DYV Students: Student Spotlight Interview No. 20

December 18, 2014

Hey all! I’m looking forward to introducing you to Samuel Gaines, an actor who recently came to Chicago from New York. Sam and I have been working together for a few months and I knew in our first lesson we’re were going to have a bunch of fun digging into bettering his instrument. I also think, as he will share in a bit, singing has taken on a bit of a new roles in his life and I can’t wait to see that play out. Let’s here what he’s got to say…

Davin: Hey there, Sam! Tell us a bit about yourself. Where you’ve lived? What fills your days? Stuff like that. smile

Sam: Well, I’m a Midwesterner by birth. I grew up in Springfield (as I call it “Spring-patch”) Illinois. I’m the fifth of six kids with my twin sister as the baby and we were always interested in the arts growing up. I moved to Chicago about 9 months ago (GULP) after living in Kansas City, MO for four years of graduate school followed by six years hitting the pavement in NYC. Currently I temp to make a living but other than that my days include trying to study for my personal training certificate, auditioning, performing, thinking about what to eat and when I can…Sleep lol

Davin: Eating and sleeping are good! So, as an actor, tell us why you decided to dig into singing lessons?

Sam: Well, its a combination of adding to my actor toolbox as well as fulfilling a deeper desire I’ve had in my life. Singing has always been a huge part of me. As a child I would sing all around the house. I still do. In fact, my mom tells me she knew when something was wrong because I’d be silent. I was in choirs and show choirs throughout school and even took voice lessons throughout the years. However, if I’m honest, I never thought of myself as “good” because my twin sister has one of the most beautiful vocal instruments, naturally, when I always had to work at it. So I compared and judged and for the longest time created a narrative telling myself, “You can’t sing.” As a storyteller, I want to feel more confident so I can touch more people as singing hits us in place plain words just cant. A simple lyric with the right melody can take the audience on such an amazing journey. As a person…well it opens me up and teaches me more and more about myself.

Davin: Speaking of opening up, can you tell us a little bit about what the process has been like for you?

Sam: Oh boy. Well its freeing, scary, and frustrating all at the same time lol When you have breakthroughs and start to break old habits it feels amazing. I’ve lately been able to hit notes with an ease I never had before and I find myself in awe and afraid that I can’t do it again. Yet, because I am trying to get my body to do new things it fights back. My old way of doing things is so ingrained that I go back to doing what I was doing before and it drives me crazy! lol 

Yet I will say you have really created a safe, warm and supportive lab to explore in which in turn makes the process less stressful and I’ve come to peace with the time this is going to take to make these changes.

Davin: I’m glad to hear that. That’s the goal. Have your goals changed along the way?

Sam: Well my main goal is to be able to walk into an audition and feel as though I’m not just “good” but that I can compete. If I can blend my acting ability and my singing I think I’ll be golden.  Since working with you I think the thing thats changed is I want to find more joy in the singing as well as stand in a place where I dont have to try to sound like anyone else but me.

Davin: What do you see in the future for your voice?

Sam: Technically? A fuller, warmer, supported sound. Less character. Outside of that? I would someday love to do an open mic or cabaret type night. I want to get in front of people as bare my soul through song the way I do with the written word. Oh, and I want to book a musical!

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DYV Students: Student Spotlight Interview No. 20