“…he’s emerged as one of the most affecting singer-songwriters today, in any genre…Pinderhughes has become a virtuoso at turning the experience of living in community inside-out, revealing all its personal detail and tension, and giving voice to registers of pain that are commonly shared but not often articulated.”—The New York Times

February 20, 2024—Acclaimed pianist, vocalist, composer and interdisciplinary artist Samora Pinderhughes unveils a new song, “Keith LaMar: Sweet,” today alongside a film by the same name. The new track is built around a phone call with poet, teacher, musician, writer and painter Keith LaMar, who has spent over 30 years in solitary confinement on Death Row in Ohio after being framed for murder following the 1993 Lucasville Prison Riot. Watch/share here.

The release debuts with a special screening of the film and other The Healing Project films at Maysles Documentary Center in New York from 6:30PM - 9:30PM, followed by a talk-back with the film co-directors and LaMar (who will call in for the discussion).

Written by Pinderhughes with LaMar and Rafiq Bhatia (Son Lux), the single is the next step in an effort to halt the execution of LaMar, and replays a conversation that Pinderhughes and LaMar had over the prison phone, in which Pinderhughes asked: “what is the one aspect of yourself that you’re most proud about, that most people wouldn’t know about?” LaMar answered: “my sweetness”. LaMar goes on to speak about the ways that both prison and patriarchal society have attempted to rob him of his sweetness, and how he’s managed to maintain it against all odds.

This song and accompanying video are part of a years-long effort by Pinderhughes, The Healing Project, and the Justice for Keith LaMar campaign entitled “Letters to Keith”. Since early 2023, The Healing Project has been gathering as many letters of support as possible from writers, activists, artists, and more who celebrate LaMar’s personhood to build a collective behind his freedom. They also have been hosting letter-writing gatherings in various cities to gather letters of support from the community. These letters are part of the public record of community support for Keith LaMar’s release, and also they will eventually live on in a book and an exhibit as another record of his fight for freedom.

In July 2023 – due in part to the advocacy efforts of Justice for Keith LaMar and The Healing Project - Governor Mike DeWine issued Keith a reprieve, moving his execution date from November 16 of this year to January 13, 2027. He now hopes to fight for a retrial and be exonerated.

LaMar is also the inaugural recipient of Pinderhughes’ The Healing Project Workshop, an initiative that enables selected formerly and currently incarcerated artists to receive support, partnership and seed funding to create their own artistic projects and healing infrastructures. Support for the workshop comes from The Mellon Foundation’s one-million-dollar grant, awarded to Pinderhughes last year.

The single releases amidst a special run of performances for Pinderhughes; recent months have seen sets at New York’s Winter Jazzfest and UCLA’s Royce Hall, while upcoming dates include shows at University of Houston’s El Dorado Theater and Big Ears Festival in Knoxville. A full routing of the upcoming dates can be found below.

These have been a landmark few years for Pinderhughes, who has collaborated on several albums that were nominated for the 66th Annual Grammy Awards, including Aja Monet’s when the poems do what they do—of which Pinderhughes wrote and played on the entirety of the record—and Meshell Ndegeocello’s The Omnichord Real Book featuring Pinderhughes’ original song “Gatsby.” He has also received IDA and Cinema Eye Honors nominations for Best Music Score for his work as the composer, pianist and vocalist on Michéle Stephenson and Joe Brewster’s documentary, “Going to Mars: the Nikki Giovanni Project,” which earned a place on the Oscars shortlist.

The recognition follows Pinderhughes’ latest album, GRIEF, which was released in 2022 as part of The Healing Project to widespread praise from The New York Times, NPR, Forbes, KQED, San Francisco Examiner and more. Listen to the record here.


Pinderhughes’ work encompasses over 10 years of conversations with more than 100 people of color across 15 states about their experiences with incarceration, structural violence and healing in the United States. The Healing Project aims to shine light on the untold stories of those whose lives have been affected by the prison industrial complex, and create a community where artists from inside & outside the prison walls collaborate and build healing strategies together. In 2022, Pinderhughes released several integral elements of The Healing Project, including his debut exhibition at The Yerba Buena Center for The Arts in San Francisco, and his critically acclaimed album, GRIEF. In 2023, Pinderhughes began transforming The Healing Project into a full-fledged arts organization, using art to create community healing spaces around the country.


Samora Pinderhughes is a composer, pianist, vocalist, filmmaker and multidisciplinary artist known for examining sociopolitical issues and fighting for change through his art. Lauded as “one of the most affecting singer songwriters today, in any genre” by The New York Times and “a magical being” by Forbes, Pinderhughes is shaping new worlds through his art, his honesty, and his vulnerability.

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Pinderhughes began playing music at two years old and went on to study music at Juilliard where he met his primary artistic mentor, MacArthur-winning playwright Anna Deavere Smith. Pinderhughes has collaborated and performed with a number of artists including Common, Robert Glasper, Karriem Riggins, Kyle Abraham, Sara Bareilles, Daveed Diggs and Herbie Hancock, and his works have been commissioned by institutions including Carnegie Hall, the Sundance Film Festival, The Kitchen, Yerba Buena Center for The Arts, and the Kennedy Center.

For more information, please contact Carla Sacks or Krista Williams
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February 27-March 3 /// Abu Dhabi UAE /// NYU Abu Dhabi
Residency/ Barzakh Festival
March 21 /// Houston, TX /// University of Houston, El Dorado Theater
March 23 /// Knoxville, TN /// Big Ears Festival