Meet artist and YouTube sensation Sam Tsui. We had a fantastic time getting to know Sam and what drives him to create his music videos. We can’t stop listening to his new song “Clumsy”, it’s so beautiful, it brings tears to your eyes, but he also has fun dancing songs too!
What are your three favorite cover songs that you have done? And why did you choose those songs? My favorites tend to be the mashups, because when done right a mashup can really transform and elevate the source material in exciting ways – my “Timber/Counting Stars” mashup is a favorite because it’s a ton of fun to sing live, and of course “Thinking Out Loud/I’m Not the Only One”, which I sang with my husband Casey, is definitely on the top of my list. I have a soft spot for the older videos I released with my friend Kurt Schneider, too – “Just a Dream”, “Born This Way”, and “Hold It Against Me” all come to mind!
What inspires you to sing and perform? Where to start!? I’ve always loved the feeling of connecting with an audience through music and performance, and the advent of Youtube and the digital space has allowed me to do that on a global scale, for which I’m so grateful. Ultimately, I just love the process of writing, producing, and creating music that speaks to me and then seeing the ways (sometimes unexpected) that that same work speaks to and resonates with my fans.
If you could work with any artist – who would it be?
I’m a sucker for any artist with both great vocals and smart songwriting – Jessie J, Sia, and Bruno Mars are a few of my dream collaborators because all of them not only have killer voices, but know how to write a great tune.
Can you tell us about your process on how you create your music?
When it comes to originals, it always starts with a hook idea or title. Usually I’ll produce a basic track or groove, figure our the story I wanna tell with the song, then begin writing and producing out from there. On my new album “TRUST” I wrote pretty much all of the songs this way (a bunch also co-written with my husband Casey) and then for a few tracks the very talented producer Peter Thomas took my initial demos and brought his incredible style and production sensibilities to them to create the final track you hear on the album.
What city was your favorite to perform in? Why? I’ve been super lucky to have the opportunity to tour around the world with my music, but one of the most memorable shows has got to be opening for the legendary Bon Jovi in Jakarta, Indonesia. The crowd (around 40,000 people) was beyond epic and getting to play an original set right before such an iconic act was truly surreal.
Your favorite song? “I Have Nothing” by Whitney HoustonWhere do you want to be in 5 years?
Making music of course, writing and producing for both myself and other artists, and hopefully starting a family.
Most texted person in your phone? I do weekly bar trivia with some of my closest friends here in LA and we have a text group that we send all sorts of random memes and things to – but of course the most texted individual is probably Casey!
Dream concert ticket (any band, any decade)? Hmmm, maybe an ABBA concert in the late seventies? I think I’d have a blast getting my disco groove on, and I’m a huge ABBA fan.
Career Icon? Celine Dion. Need I say more?
Karaoke Anthem? “Believe” by Cher. In the original key, naturally.
Last movie watched? “A Quiet Place” – Casey and I love going to horror movies, whether they’re good or not – and this one was great!
What does Popular mean to you? I think the digital age is redefining what “popular” can mean – we have access to so many different narratives and points of view when it comes to our content, art, and music, that being “popular” as an artist simply means that what you’re creating is resonating with people who are making a really active choice to listen to and support your work!
Can you tell us about any other projects you have coming up? The release of my album “TRUST” was such a major milestone and represented a ton of hard work – so now that it’s out, I’m eager to create some top-notch music videos for several of the songs. We just released the official MV for “Clumsy”, one of the heartfelt ballad tracks on the album, and I’m really proud of the video, which is a full dance-concept piece. I’m also eager to take this new album on the road and get touring with it – had some album release shows here on the west coast when “TRUST” came out and man, these new songs are a ton of fun to perform live!