Meet Damion Suomi.
- Posted on: 24 March 2009
- By: Jamie Tworkowski
i mentioned something called Summerset in the "Welcome to Australia" blog. Summerset was a house that i lived in a few years back, along with Rich and Byron from the TWLOHA team. This was about seven years ago, so it was long before TWLOHA, but i think it had a lot to do with shaping the people and ideas that would become TWLOHA. Summerset was more than a place - i suppose we remember it as something more like a season or a chapter or the good kind of gang. We were a pack, we stuck together, we dreamed each other's dreams. We fought for each other. We shared money, food, couches and cars. And i suppose we lived this way because we believed that the dreams were more important than the details. We were better as one than apart. There was always music or talk of music, and it was also the season when i first started to get excited about writing... i say it was a season, but i suppose that in a lot of ways, i never left Summerset. i still believe the things we started believing back then. i'm still looking for a lot of the things we started looking for back then... Summerset was a taste of community before i even knew to call it that, and it was a taste of home.
One from our Summerset gang was Damion Suomi. Damion was singing a song the day i met him, maybe eight or nine years ago, and he's still singing his songs today. i've heard him sing songs about hope and i've heard him sing songs about pain. He has always been honest. Damion's record came out today and i want to share an email that Rich just sent to Byron and i:
"Damion's record hit the stores today. In the midst of all the hubub, I am realizing that this is kind of a big deal. Especially for him. I was thinking back to Summerset. Seven years ago, Damion's day consisted of waking up and playing with Ruthie (the dog). Then he would scrounge the couch cushions and Jamie's change bowl for enough money to buy a pack of cloves and a 64oz. Big Gulp. He would then come home and sit out back and play PS2 and smoke the entire pack and drink the entire soda. Every now and then, he and Byron would play a gig, which meant he didn't have to scrounge for change for a week for his next Big Gulp and pack of cloves...
Today, his voice can be heard around the world- on iTunes, Amazon and Napster, locally and in the U.S. at Best Buy, FYE, and about 50 other indie record stores. Magazine editors have been amazed, blog writers have been impressed, but damn, I am just proud of him. He did this on his own. Two years ago, he decided to make things happen for himself. He worked three jobs at a time, saved his money and moved to Atlanta and slept on different couches for about six months and made a record that he paid for himself. A record that was about therapy. A record that is his way, the artist's way, of dealing with pain and hurt and brokenness. Some people say the songs are depressing. I say its honest. He doesn't aim to be sad, he doesn't write songs for other people. He did this for him, and it was only until he did, that people really took notice.
We've all grown up a bit. Some of us have been forced to. In a way, Damion is a part of the bigger Young Life and the bigger Summerset, just like we are. He is still Damion, but instead of reaching people at the bars around town, a kid in the UK bought his record today. Someone in Amsterdam got to hear what he had to say. Whether he is agreeable or uplifting, no one can deny that he worked his ass off, and he did it.
I'm proud of him. I think you guys would be too. Let's tell him."
You can buy Damion's record on iTunes
Damion Suomi on MySpace
Damion Suomi - Darwin, Jesus, the Devil, and Me from Sean Buzzgrinder on Vimeo.
i hope you get to live in a house that is also a gang. i hope you find folks you can be honest with and folks you can laugh and cry with. And i hope you find ideas so strong and true that you get to believe them years down the road.
Peace to you.