied poetry, which helped him improve his songwriting.[6]

Musical career[edit]

In 2014, Sumney broke into the Los Angeles music scene and caught the eye of many record labels. He said at the time it did not feel right because labels were trying to conform him into a certain image and he was still trying to discover the artist that he wanted to be. He decided to turn down these labels and move to Asheville, North Carolina.[7] His resistance to labels is reflected in his later album, Græ.[7]

Sumney's 2014 debut project, Mid-City Island, is a five-song EP that was self-recorded onto a four-track recorder given to him by TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek. The self-released EP was described by Pitchfork as "primarily composed of first-takes and improvisation; the music is stirring but purposefully incomplete".[8] Sumney joined Terrible Records after the release.[9] He considers his songs to be performance based, and that many of his recorded compositions derive from fleshing the songs out through live performance.[10]

He has performed at venues such as the Hollywood Bowl and alongside artists such as Dirty Projectors, Junip, St. Vincent, and Local Natives.[1] Sumney sang on the opening track of Beck's album Song Reader.[3] On September 30, 2016, Sumney released Lamentations, an EP which featured a guest appearance from Thundercat.[11]

Sumney's first full-length album, Aromanticism, was released on September 22, 2017 by Jagjaguwar. It received acclaim from Rolling Stone,[12] The Guardian,[13] and The New York Times,[5] which also named it one of the best albums of 2017.[14] He stumbled across the term "aromantic" when he began writing it back in 2014 and found the term resonated with him.[15] Several songs from the album have been featured in the soundtracks of various television shows. His 2017 single "Doomed" appeared in the Season 6 finale of Netflix's Orange is the New Black, and appeared again in Westworld, Season 3, Episode 3, "The Absence of Field". His 2017 single "Quarrel" appeared in Netflix’s Dear White People. His 2017 song "Plastic" and his 2020 song "Keeps Me Alive" both appeared in HBO's Insecure.

Sumney played himself in Season 1 episode 4 of HBO's Random Acts of Flyness.[16] He also appeared in the movie Creed and worked on the soundtrack alongside Ludwig Görannson and Tessa Thompson.

Sumney released his second studio album, Græ, in two parts in 2020. The first part was released on February 21, 2020,[17] and the second part was released on May 15, 2020, accompanied by a physical release of the double album.[18] In March 2020, he released the self-directed music video "Cut Me".[19] In May 2020, Sumney released "Bless Me" as a single from the second part of his album, Græ.[20]

In December 2020, Sumney's single "Me in 20 Years" was featured in a special episode of the HBO drama Euphoria.[21] Sumney contributed a cover of the Metallica song "The Unforgiven" to the charity tribute album The Metallica Blacklist, released in September 2021.[22] On December 8, 2021, Sumney released a full-length concert film, Blackalachia, recorded over two days in the Blue Ridge Mountains. An accompanying live album, Live from Blackalachia, was released on December 10.

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2018, Moses Sumney's self-directed music video "Quarrel" won a SXSW Film Festival Special Jury Award, and was nominated for a Camerimage award and UKMVA. In 2020, his self-directed video for "Cut Me" was nominated for a UKMVA for Best Alternative Video - International. Both of his albums have topped the year-end lists of Pitchfork, NPR, New York Times, Stereogum, and more.

Discography[edit]

Moses Sumney discography
Studio albums2
Live albums1
EPs5
Singles18

Studio albums[edit]

List of studio albums, with selected information
Title Details Peak chart positions
US Sales
[23]
US
Heat

[24]
BEL
(FL)

[25]
POR
[26]
Aromanticism 139
Græ
  • Released: May 15, 2020[18]
  • Label: Jagjaguwar
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download, streaming
28 8 44

Live albums[edit]

List of live albums, with selected information
Title Details
Live from Blackalachia
  • Released: December 10, 2021
  • Label: Jagjaguwar, Tuntum
  • Format: CD, LP, digital download, streaming

Extended plays[edit]

List of extended plays, with selected information
Title Details
Mid-City Island
  • Released: April 7, 2014
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: Cassette, CD-R, digital download, streaming
Lamentations
  • Released: September 30, 2016
  • Label: Jagjaguwar
  • Format: CD, vinyl, digital download, streaming
Make Out in My Car: Chameleon Suite
  • Released: May 25, 2018
  • Label: Jagjaguwar
  • Format: Digital download, streaming
Black in Deep Red, 2014
  • Released: August 10, 2018
  • Label: Jagjaguwar
  • Format: Vinyl, digital download, streaming
Bryce Dessner: Tenebre (with Ensemble Resonanz)
  • Released: September 20, 2019
  • Label: Resonanzraum
  • Format: Vinyl, digital download, streaming

Singles[edit]

As lead artist[edit]

Title Year Album
"Man on the Moon" 2014 Mid-City Island
"Scratch the Surface" / "Forlorn Fantasy" Non-album singles
"Seeds" / "Pleas" 2015
"Everlasting Sigh" 2016
"Worth It" Lamentations
"Lonely World (Lamentations Version)"
"Doomed" 2017 Aromanticism
"Quarrel"
"Indulge Me"
"Rank & File" 2018 Black in Deep Red
"Virile" 2019 Græ
"Polly"
"Me in 20 Years" 2020
"Cut Me"
"Bless Me"
"The Other Lover"
(with Little Dragon)
Non-album singles
"The Unforgiven" 2021 The Metallica Blacklist
"Can't Believe It"
(with Sam Gendel)
Non-album singles

As featured artist[edit]

Title Year Album
"Show Me Love" (Skrillex remix)
(Hundred Waters featuring Chance the Rapper, Moses Sumney, and Robin Hannibal)
2016 Non-album single
"To Believe"
(The Cinematic Orchestra featuring Moses Sumney)
2019 To Believe
"Cul de Sac"
(Trayer Tryon, Jónsi, and Alex Somers featuring Moses Sumney, Nicole Miglis, and Julianna Barwick)
2020 Non-album single

Other charted songs[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions Album
US
Dance

[27]
"Tell Them"
(James Blake featuring Metro Boomin and Moses Sumney)
2019 23 Assume Form

Guest appearances[edit]

List of guest appearances as featured artist, with the respective artists and albums
Title Year Artist Album
"Title of This Song" 2014 Beck Beck Song Reader
"Shed You" 2015 Tessa Thompson Creed: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
"Show Me Love" 2016 Hundred Waters, Chance the Rapper, Robin Hannibal, Skrillex Non-album single
"Mad" Solange Knowles, Lil' Wayne A Seat at the Table
"Cassidy" Jenny Lewis & Friends Day of the Dead
"Truth Lies Low" Andrew Bird Are You Serious
"Weekend" 2017 Flume Skin Companion EP 2
"Tell Them" 2019 James Blake, Metro Boomin Assume Form
"U (Man Like)" Bon Iver, Bruce Hornsby, Jenn Wasner i,i
"To Believe" The Cinematic Orchestra To Believe
"Standing on the Horizon" Woodkid Woodkid for Nicolas Ghesquière - Louis Vuitton Works One
"Tenebre" Bryce Dessner, Ensemble Resonanz Bryce Dessner: Tenebre
"Blood in Rain" 2020 Ethan Gruska En Garde
"The Unforgiven" 2021 Metallica The Metallica Blacklist

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated Work Result Ref
2018 Libera Awards Best Outlier Record Aromanticism Won [28]
2019 Video of the Year “Quarrel” Nominated [29]
2020 AIM Awards Best Second Album Græ Nominated [30]
2021 Best Independent Album Nominated [31]
Libera Award Best Outlier Record Nominated [32]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Out Of The Woods: Moses Sumney". VMAN. March 30, 2016. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  2. ^ Hutchinson, Kate (October 8, 2017). "Moses Sumney: 'I have an obsession with loneliness, singledom, isolation'". The Observer.
  3. ^ a b Lough, Taylor. "Moses Sumney". Issue Magazine. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
  4. ^ Kameir, Rawiya (February 20, 2020). "Moses Sumney Is Ready to Claim His Spotlight". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Pareles, Jon (September 20, 2017). "Moses Sumney Does Not Sing Love Songs". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  6. ^ "Moses Sumney, A Choir of One". KCET. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Moses Sumney Puts The Industry Behind Him And Explores The In-Between On 'Grae'". NPR.org. Retrieved 2020-11-12.
  8. ^ Cohen, Ian (June 4, 2015). "Moses Sumney: Lost and Found in L.A." Pitchfork. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  9. ^ "Moses Sumney Pipes Up". The Fader. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  10. ^ Ellis, E. Ryan. "Moses Sumney". Flaunt Magazine. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  11. ^ Moore, Marcus J. (October 7, 2016). "Moses Sumney: Lamentations Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  12. ^ "Moses Sumney Talks Defying Genres, Romantic Myths on Audacious Debut LP". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  13. ^ Empire, Kitty (September 24, 2017). "Moses Sumney: Aromanticism review – a single-minded star". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  14. ^ Pareles, Jon; Caramanica, Jon; Russonello, Giovanni (December 6, 2017). "The Best Albums of 2017". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  15. ^ Mahanty, Shannon (8 November 2018). "moses sumney on aromanticsm: the lack of romantic attraction to others". I-D. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  16. ^ "Random Acts of Flyness". IMDb. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  17. ^ Hussey, Allison (21 February 2020). "Moses Sumney Shares Part One of New Album græ: Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
  18. ^ a b Monroe, Jazz (November 14, 2019). "Moses Sumney Announces New Double Album græ, Shares New Song "Virile"". Pitchfork. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  19. ^ "Watch Moses Sumney's Excellent New "Cut Me" Video". Pitchfork.com. 2020-03-31. Retrieved 2020-05-20.
  20. ^ "Moses Sumney shares dreamy new track 'Bless Me'". NME. 12 May 2020. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  21. ^ "The Complete Soundtrack to HBO's Special 'Euphoria' Episodes". 25 January 2021.
  22. ^ He, Richard S. (2021-09-10). "Every Metallica Blacklist cover ranked from worst to best". loudersound. Retrieved 2021-10-22.
  23. ^ "Moses Sumney Chart History: Top Album Sales". Billboard. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  24. ^ "Moses Sumney Chart History: Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  25. ^ "Ultratop.be – Moses Sumney – Aromanticism". Hung Medien. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  26. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – Moses Sumney – Græ". Hung Medien. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  27. ^ "Moses Sumney Chart History: Hot Dance/Electronic Songs". Billboard. Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  28. ^ "Nominees - A2IM Libera Awards 2018". Guitar Girl Magazine. Archived from the original on August 12, 2018. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  29. ^ "A2IM Announces 2019 Libera Award Nominees". Broadway World. March 28, 2019. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  30. ^ Atkinson, Jessie (17 August 2020). "Tony Allen will receive a posthumous award for Outstanding Contribution to Music". Gigwise. Retrieved 27 October 2021.
  31. ^ Grein, Paul (June 6, 2021). "Arlo Parks Leads 2021 AIM Awards Nominations". Billboard. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  32. ^ "2021 Libera Award nominees announced". Guitar Girl Magazine. March 23, 2021. Retrieved July 7, 2021.

External links[edit]