We had the good fortune of connecting with Sam Stokes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sam, what inspires you?
The very concept of “being inspired by” intrinsically means that inspiration comes from an external source. The things that inspire me are simple, like a tree along a hike or an exchange with a stranger, but they are also experiences like a fantastic record (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, for example) or a great book. To be inspired is to take the external sources we experience and run them through the filter that is us. What comes out is our take on a world that everyone is experiencing and yet only beholden to us.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I create blues/folk music with a hint of jazz. Whether it be cover songs (think Jimi Hendrix doing Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”) or original music, (think Stevie Nicks meets The Beatles meets Hendrix) it’s important to create music that the listener can live with, give it layers and depth that gets richer the longer you listen and the more you grow through life. If I achieve this goal in my music, I will have done the thing I was set on this earth to do. I grew up in San Diego, played music on stage since the age of 3, but it wasn’t until I moved to Germany in 2013, that I met my dear friend and phenomenal musician, Jürgen Kramlofsky, who guided me through the process of songwriting. It was through our musical journey and friendship that I dove into writing songs together and touring with our band in Germany. But, as any SoCal native will tell you, we are spoiled with the climate here, so after a few years in Germany, it became clear that continuing this musical journey was necessary in LA. I moved here about 2 years ago and despite the pandemic, I have been so fortunate to make the music I make with people I love. If there’s one thing I believe, it’s that we all have an opportunity to connect with one another and create the world we want to live in. This past year has been a wake up call for many of us, but I truly believe we have the power to make any and all change we want to make. If one of the ways I can contribute to this better existence is through meaningful and enveloping artwork, I am eager to help shape the world for a better future.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My ideal weekend trip would start with a delicious breakfast and coffee at the incredible Cafe of 27 in Topanga Canyon, it’s one of the most beautiful restaurants in LA and one of my favorite places to recharge. After breakfast, I’d take them on a fun hike along TreePeople (off of Laurel Canyon) to see amazing views of the Valley and also learn about environmental restoration in LA. (If it lined up, we would volunteer to plant trees with TreePeople too!) Finally for dinner, I’d take them to Pace in Laurel Canyon where music icons of the 70s used to hang and get a delicious meal of pasta or grilled salmon with a glass of prosecco. Then we’d finish the evening with an espresso and chocolate cake for dessert.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would not be the artist I am today, if it weren’t for the incredible mentorship and community of the Starr 44 Artist Alliance and quite specifically Robert Max. Starr 44 aims to create a community of artists who believe in creating music that is enveloping and undeniable. It’s a rigorous, soulful process, but those who stick with it, come out with a deeper understanding of music, the world and therefore, themselves. It’s an honor to have the privilege to name Robert Max one of my mentors and closest friends. I wouldn’t be here without him.