Richmond artist confronts societal norms with recording debut

Tackling societal norms through music is what one Richmond resident is doing to push through the challenging times of COVID-19.

Amanda Sum, 22, found music to always “be there for her” during tough times and she is using it to uplift others in similar situations as herself.

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Sum, who has been attending theatre auditions for the past five years, found herself unable to escape from societal norms.

She would seek out auditions explicitly asking for “Asian women” or only applying for grants that are for “artists in under-represented communities.”

 “I simply want to ask people to listen and be aware of (societal norms) because I find that as a young unassuming Asian woman, a lot of the times people don’t listen,” said Sum, adding that is why her debut song touches on themes of conformity and confrontation.

 “I don’t need (people) to feel sorry for me; I don’t need them to lift me up and empower me. I just want others to be there to take it in just as I would for others in day-to-day life.”

Sum told the Richmond News her studies in theatre allowed her to consistently question “why (her) work was so important.”

“How do we talk about these things and make them accessible for everyone and not fall into these tropes of victimization or empowerment, but just highlighting the everydayness we go through,” said Sum.

While she grew away from music after moving onto studying theatre arts at Simon Fraser University (SFU), she found that music always “waited for her” on the sidelines.

“Music somehow came back to me because of my theatre work … and my long-term goal and interest now is to combine the two disciplines in different ways to reach out and share similar experiences with other artists.”

Sum’s debut single, Groupthink, will be released on Sept. 4 on Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp and iTunes.

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