New York Hybrid Soul/Jazz Band SUM Creates No Boundaries

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New York City hybrid pop/jazz/soul/funk 6 piece band SUM (pronounced soom) are bringing their unique and refreshing sound to Australia for the first time. The brainchild of revered drummer, arranger and composer Steve Belvilus, SUM is a collective of highly gifted musicians, including lead vocals by actress and singer Patryce Williams. Developing their own sound and style over the past few years, culminating in the release of the full length self titled about in 2018, SUM have been gaining critical acclaim. 

Ahead of their upcoming Australian tour, we speak to SUM about their origins, influences and more. Victor McMillan writes.

On your lead single ‘It’s Alright to Be Me’ lyrics are featured saying “What does SUM mean to me, what does SUM mean to you”, from your perspective what does the name of the band mean and represent?

The name of the band is actually explained in the song.  SUM is a Latin word that means I or to be.  “It is the I that’s bright in me.”  

Many members of the band come from classical backgrounds in music including theatre, how does the experience of making music in SUM differ? Does it allow for more creative freedom?

When working for someone else, you have working towards for filling someone else’s vision.  S U M is our vision and therefor their are no limits or boundaries in our creative process. 

SUM is a compilation of many talented and accomplished musicians, including singer Patryce Williams, how did Steve Belvilus bring the members together to form the group?

I had an opportunity to do a weekly residency in Harlem a few years ago.  I got some friends together and we just hit it.  I got the idea to bring on some original compositions that I had worked on and we would play those tunes there. It was then that the early stages of SUM began.

Amongst the group, who are some of the major musical influences that have shaped your sound?

The late 90s early 2000s NeoSoul movement is certainly an influence.  Specific artist I’d have to say Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and D’Angelo to name a few.  Roy Hargrove is another major influence.

You are about to tour Australia for the very first time, what can the fans over here expect from the live shows?

I’d say fans can expect to not only have a good time but they can expect to be moved by an experience and hopefully they will be inspired to be the best version of themselves.

What Stimulates Your Soul?

Actually human interaction. Speaking with one another and sharing in experiences together.

Follow them on social media and catch them on their upcoming “The Welcome Tour” show April 18th at The Newsagency, Sydney and April 19th and 20th at the Paris Cat Jazz Club in Melbourne. 

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Margaret TraSUM, Soul, Jazz, Pop