Sun Soul Orchestra is an inspired project that features a rotating collection of artists performing original music and covers arranged by Stevo Théard and Ginger Murphy. Their debut album, “What Matters Most” has been a labor of love over the past 5 years and finally releases worldwide, physically and digitally. On the surface it would seem that Los Angeles, CA, based Stevo and Ginger could not come from more disparate planets in the musical universe. Ginger came up in the highly structured, extremely regimented world of classical music training, while Stevo got most of his training on the job, at first playing nightclubs and gigging locally, then graduating into the world of international touring and recording.
Stevo and Ginger are both working musicians and have hundreds of amazing credits including working with many superstars throughout their careers. Stevo has worked with Michael McDonald, James Ingram, Peabo Bryson, Patti Austin, Anita Baker, Terence Trent D’Arby, Keb Mo’, Branford Marsalis, and Patrice Rushen, to name a few. Ginger has worked with and performed with: Kendrick Lamar, Pat Benatar, Michael Buble, Kelly Clarkson, Sheryl Crow, One Republic, Pharrell, Barbra Streisand, Macy Gray, Josh Groban, Rihanna, Usher, Kanye West, Steve Wonder, and so many more.
This album features many world class musicians that appear throughout the album. Rastine Calhoun, who plays sax on a handful of tracks, has worked with legendary artists like Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin and Babyface. Also featured, Greg “Gee Mack” Dalton who has worked with Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige, Jay Z, Snoop Dogg and LL Cool J. Michael Hunter plays flugelhorn on a track. Michael is a world-class soloist who has worked with Lenny Kravitz, Rick James and James Brown. Kamasi Washington is a young lion who has worked with Kendrick Lamar, Raphael Saadiq, Mos Def, Chaka Khan, Quincy Jones and Stanley Clarke. Chris Woods is an amazingly gifted violinist who has worked with Justin Timberlake, Faith Evans, Outkast and The Black Eyed Peas. Chris Gray has worked with Earth Wind and Fire and Idina Menzel, and has been in the pit orchestras of ‘The Academy Awards’ and ‘Dancing With The Stars’. “What Matters Most” also features Katisse Buckingham who has worked with Prince, Dr Dre, Herbie Hancock and Poncho Sanchez. Everyone brings the heat on this one!
When Stevo and Ginger first met at the historic Capitol Records Studio A in Hollywood, they discovered that they had much more in common than a casual observer might expect. She grew up in Chicago with a great love for blues, jazz, rock, hip hop and r’n’b. He grew up in Los Angeles with eclectic musical tastes that included rock, soul, jazz, hip hop, and even a love for the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein. They also found that they shared a deeply passionate appreciation for great cuisine from all corners of the world (especially sushi!), and so their journey began.
The first seed of Sun Soul Orchestra was planted when Stevo volunteered to write an arrangement for a string quartet that Ginger was a part of. Stevo’s idea was to combine the string quartet with drums and percussion, and Ginger suggested the song “I Wanna Know” as a good potential cover. Even though Stevo had no experience writing for strings, he dove in and quickly discovered that he had a knack for putting the arrangements together. When they began writing original music together, they became truly inspired, and committed themselves to the project now known as Sun Soul Orchestra.
The mission of Sun Soul Orchestra is to create soulful music with the best musicians and vocalists available, and to combine the strengths that Ginger and Stevo each bring to the table, along with all of their invited guests. “What Matters Most”, the first offering from Sun Soul Orchestra, is about tapping into what Stevo and Ginger both value most about music, the emotional content of it, and the ability of music to communicate on a deeply spiritual level.