Sam Poon Interview
Sam Poon is the artist I know I’ll be playing all summer. As an actor and musician, he juggles all of his passions and he does it more than well. His previous works were great and his newest songs will be even greater. His new EP “Orange-Ade” is a beautiful compilation of songs, of which the name reminds me of a cool orange-flavored drink slipping down your throat, something that is now part of you once you take a listen. Taking a first look, the fun cover art, highlighting blue skies and an orange slice, was designed by Sam’s girlfriend, Chloe Berry. Bert Price mixed two of the songs, while Sam took on the remaining one. The carefully crafted collection features Sam’s smooth voice and added sounds like an alarm clock. Some of the greatest things I loved while listening to a sneak preview of his song “Shleep” were the rhythmic rap by Maxwell Cabral and the instruments flowing through the background, sounds lent by friends Nick Torchia on the bass and Benjamin Caranicas on the saxophone. The sweet unity of voice and instruments make the EP the way it is.
Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you got to where you are now?
Sam Poon: I am currently taking a gap year and have been using the past few months to polish my music and improve at producing. Earlier in the fall, I put together a charity show benefiting Covenant House, and on top of that I’ve been involved in a few workshops, shows, and cabarets. The way that I got to this point was after my sophomore year of high school, I decided to actually leave my school and finish junior and senior year in one year by doing online school. I graduated in February 2018. I also have been doing acting and music in general since I was six. I have been in a lot of shows and put in a lot of work learning material for my craft.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
Sam Poon: I would describe my solo projects as something you can vibe to and 90s R&B inspired mixed with alternative indie influences. My friends have described my songs as mellow, catchy, and sweet.
What has your journey to your present day music been like?
Sam Poon: I have always been a lover of music, even since before I was born. Ever since I was a little kid I've known that I want to be a performer and on the stage. I have lots of professional experience on stage, so I've always been comfortable with singing in front of a crowd. Last spring, I released an album entitled S.P.O.O.N, and since then, I think that my newer stuff is much cleaner, catchier, and more melodic. Whenever I am coming up with a new song I usually am thinking of other songs that I am listening to at the time and I draw a lot of inspiration from the production of a lot of my favorite songs.
I know you are also a stage actor and dancer, do you plan to pursue that further or do you think you'll stick to your music primarily?
Sam Poon: Oh totally, I’ll continue to do both and still am. I take singing and dancing lessons and work with a private acting coach and am still always simultaneously juggling like 5 auditions at a time. I think I’ve finally gotten the hang of keeping up with both at the same time. I’ve been acting a lot but at the same time I’ve been working with several other musicians/friends and producing for them. My plan after releasing this EP is to release their projects.
It's early to say considering life's natural fluctuations, but what are your goals for your music and for the rest of your life?
Sam Poon: My goals for my music is simply to make people laugh, smile, cry, or feel whatever emotion I can invoke. I hope to gain a small following of fans with this EP and just have a fun time. For my life, I plan to just keep doing what I’m doing now which is working hard and sharing my music with the world. I hope to someday go on tour!!
How has your life shaped your music?
Sam Poon: My parents introduced me to so many great bands and singers when I was a baby and little kid. They raised me on the Beatles, Grateful Dead, The Strokes, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, and show tunes. Those groups are still so special to me and influence my writing style to this day. My acting career has caused me to be surrounded by fellow musicians and entertainers that all inspire me greatly. With the friends I have made from shows and school, I have been able to learn more about music and collaborate.
If you can describe your new songs in a few words, what would those words be?
Sam Poon: groovy, smooth, transcendent, and catchy
Who or what are some musical influences that you take into your music and your everyday life?
Sam Poon: Radiohead/Thom Yorke, King Krule, ATCQ, Anderson .Paak, Blood Orange, Steve Lacy, Stevie Wonder, Teyana Taylor, MF Doom, Orion Sun, Crumb, and lots more hip-hop, rap, and alternative r&b. I've also been a lover of classic rock and alternative rock since I was little.
Who are some people that you'd love to collaborate with for music or acting?
Sam Poon: MF Doom is one of the most talented MC's and producers out there... it'd be a dream of mine to do an 'MF DOOMUEL' collab.
What is your earliest memory of music and of acting?
Sam Poon: My earliest memory of music is singing along to the Beatles with my mom when I was a baby. The first acting thing I ever did was at the school my dad taught at. They needed a little boy to say one line. I was four years old and I had to carry a live goat on stage and say "I forgot" in Japanese. The show was The Teahouse of The August Moon.
Do you have any music or acting gigs lined up?
Sam Poon: I am pretty busy with some soon to be announced acting stuff this summer, so I hope to have a concert later in the fall or winter. I also have an exciting acting project that will be happening in the city this fall that I am so excited to announce, but I can't say anything right now. I am in a movie written by my good friend, called Generation Wrecks. It’s a film about teenagers in the 90s.
What can listeners expect from your newest EP, “Orange-Ade,” coming out in July?
Sam Poon: "Orange-Ade" is going to have three all new tracks. All written, produced, and arranged by me. Two of the tracks will be featuring my good friend and rapper ST!CK, who will be coming out with new material produced by me later in July. I think these songs are perfect for summertime and I hope everyone adds them to their playlists :).
Thank you to Sam Poon for responding to these questions and allowing me to listen to “Shleep” early! I hope you enjoyed his answers and listen to his EP “Orange-Ade” on July 12 and onward.
Photo credits: Sam Poon