Brookhaven native Sam Mooney’s love for creating music began early. Over the years, his desire to write and perform songs has become a passion. His outgoing personality, determination, and talent have made his work difficult for audiences to ignore.
Mooney recalls hearing his mother play Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” on the upright piano in his family home when he was just 8. At that moment, he became completely consumed by the piano and music. He began taking lessons, and by age 11, he had developed a unique taste in music that inspired him to become more serious about creating his own.
“The first musician I was obsessed with was Ray Charles,” Mooney said. “My sister played me his song ‘Georgia on My Mind,’ and I thought it was so beautiful. It just captivated me.”
Mooney said Ray Charles was one of his greatest piano playing influences. However, when it came to songwriting, Stevie Wonder was by far his biggest influence. Mooney loved Stevie Wonder’s era of music and found other more current artists with similar feels inspirational.
“I started writing songs when I was about 15,” he said. “I consider myself really lucky because there were a lot of current, soulful acts that were still popular at that time.”
John Mayer, Maroon 5, Gavin Degraw, Eric Hutchinson, Ben Rector, Green River Ordinance, and Drew Holcomb are all artists that inspired Mooney. These inspirations led him to create a unique sound that was noticed by a Jackson music producer.
“(Recording my own music) went from being a dream to a reality when I was 18,” he said. “I met a really cool, independent producer in Jackson, who was interested in recording a few of my songs. We worked on an EP together my senior year right before I came to Ole Miss and released it that summer.”
Mooney is now a senior at the University of Mississippi majoring in integrated marketing communications. During his college career, Mooney has continued to establish himself as an artist by sharing his talents and performing on the Ole Miss campus and throughout the state.
The same pride and determination associated with the efforts of pursuing his music are translated to his daily life as a college student in the ways Mooney tackles every situation. His outgoing personality and the honest interest he takes in getting to know his peers makes him a friend to many on campus. The genuine excitement he has for all things relating to his career, his education, music, and life in general are noticeable to everyone who crosses his path.
Mooney said performing is like anything other skill that improves over time with practice. He is critical of his performances and is always determined to improve. However, he finds it rewarding to look back and see how he’s grown over the years.
“It’s been three years since I first started recording music,” he said, “but every year has gotten better. I am ready to make even more music.”
Mooney plans to focus on finishing up his newest project during the holiday break. He is eager to release new music and to begin booking gigs for spring.