We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Sampson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chris, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I was looking for a way to lean more into my personal mission supporting independent musicians. As a college music educator, I am fortunate to work with young, talented, aspiring musicians and artists everyday. However, I wanted to make a positive impact for these artists outside of the classroom as well. I was noticing that the most fragile years of their artistic career often occurred right after graduation when the “bubble” support system of college was gone. So, I created Joy Sounds initially as a platform for “emerging and breaking artists” to give them a positive, high quality platform during this very unpredictable time in their careers. I also wanted to provide a more in-depth platform for artists beyond them creating a 30-60 second video on the latest social media platform so that music fans could really get to know them as artists. I took on a “quality over quantity” mindset. Joy Sounds has since grown and evolved to support independent artists at all stages of their careers. Currently, this is primarily done via the Joy Sounds weekly podcast, but we are expecting to grow into other sectors such as live showcases, private house concert series and live streaming events in the near future.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I produce and host a weekly podcast called Joy Sounds – Music You Need to Know which features the brightest independent artists. I’m particularly proud of the diversity of artists featured on Joy Sounds that come from all over the country and overseas. Joy Sounds places the emphasis on the artists music, their creative process, and their story and has established itself as a powerful artist discovery platform. Joy Sounds emerged organically from my experience as an interviewer. I host a weekly guest speaker series for musicians at the USC Thornton School of Music and I estimate that I’ve interviewed well over 400 guests including some of the most iconic names in the music profession. I’ve also done interview sessions for programs with the GRAMMY Museum, the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the National Young Arts Foundation. So, it seemed like a natural step to create Joy Sounds for me to utilize this experience as a host and interviewer to present independent artists to the world.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would definitely make sure we had an entire afternoon to hang out at The Last Bookstore in downtown. It’s such a unique environment – great place to browse books and the artist booths on the second floor are amazing. I’d also make sure we carved out time to visit the Hand Prop Room on Venice Blvd. While you have to respect that it’s a serious place of business for the film industry and not a museum – it’s collection of oddities is amazing and so much fun to check out. And, then we’d get in to a time machine and go back before Covid to go out to my favorite venues including the Blue Whale (RIP), the Hotel Cafe, the Teragram Ballroom, the Moroccan Lounge, the Bootleg Theater and Resident for some live music. Ugh, I miss it so much!! It’s not open to the public, but If there happened to be a project I was involved with or maybe my friends happened to be doing a session in one of the historic recording studios in town – maybe we could sneak in to say a quick hello. You can feel the musical history in the air, the floors and the walls while hanging out at places like the Village or Studio A of the Capitol Records tower – it’s like church to me. For drinks, we’d stop by the Colorado Wine Company in Eagle Rock – wonderfully unpretentious, neighborhood hang for beers and wine. The great places to eat are almost limitless, but we’d make sure to stop at L & E Oyster Bar in Silverlake, Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks and Redbird in downtown. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There’s no question that I’m able to do what I do all because of my wife, Beth Slattery. One of my most significant career endeavors was creating and launching the Popular Music Program at the USC Thornton School of Music in 2009. The year’s leading up to its launch was an all consuming venture filled with lots of ups and downs, spirited debates, and plenty of resistance. There were many times that I doubted myself and felt like abandoning the project altogether. It is not an understatement to say that the Popular Music program wouldn’t exist without Beth’s encouragement and support. Once the program was established, the demands of running and growing the program took it’s toll over the years. In 2018-19 I was diagnosed with throat cancer. My recovery gave me time to pause and reflect on my personal values and mission. Joy Sounds was born out of this time of reflection. Once again, when I proposed the idea of creating Joy Sounds to Beth, her support was unwavering. She has truly been an incredible pillar of support.