THE fantastic SUMif has been telling me about...
her latest single, Obvious, and what its tale is. I wanted to discover which artists she grew up around and whether we might see more material coming along – SUMif reveals when music became her life and what life is like in San Francisco.
The U.S. songwriter chooses a few albums that are important to her; whether she will come to the U.K. and play; the artist she’d support given the chance and some rising musicians we need to follow – she chooses a cool track to end the interview with.
Hi, SUMif. How are you? How has your week been?
Fabulous! I just got back from a week skiing in Japan actually!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Sure thing. I’m SUMif. I’m based in San Francisco, California and I make Electro-Pop music. My main goal is to make you dance, or bob your head...or move at least a little.
Obvious is your new track. What is the story behind the song?
Obvious is about the moment when I met someone who opened my eyes, who allowed me to see my truth clearly. At the time, I had been avoiding the reality of a certain situation but, all of a sudden, the answer was sitting in front of me in plain sight.
Is there going to be more material coming along this year?
Always and forever will you be getting new material from me! But, yes, I have a little E.P. coming out very soon followed by many new singles and another E.P.
Do you recall which artists you were listening to growing up?
Yes! Lots of The Beatles, Sheryl Crow and Mary Chapin Carpenter. Those are the distinct names I can remember my parents loving, so they were often plated at home or in the car.
Was there a moment when you realised songwriting and music was your calling?
I wrote a song my senior year of high-school about a boy (lolz) I met who lived across the country. We met at a pre-college summer camp of sorts. I was crazy about him and wrote this poppy little song on my acoustic guitar and sang it for my school talent show.
Someway, somehow, my song ended up getting voted our class graduation song the song they play when you throw your hats up in the air…in front of the three-thousand-plus people in the audience…usually a song like Green Day’s Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) or Vitamin C’s Graduation would win.
It was the first time in my life that others saw my art and especially my songwriting as something worth paying attention to. I used this song to audition to the music program at NYU and, when I got in, it further led me to believe in myself as a songwriter.
You have become a San Francisco staple. How important is the area and the people?
S.F. is truly home. I could gush about the beauty of the Bay area for ages. I arrived in S.F. six years ago knowing essentially no one. I built a life there, one that I am so, so proud of. I am surrounded by the most fun brilliant excellent supportive people I could imagine there - they’re my family.
On top of that, I’ve able to build up my music project there and am a big fish in a little pond. In the Bay, they play me on the radio and I’m a go-to support act for smaller Pop acts that come through town. These are things that wouldn’t happen to me in L.A. where there are so many people trying to do exactly what I am.
Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?
So, so many but, in this moment, I would say playing Pride on the main stage last summer. It was beyond my wildest hopes for the performance. The sun was shining; it was hot (very rare for S.F.) and there were somewhere between five-hundred and one-thousand people watching me but they weren’t just watching; they were jumping and singing and...it was everything. Playing at Pride and waving around a rainbow flag was really a true symbol of freedom for me and my journey with coming out and coming to terms with being gay.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Odesza - In Return
Cinematic-Pop that makes me jump and pretend to bang on drums no matter where I am or what I’m doing. I’ve seen Odesza live over ten times – they truly embody my goal of making people want to move with my music.
Tove Lo - Lady Wood
Tove Lo is an incredible songwriter, performer and artist. She is one of my biggest inspirations.
Jack’s Mannequin - Everything in Transit
This album came out right around the time I got my first car, where it held a permanent position in the C.D. player. Each track was and still is Pop-Rock perfection in my book.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Tove Lo. My rider would definitely have a ton of Harmless Harvest Coconut Water and RX bars.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Be authentic, be unapologetically yourself and don’t give up when it gets frustrating or hard - because it will be frustrating or hard most of the time.
Do you think there are going to any tour dates coming up?
I sure hope so. Right now, just S.F. on March 1st for Noise Pop Festival.
Might you come to the U.K. and play at some point?
Dying to! Help me make it happen?
IN THIS PHOTO: Sigrid
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I travel quite a bit, so I essentially save up my ‘chill time’ and my spend time away from music while seeing new places. My greatest passion aside from music is exploring new places but, when I’m at home and living a normal week, I tell myself that, if I have time to watch T.V. or a movie, then I have time to work on music.
So, I try not to do many ‘wind down’ activates. I am working on reading more though! I am learning French and, while it’s not really unwinding, it is something completely different that I do enjoy.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Hmmm. SO hard to pick just one song. But, right now, let’s go with Flight Facilities – Clair de Lune. Thanks so much!