Signing Stories: Sam Pounds

Date Signed: October 2022

Label: The Penthouse South / Sumerian Records

Type of Music: Rock & Soul

Manager: Jonnie Forster – The Penthouse

Legal: Christian Barker - Shackelford Law

Publicity: Heidi Anne-Noel - BMF

Web: sampounds.com

A&R: Ash Avildsen

Sumerian Records, which started life in 2006, thanks to founder Ash Avildsen, is known for bands on the heavier end of the spectrum. Metal, hardcore, post-hardcore, metalcore—you get the idea. What they’re not really known for is the sort of bluesy rock & soul that Carolina man Sam Pounds trades in. Yet, they recently signed him.

Pounds has been playing music for as long as he can remember, and playing it seriously since he was about 10 in massive southern mega-churches. “It’s literally like the Grammys,” Pounds says. “You have the lights and the big stage, you have the band that has toured with everyone. My cousin was playing for Jodeci at the time, and another was playing for Destiny’s Child. That’s the type of caliber of musician that we had at the churches. It grew from there and I started playing every instrument.”

He describes his sound as rock & soul, claiming that the “soul” is inevitable because of his Carolina roots. His influences include James Brown, Little Richard, Lenny Kravitz, and Prince. 

Pounds’ connection with Sumerian began when he met Avildsen and the pair clicked. “It was just like a genuine connection,” he says. “It wasn’t like networking. It was like, ‘I like this guy and I trust this guy with my career, and I trust his opinion.’ I think that’s the most important thing for me, is having people who you can trust with your career. That’s your baby.”

The artist is well aware that he is different from the bands that Sumerian has normally signed, but he also believes that’s what makes it work.“ I may not be like someone they have signed before, but that’s the best thing about it,” Pounds says. “The industry is saturated. Every label has two or three of each type of artist. I had the opportunity to be under a major umbrella, which Sumerian is under [Virgin], and be my unique self. There's only one person like me on the label. Sumerian is always independent. Let’s try it, let’s go. That’s the attitude that I really embrace because they believed in what I had to offer. They haven’t tried to change me or anything.”

Avildsen says of Pounds, “Sam has an incredible work ethic and charisma combined with an undeniable voice, which made me instantly want to sign him.”

Meanwhile, Jonnie Forster from Penthouse South, which also has Pounds’ signature, says, “He's a 3-dimensional artist who has paid his dues by playing out, producing for others and perfected his talent and persona. We are lucky to have hitched our wagon to this rocket ship that is Sam Pounds.”

He  has also produced the likes of Jamie Foxx, and there’s more to come from Pounds in 2023 in terms of releases and shows. Catch him while his ticket prices are still affordable.