Annie Sumi, a singer/songwriter originally from Whitby but based in North Bay, will be performing at the RMG Friday fifth anniversary celebrations Feb. 5 2016. Sumi heeded the call of the north while researching universities.
"North Bay caught my eye because of the landscape. On the front cover of Nipissing's promotional brochure there was a photograph of Duschesnay Falls, and, when I went up to visit, I fell in love with the lake and the trees and the riverways. There is a certain point along highway 11 where the air gets sweeter, and it fills your whole body with energy," says the 21 year old who already has a fan in Canada's boyfriend, George Stroumboulopoulos. A friend and Strombo co-worker was playing Sumi's cover of Coldplay's "Green Eyes" and it caught the ear of the Toronto tastemaker. He then featured her on his national radio show.
Sumi's debut album, all originals, titled Reflections, was released in April 2015. It was recorded amongst the northern pines with producer Bob Leggett. Sumi has toured extensively and played several festivals including Shelter Valley where she met fellow Whitby songbird Jadea Kelly. Sumi also learnt from Whitby's most famous country family, The Stellas.
"I used to take guitar lessons at the Music Scene, in Whitby, and they were the co-owners of the Scene. They listened to me strum away on my strings in those early days, and the Music Scene put an endless amount of support into my aspirations to become a musician. At that time, I needed to find my own way so I did. I was recently introduced to Jadea Kelly, and had the chance to play at Shelter Valley Folk Festival with her. Her music and her personality really captures the audience, and there is so much a girl can learn from a fireball woman like that!" she says.
She considers herself blessed to have such mentors and teachers; teachers plus the availability of open mics and the supportive atmosphere that gathers around them.
"I probably wouldn't be where I am now if it wasn't for a spontaneous burst of courage, a song, and someone to listen," she says.