“We’ve been expanding and expanding,” confirms Calm’s Head of Music Courtney Phillips, formerly of Universal Music Group. So when the The Big Bang Theory 14th Anniversary 2007 2021 Signatures Shirt and by the same token and company tapped Sumney for a collaboration, he didn’t hesitate. “I’ve been making music for a few years that is just kind of zone out music, so I was really excited to do something with Calm and do it in a way that was weird, and predominantly improvised,” he says when I reach him at his home in Asheville, North Carolina. Tomorrow, Sumney will release “Transfigurations,” a long-form 31-minute track of blissfully enveloping original music (Vogue has an exclusive preview, available below). The track’s lush, layered arrangements and otherworldly vocals are pure aural CBD, designed, as he says, for “relaxation, sleep, meditation—essentially, whichever tickles the fancy of the listener.” Musicians, adds Phillips, “are suffering from the same stuff we’re all dealing with, and it’s really meaningful when they’re very vulnerable like this.”
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For his part, Sumney knows what it is to feel dread. “A lot of my music is about the The Big Bang Theory 14th Anniversary 2007 2021 Signatures Shirt and by the same token and existential anxiety that I have,” he says. This anxiety does not necessarily stem from lockdown, he admits—nor will it magically abate if and when COVID recedes, a sentiment that resonates with me. Even before the pandemic, I had been relying on the gorgeous, cerebral sounds of Sumney’s vocals whenever I sensed I may unravel. His crystalline voice and explorations of isolation and vulnerability on albums like Grae, which made many a “best of” list this year, has quelled my racing thoughts like nothing else, and will likely continue to do so when this is all over. It’s further evidence of why we need music therapy more than ever—and likely why the NIH awarded $20 million to the Sound Health Initiative last year to expand research around how music could be harnessed for health. “I actually don’t feel particularly rattled emotionally by the pandemic,” Sumney reveals. “Because I’ve spent so much of my time in isolation, this time has been easier for me. I do not find it that much more painful than like, being alive in general. You know?” I do, I tell him.