By Ira Pablo
When he hits the pause button in his busy schedule, Sam Concepcion is like any regular guy. He shoots hoops, plays video games, and watches his fave series on Netflix. He dreams of owning a business someday. He expresses his creativity through fashion. But for the majority of his time, though, he spends doing anything and everything related to music.
Coming from a family of singers and theater actors, Sam had music ingrained in him since birth. He grew up singing, listening, and releasing a wide variety of songs—from Broadway, to pop, to even R&B. “It kinda feels like (music) chose me,” he reflects. His tone as he says this makes you believe that there was no other career path for him, as if the gods of music decided that it was his ultimate destiny.
The gods haven’t disappointed either. Today Sam is one of nine artists under Tarsier Records, a new division of Star Music headed by his good friend, Chris Lopez (a.k.a. DJ Moophs). With primary focus on pop, electronic, and urban genres, the label aims to take its artists beyond the Philippines and onto to the global music scene.
Joining Tarsier technically meant leaving his previous label of a decade—the same one that launched his career when was 12. Still, Sam believes he was already part of Tarsier even before it began operating as a full-fledged label. After hanging out in Chris’ studio, creating tracks, and releasing them for free through Soundcloud, the now 25-year-old didn’t think twice when the DJ offered to sign him. Again, destiny.
[related: Hot Stuff: Meet The Artists Of Tarsier Records, All Set In Making OPM Rule The World!]
Being around other talented artists from Tarsier influences his craft on a different level. “It forces you to be out of your comfort zone,” he says. Unlike his last label, Tarsier lets artists take full control of their music. With that comes the challenge of independence—that is, being on his own throughout its production. As for Sam, he usually begins with a beat and works his way towards adding lyrics, chorus, and verses to complete it. When the inspiration is good, he churns something out in as little as 20 minutes.
It also means trying his hand at songwriting—a first for someone so used to singing other people’s words. Says Sam, “When I was younger, producers would finish all these songs for me. Getting into the process has been such a learning experience in being the artist that I want to be.” These days, he challenges himself to jot down ideas, thoughts, and inspirations on paper every day. Even if they’re not going to be turned into tracks right away or be used in one of his albums, the self-confessed perfectionist believes doing these serve as good practice.
Sam was already in front of cameras as early as 10, and being in the public eye made him “grow up a lot faster” than his peers. Yet he insists fame is not the end goal.
Like a lot of millennials, Sam uses social media a lot. While posts like his can make you insta-famous, the singer-songwriter believes they’re nothing compared to the fulfillment in finding what you’re most passionate about. “It’s performing on that stage, it’s the lives you touch,” he says on what fuels his desire to continue doing what he loves for as long as possible.
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Produced by Julia Arenas | Creative Direction by Barry Viloria | Videography by Lui Jimenez | Photography by Vyn Radovan | Makeup by BYS Cosmetics: Charlie Manapat, Maui Manalo, and CAS: Anna Patricia Andan, Noelle Tumacas, Jana Evardone, Evelyn Dischosa | Styling by Jhelo Cristobal @jhelocristobal, Tricia Ramos @TrishDenise, and Barry Viloria | Hairstyling: @VivereSalon
Shot on location at: Shot on location at Circuit Makati, Olympia, Makati City
Special Thanks to: Tricia Rodriguez of BYS Cosmetics, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Misa Ocampo of Circuit Makati, Lani Tabije-Bernal and Yanna Bromeo of Greenbulb PR, and Forever 21