Greater Than Mic Magazine

Music. Industry. Creative Culture.


Sú North: Orchestrating Harlem’s Melodic Legacy, Inspired by Jazz, Hip-Hop, and Mental Health Advocacy.

Photography by Kiara Vaziri

Harlem, NY. Where the rhythms of the streets harmonize with the soulful cadence of jazz, emerges a musical virtuoso whose melodies echo the rich background of his upbringing. Sú North, a luminary in the making, draws inspiration not only from the iconic sounds of his neighborhood but also from the courageous storytelling of artists like Mac Miller, whose unflinching portrayal of mental health struggles left an indelible mark on North’s artistic ethos.

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Raised in the storied avenues of Harlem, North’s journey into music was shaped by the eclectic sounds of jazz and the raw authenticity of hip-hop. From an early age, he found himself enraptured by the timeless allure of artists like Tribe Called Quest, whose jazzy beats and introspective lyricism spoke to his own artistic sensibilities. Their fusion of jazz and hip-hop served as a guiding light for North, inspiring him to explore new sonic territories and push the boundaries of conventional expression. 

At first, Sú found himself drawn to the sounds of the church, where he first picked up the drums. Though not a devotee himself, he found solace in the soulful melodies that reverberated through the hallowed halls. It was within this sacred space that North’s musical journey truly began to take shape, as he found himself jamming with fellow musicians and exploring new avenues of expression. Inspired by the vulnerable storytelling of Coldplay’s Parachutes album, he and his friends embarked on a journey of musical exploration, covering favorites like the hauntingly beautiful “Clocks.” Through their renditions, North found himself enraptured by the album’s ability to evoke a trove of emotions, even motivating him to remix Coldplay’s “Yellow” into his own unique track. 

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It was his admiration for artists like Mac Miller that pushed him into the realm of introspection and vulnerability. “I learned quickly that I am a human being, that is not flawed but is very fragile.” North explains. “Some days I may cry, some days I may be upset, some days I’m gonna be happy, but there’s a time in my life that I didn’t really understand it, I was in a very deep sadness and frustration with myself…and listening to Mac Miller, Macadelic album, that album, like, saved my life, I said it in one of my songs.” Miller’s candid exploration of mental health issues resonated deeply with North, serving as both a source of comfort and inspiration. “I grew up in a very poor neighborhood in Harlem and there’s not a lot of resources, there’s not a lot of resources I was able to have…so everything I learned now, either I had to fight against or I self taught.”  Through Mac’s music, North found solace in the knowledge that he was not alone in his struggles, he was inspired to use his platform as a musician to advocate for greater awareness and understanding. “The song Fight the Feeling, he was one of the first rappers that I listened to that would talk about feeling and emotion, especially his Swimming album, that album that really made me pivot my sound a little bit and made me want to start to make healing music, I like to do my fun, feel good stuff as well, but I also wanted to include healing.”

North found himself riveted by the intersection of music and mental health, using his lyrics as a bridge for self-expression and healing. “I’m a big mental health advocate, I go to therapy twice a week…I really figured out who I am through therapy and I wanted to translate that through my music.” Using introspective storytelling, he seeks to destigmatize conversations surrounding mental health, offering relief and solidarity to those grappling with their own inner struggles.

One cannot overlook the profound impact of North’s upbringing in Harlem on his artistic vision. The neighborhood’s vibrant cultural heritage, infused in the traditions of jazz and soul, pervades every facet of his music, ingraining it with a sense of depth and authenticity that is unmistakably Harlem. From the soul-stirring melodies of Billie Holiday to the pioneering stylings of Erykah Badu, North draws from a diverse array of influences to create a sound that is uniquely his own.

As North continues to chart his course in the ever-evolving landscape of music and film, he remains steadfast in his commitment to honoring the legacy of those who came before him while casting new ways of expression. “How I look at art and human beings, I try to show that imperfection in my artwork.” Through his artistry, he seeks to bridge the divide between the personal and the universal, offering a beacon of hope and inspiration to all who dare to listen. You can find Sú North’s EP ‘Listening to Sunsets’ on Spotify and Apple Music.