We had the good fortune of connecting with Summer Winter and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Summer, what makes you happy? Why?
Connection, collaboration, community, good waves, good food, gratitude, vintage velvet tufted chairs, harmonizing in a big echo-y room. This is what life is all about.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
My latest release is the most accurate representation (in sound form) of who I am. It’s playful, painfully self-aware, and really unique (most people don’t know what to do with it). A Cappella American Anxiety, or AAA for short, is a collection of a cappella jingles that parody the American millennial experience. I harmonize about our collective attention deficit disorders, body image issues, the muting of culture, and drug addiction issues in this country.
A few years ago, I set out to record a full indie album and quickly learned I didn’t have the funds (or admittedly the patience) to rely on producers/musicians that had the skills I didn’t have. As a way to deal with my anxiety, I personified my emotions through song and sang the bass, percussion, hell even the flute parts I couldn’t play. I grew up singing in choir and stomping in cheer, so I knew how to mock instruments with my voice and body. I borrowed from my favorite sounds growing up: The Beach Boys, Frankie Valli, The Manhattan Transfer, and Feist.
These short songs we’re intended to be funny interludes on my first album, but as my anxiety and other feelings needed to be pacified with songs, I became obsessed with building on them all and the album took shape. It felt really good to be able to write and perform all the parts of a song without waiting. I had spent years acting and modeling, relying on other people to give me the green light. Couldn’t a girl have some control over her life? With a new found confidence – arguably delusion – I dropped the production of my indie album and tried to sound engineer AAA completely alone aaand I had a mental breakdown. I later made this tagline for the album as a way to comfort the collective anxiety that is America: “AAA is roadside assistance for your mental breakdowns.”
Thankfully, I was pointed in the right direction and got connected with an incredible arranger, Kaitlyn Wolfberg, and a production company Jenga Productions. After working with these lovely people, I learned that collaboration isn’t all pain and waiting – you just have to find the right team. (And have thousands of dollars and time and energy, but that’s besides the point.) Joking and painful self-awareness aside, during the arranging and tracking process, I truly felt inspired, excited, and fulfilled and I am forever grateful for the journey it took to meeting my lovely team. I’m so proud of this weird ‘pella album and all that it represents.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My support system consists of an incredibly strong and inspiring chosen and real family. From my director/creative soulmate Megan Chumbley to my life-partner, siblings, and therapist, I’m able to navigate this wild thing that is art and life. Also, anything from Brene Brown really helps on the journey.
Other: Link to AAA on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/4keX583gdOYac260EnSyy9?si=896aTR55REOe5AEEKfq0cw&dl_branch=1
Sydney Rosello, Yolanda Leaney, Max Jolliffe.