Local artist’s debut album is doing well on iTunes charts

Published 1:30 pm Sunday, July 20, 2014

PHOTO SUBMITTED / Brookhaven native Sam Mooney poses for a photo shoot in Hattiesburg for his debut album, "Somewhere in Between," available now on iTunes.

PHOTO SUBMITTED / Brookhaven native Sam Mooney poses for a photo shoot in Hattiesburg for his debut album, “Somewhere in Between,” available now on iTunes.

Local singer, song writer and musician Sam Mooney put every ounce of his energy into completing his first album, “Somewhere in Between,” over the past summer, and his hard work has paid off.

The album debuted at No. 15, and within 12 hours of the release, Mooney’s album held the No. 1 spot on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter EP chart for two days straight and was also in the Top 10 Singer/Songwriter Album Chart.

The album is a diverse collection of original songs by Mooney with sounds ranging from the soulful pop of “Heartbreaker” to the southern rock and country of “The Love You Never Knew.”

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Mooney said he does not have a favorite song on the album, but he does have a unique appreciation for each track on the record.

“As a songwriter there’s a certain amount of autobiography in my music, so every song I write means a lot to me.”

The album’s sounds are as eclectic as Mooney’s personal iTunes repertoire. His influences include early Maroon 5, John Mayer and John Legend, as well as a little Gavin DeGraw and the older music of Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye.

Mooney said he wanted to present the EP as diverse but cohesive and to show the different sides of his artistic ability.

“We set out to make an album that would showcase the diversity of my music, but would also still be cohesive. I really believe we’ve accomplished that, and it’s an awesome feeling to release an EP that I truly feel proud to perform for people.”

By “we,” Mooney means his producer and team at BlueSky studio in Jackson. The artist’s studio support was composed of Casey Combest, producer, and musicians Luke Campbell, Josh Rosonet, Alex Warren, Tyler Kemp, Judson Wright and Corey Carter.

Mooney said the three months he spent working with BlueSky Studio were the most educational and beneficial months of his musical career so far.

“It was a win on so many levels to work with an incredible studio to create the album we did,” Mooney shared.

The artist has come a long way since his first performance years ago when he was nervous about singing and playing piano in front of other people.

Mooney has long since graduated from the newbie jitters and has gone on to compete and win several talent competitions. Included was the Mid-South Fair talent show, the largest amateur youth talent competition in the world, which garnered him a $2,000 cash award and a private audition with CBS Studios.

Mooney also graduated from the summer program at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, with the prestige of winning the Performing Songwriter Competition.

Of all of his early accomplishments as a musician and vocalist, Mooney has yet to lose his authentic charm and humbleness; his personal trademark among friends. He gives the credit for his success to his teachers, Marvin Curtis and Greg Smith, at Brookhaven Music and Sound Co., and Lorin Lewis, his vocal coach.

Mooney said he was blessed to grow up in such a supportive environment as Brookhaven. “The relationships I have established here by playing locally have absolutely made me a better performer,” he said.

“I never had to tell him to practice,” remarked his former piano teacher, Curtis.

Curtis, who has taught Mooney since he was 7 years old, said the young artist liked the Blues early on. Curtis tried to help him find what style he was interested in and give him direction. Mooney has been his best student by far, Curtis said, adding that he sees a bright future ahead of him, not just as a professional musician, but also as an adult.

“I am just so proud of him,” Curtis said.

Lorin Lewis, Mooney’s vocal coach, described him as every teacher’s dream student, adding that she enjoys preparing challenging lessons with Curtis for Mooney to learn.

“The sky is the limit for his future, and I look forward to watching him succeed,” said Lewis.

“Of course I want success, just like any other artist out there,” Mooney said, “but it really doesn’t matter if I make $1 million or $1 dollar. “My goal is to write music that connects with people on a personal level.”

Mooney’s album is available now on iTunes and you also can keep track of him on the Sam Mooney Music Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter.