SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — With a record deal under their belt at just 18 years old, a local composer’s dreams of Broadway are coming true.
“I’ve had my sights set on New York and Broadway from a very young age,” said Sushi Soucy, who’s been writing full-length musicals since middle school.
In fact, the playwright and actor’s first musical was aptly titled, “Middle School Musical.”
“Even when I was like, 11 years old, I was like, ‘I’m gonna go to Broadway!’” Soucy told WSAV NOW. “I can’t believe that I’m finally, slowly inching my way towards my childhood goal.”
An unexpected partnership between Soucy and fellow Instagram user, Morgan Smith, led to the former Savannah Arts Academy student’s inclusion in a deal with Broadway Records.
The record label released their musical, “Over and Out,” via major streaming platforms on Jan. 15.
“I think originally, it was supposed to come out in October, but a lot of the dates fell through, so we ended up pushing it back until January,” Soucy said.
The concept recording is the second release in a three-part series of musicals set in the online world of Averno.
Popular among teenagers around the world, Averno is a fictional Virginia township “where a lot of supernatural, creepy, crazy things happen,” says Soucy, who describes it as a transmedia franchise with similarities to the Marvel universe.
“But it is more on the witchy and magical side,” Soucy said.
The fictional world, set over the course of 300 years, currently consists of “13 musicals, four novels, a television show, podcast, concept album, webcomic musical, virtual reality and more,” according to its website.
“One of them really, really wants to find an alien and meet one, so they’re trying to scan through the channels on their walkie talkie to find an alien, but they accidentally tune into the wrong channel and meet a girl,” Soucy said.
“Over and Out’s” release follows “Willow,” the first musical released in the three-part series. It was written by Morgan Smith and 16-year-old August Greenwood, a friend of Soucy’s.
Broadway Records will reportedly release the third musical in the series, “Bittersummer,” within a few months.
‘It’s been a wild ride’
Soucy explains that their involvement in the project stems from a direct message they received from Smith via Instagram last summer.
As the pandemic continued to unfold, Soucy began amassing a large following on TikTok. To date, their short clips have garnered 1.9 million likes.
Greenwood, who Soucy met via TikTok, offered to introduce Soucy to Smith, the 21-year-old creator of Averno.
“Morgan kind of slid into my DMs on Instagram and was like, ‘hey, do you want a record deal? Because I can get you one if you write this music for me,’” Soucy said.
Smith had already been in talks with Broadway Records about the production of Averno musicals, Soucy explained.
Smith asked Soucy to write around 10 songs for a musical the creator was developing and shared that a triple-record deal was already in the works when they connected.
“Morgan sent me an outline of what they wanted ‘Over and Out’ to be, it was just a couple of pages of what the synopsis of the story was, and they would highlight parts of the outline where they wanted songs to be,” Soucy said.
“I would just take that and write a song based on whatever was happening at that point in the outline,” they said.
Soucy’s music-writing process involves coming up with the chords first, followed by developing the lyrics and melody at the same time.
“Then, I’ll record it and add other instrumentation as I see fit,” they said.
During an invite to Smith’s family cabin in Connecticut, Soucy recorded most of the music in Smith’s father’s recording studio.
“It was super awesome,” Soucy said. “I had to go home early, so I didn’t get to record all of it, but I did go back up to Maryland to record the rest.”
While Soucy’s writing and vocals are heard on the concept album, they say that they don’t believe they will be playing the character of Solar when the musical eventually comes to life on stage post-pandemic.
“It’s been a wild ride; these are people that I met just a few months ago and they already feel like family, and it’s insane,” said Soucy, who has so far written over 17 musicals.
“The team that I’m working with is so incredibly talented, smart, [they] work so fast, and they’re all incredible and amazing,” they said. “That’s my favorite part of the experience, is the friendship and bonding that comes along with it.”
The young composer, who plans to write future musicals and work with Smith in the future, offers some advice for other creators hoping to bring their dreams to life.
“Just try to put yourself out there on every platform,” Soucy recommended.
“Definitely start with social media, and even if you don’t have any professional recording equipment or anything, it doesn’t matter; just produce content and eventually, you’ll get there,” they said.
“Over and Out” is available to stream on digital platforms including Spotify, iTunes and Apple Music.