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Live sessions: Moses Sumney plays ‘Don't Bother Calling’ in the orchestra pit

Sydney Opera House

A note from the director, Versus Media

Moses’ unique brand of music, paired with the empty orchestra pit, gave us a great opportunity to create a special, intimate performance video. We wanted to construct a scenario in which it felt like the viewer was privy to a secret moment occurring behind closed doors.

When we scouted the pit we noticed the conductor’s camera, as well as the unique perspective of the lights falling across the theatre seating. We decided to feature those elements to hint at a narrative, as well as place more emphasis on the space itself.

Moses never performs a song exactly the same way twice—he always experiments subtly with each new rendition. This did make for a challenge in shooting, but ultimately it resulted in a rare, completely one-off performance captured on film.


An interview between Moses and his former day-to-day manager

For how meteoric his rise has been, Moses Sumney’s current wave of success is a long time coming. While he started writing music as a teenager in Accra, Ghana, he didn’t start performing his songs in front of an audience until he was 20 years old. In 2010, he moved to Los Angeles to study creative writing at UCLA, where he taught himself how to play guitar in his spare time, eventually playing in indie rock bands with his peers.

For years, Moses spent nights and weekends honing his craft in private and studying the work of other artists. He doesn’t do spicy food. He has a supremely dry sense of humour, which is rivalled only by his magnanimity. And, since 2014, he's toured relentlessly, opening for the likes of Solange, Sufjan Stevens, Erykah Badu, Karen O., and James Blake

He is one of those friends with whom you can pick up right where you left off, no matter how much time has passed. On the heels of his performance at the Sydney Opera House, we chatted about the trials of finding one’s voice, knowing when a song is “finished”, and surrendering to the artistic process.

Find more about Contemporary Music at the Opera House