Sam Levin plays several instruments – the acoustic and electric guitars, bass, piano and congas. He sings and performs at various venues. He has even written the lyrics and music for his own song and done the recording for it.
Yet, he is only 10 years old.
The fifth grade student at Crompond Intermediate School in Yorktown released last week his first debut single titled "I Sure Hope Not." His song is available for purchase on iTunes and over the next few weeks it will also be on Amazon, GooglePlay, Rhapsody, Spotify and Xbox.
(Check out the YouTube video of his single by clicking on the video to the right.)
The young musician's journey began at age 5 when he saw an electric guitar hanging on the wall of a music shop. He pointed at it and told his father he wanted to play the guitar. Sam is now student at The Lagond Music School in Elmsford and plays the acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, piano and congas.
"I'm incredibly proud of Sam's accomplishments," his father David Levin said. "I am so impressed with his musical skills and great ear for music."
For his debut song, not only did Sam write the music and lyrics, he was also responsible for all the backing instruments. He also recorded the video himself, with some mixing and editing help from his father.
Sam uses a loop and effects pedal which allows him to create rhythms and chord progressions, add bass lines and try different melodies.
"He's always coming up with new songs this way, and when something feels right, he'll record it on a little portable recorder and write down the chords or melody," Sam's father said.
One morning before school Sam came up with the main riff of 'I Sure Hope Not.'
"It was great background music for our morning routine," his father said.
Over the next few days, his family would hum the tune not remembering what song it was or where they had heard it. They soon realized it was Sam's song.
"That's when Sam realized that he had to flesh it out fully and record it," Levin said.
Patch caught up with Sam about his music and debut single:
Patch: How did you become interested in music?
Sam: We were always listening to music when I was growing up, and I became very interested in how the different sounds were made. I would always ask, "what's that sound?" and my dad would say, "guitar" or "keyboard" or whatever instrument it was. Then I was in a music shop with him and I saw an electric guitar hanging on the wall and I said, "I want to do that!" and pointed.
Patch: What about singing, performing and playing different instruments do you enjoy?
Sam: I like using different instruments, or different sounds to make my music more colorful. Playing one thing on the guitar, and then something different, but in the same key, on some other instrument sounds really rich and interesting to me. I also like getting different sounds out of instruments, like using the guitar to make percussion sounds, or my voice to make a riff.
I like performing because it's fun to feel professional and I like that while I am enjoying myself playing, the audience is also being entertained (I hope).
Patch: What is your new song "I Sure Hope Not" about?
Sam: It's about people today being more interested in money and fame, than enjoying their life how it is. It's about being happy with your family and friends and yourself, instead of wanting all the latest gadgets and trying to be like celebrities. I see it happen as kids get older and I don't want it to happen to me.
Patch: What was it like recording your first debut single?
Sam: It was cool. I liked figuring out what I would play on each new instrument and then listening to it with more and more layers. And when it was done, it really sounded like a song on the radio.
Patch: You wrote the music, lyrics and were responsible for the backing guitar, piano and drums for the song! How did you get so good at everything?
Sam: I play every day, and guitar led to bass, and piano led to drums (because I liked tapping my fingers on the notes).
Patch: Where do you get your inspiration from? Who are your musical influences?
Sam: I probably got a lot of my inspiration from my Dad's iPod. I like all different kinds of music. I like The Beatles, Bill Withers, Jack Johnson, Herbie Hancock, Cake, The Black Crowes, Shawn Mullins, John Scofield and so many others.
Patch: What is one thing that people might be surprised to learn about you?
Sam: I don't really like eating.
Patch: What do you want to become when you grow up?
Sam: I still want to be myself. And I want to be a musician.
Patch: How do you see music being a part of your life?
Sam: Every day I play and it makes me happy. Hopefully it can also be my job.
Patch: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Sam: I'm working on my next song now, so get ready.
Besides music, Sam enjoys playing and designing board games and video games, he loves to read books and graphic novels, and he uses his camera and laptop to make films, special effects and animation. He also likes to ride his bike or scooter, play basketball and run around his house or yard with friends.
His father describes him as "smart, funny and creative."
"As a musician, Sam's creativity is magnified, because he has tremendous skills and musical knowledge to bring to bear on whatever ideas he might have," Levin said. "It's amazing to just sit and listen to him create music on the fly, looping and layering. And then he might just let the rhythm loop play while he switches to drums or piano, then return for an incredible guitar solo."
Sam has played at Hershey Park, 12 Grapes in Peekskill, Mohansic and Crompond schools, Relay For Life, Community Day and a number of other venues, fundraisers and parties. This past February, Sam performed as part of Lagond-A-Thon, a 4-hour fundraising concert streamed live over the Internet.
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