Sam Tsui Releases New Single: Cameo
September 20, 2017
We caught up with Internet sensation Sam Tsui to chat about his brand new single! As one of the first independent musicians to harness both YouTube and social media, the talented musician has created and grown a combined social following of over 5 million loyal fans, who lovingly call themselves the #Samily!
His brand new track, “Cameo,” was released last Friday and if it hadn’t been topping all of yourweekend playlists, get ready to add it to your #MusicMonday playlist right now! Read our exclusive Q&A below to learn more about how the single came to be, what to expect from his upcoming album, and more! Don’t forget to follow Sam on Twitter and Instagram!
Let’s talk about “Cameo” – how did the song come about for you? What’s the story behind it?
“Cameo” is about realizing the person you wanted something serious with might never be more than a casual thing – something I think everyone in their 20’s can, at some point, relate to. But it’s also about the empowerment that comes when you’re finally able to take a step back and see those kinds of relationship for what they are. With all my music, I love taking these complicated but universal human experiences and exploring them in song – and of course it’s all set to a funky synth-pop beat that I’m sure is going to get my fans up and dancing.
Although you’re used to sharing covers online, do you get nervous to release original music?
If anything, I think that having covered, deconstructed and re-arranged so many pop songs has been an incredible education in what makes good pop music and what makes a great song tick – so rather than being nervous about releasing my original music, I’m actually super excited to share what I’ve created, because I love it and I know the fans will too!
With an upcoming album, what should fans be expecting from it?
More than ever before, this album is 100% me. I wrote the whole thing, and either produced or co-produced most of the tracks. For “Cameo” I worked with talented produced Peter Thomas, who gave this and several of the other tracks on the album an insanely cool, sexy vibe. Overall, fans can expect a darker, synth-ier, (and maybe a little sexier) Sam, and I can’t wait to share it all.
What’s the writing/recording process been like for you for the album?
The process has been really gratifying. I’m constantly writing and producing quick little demos of songs, and once I decide one of these demos is any good, then begins the process of refining it, re-producing it, maybe bringing in a great producer like Peter to make it great, then of course recording vocals, mixing, mastering – by the end of the process, each song is like a kid you’ve raised since it was a baby, and I get really emotionally attached! Which makes it all the more special when I finally get to release the product to my fans!
Growing up, which artists do you remember listening to? Do you find that those artists influence your sound today?
Most of the music I grew up with fell into two categories – 80’s pop music, and musical theater. So on the one hand you had Phil Collins, Journey, and Whitney Houston, and on the other you had Boublil and Schoenberg and Jason Robert Brown. Both 80’s music and showtunes are definite influences in my new music – my love of powerful vocals, shamelessly epic production, but also earnest and vulnerable storytelling. Throw in a touch of synth-pop and that sort of sums up my style in this album.
When you think of stage presence, which artist(s) do you admire?
I love an artist who leaves it all on the stage – Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars, Beyonce – there’s something so magical about live performance, and I think an artist who is super present and engaged for every second of a performance can be really transporting. It’s definitely what I strive to do in my shows.
Who are some of your favorite artists at the moment?
I’m a sucker for a strong, smart female pop act – I’m loving Sia, P!nk, Lorde, and recently, Sigrid.
What’s something you’re hoping to cross off your bucket this year?
Well, I’m super excited to get back on the road and start performing all this new music – but one personal thing I want to do this year (and the fans have been really supportive of the idea!) is dye my hair – it shouldn’t be a big deal at all, but I’ve never really done it and feel, especially, with the new music, it might be time to do something a little different style-wise. So yeah, maybe that’s on the horizon!
What are some of your current obsessions? (ex: books/movies/tv shows)
With as much as I travel for performing, I read a lot of books and watch a lot of TV. Just finished a great book called “The Posmortal” by Drew Magary (it’s a super smart and funny near-future apocalyptic novel), and as for TV, I’m obsessed with The Americans (the killer 80’s soundtrack doesn’t hurt!)
Any special message for your fans?
Just that I cannot wait to share all this new music and this next chapter with each and every fan who has supported me thus far – I’m just so grateful for the Samily, and can’t wait to do them proud and take them along for this ride!!
Get “Cameo” on iTunes!