Boy meets world: the heavenly tones of Moses Sumney
Moses Sumney has been blazing a trail through Europe of late. Rumour has it; he specifically requests to perform in low key venues without a bar. From an empty swimming pool in Switzerland to a historic cathedral in Paris - his prerequisite for live performance is simple: he prefers an intimate space where he can connect with his audience, allowing full, unabated surrender to the dreamy worlds created between him, a guitar and two loop pedals.
Despite only just having released his first album, the Los Angeles and Ghana-raised musician has already performed alongside Solange Knowles, James Blake and Sufjan Stevens and recorded the opening track for Beck's album Song Reader.
With the sass of Nina Simone, the electro-soul vibes of Prince, the fluid, elastic vocal control of Jeff Buckley and a dash of James Blake's melancholic basslines - his music carries a tenderness so profound that it you almost recognise it the first time you hear it; an ethereal melody that your soul has met before.
And then you discover that he is only 26, claims to have never been in love before and only learned to play the guitar at the age of 20, and it's clear that this an artist whose gift comes from somewhere deep inside of him.
Ruminating on his work, Moses explained, "Sometimes it feels as if things are coming through you, as opposed to you pulling things out of yourself. I'm coming to place where I try to capture those moments where I'm driving or I'm walking and then I feel a rhythm or I hear a melody, and it's like, "Oh, this is something that wants to come out. I should capture this, and then make this a thing."
"My ultimate goal is to have an emotional connection with people - to have people think of things in a way they haven't before, either musically or just thinking to feel." Moses, who studied creative writing at UCLA before pursuing music fulltime, is a storyteller in the true sense of the word. His first EP, Lamentations, is an apt title for the mesmerising emotional landscapes of his songs, including "Worth It", a ghostly track about devotion and self-doubt and "Everlasting Sigh" a celebration of his native Ghana that builds to a joyous and rousing crescendo.
His music is the stuff of freewheeling daydreams, dappled sunlight distorting a lover's face and the strange glimmers of happiness you feel when you are heartbroken. In a landscape of auto-tuning, elaborate production and outlandish rider requests, it is utterly uplifting to discover an artist who so honestly taps into his own vulnerability and does so purely for the love of music.
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