It’s always a toss in the air meeting with strangers, you never know what could happen, but hey, that’s also the fun part about it.
I was running a bit late early Friday morning on my way to catch Sam’s last Vancouver busking set before his trip to New York. Made it to Vancouver City Centre around 9ish halfway through his set, sat down – listened to his beats and started chatting with him in between songs. Right away I felt a good connection and flow; I was getting excited about this rendezvous.
Busking set was over, time to pack up his gear and get moving.
I was really looking forward to interviewing him, although this being our first meeting I didn’t know what to expect, wait…actually, the very first time we briefly met was a couple of months ago at Robson & Granville during his live set. Anyways, gear was packed and we were headed to the Vancouver Library. Got there, sat on a corner and started talking about his life experiences, career challenges and thoughts about what it’s like to live in Vancouver.
Alright, let’s get to it. Ladies and Gents, I present to you Raw and Uncut “Meeting with Sam Chimes” a multi-talented DJ, producer, composer and street performer.
Where are you from?
I was born in Nigeria, Africa, but I spent my early years in Brunei, South East Asia. At 12 years old my family immigrated to Langley BC, Canada where I spent most of my teen years.
After graduating from high school, I went to the University of Alberta in Edmonton, where I took English major and Sociology minor. After that, I started bartending at the Pine in Edmonton. Little time went by and realized I needed a change, this is when I decided to move to Vancouver BC, where I continued bartending and bussing for the first three weeks of my arrival.
Is Vancouver home?
I spent 5 years in Langley and another 5 in Vancity. Even though Vancouver has played a big role in my artistic development, I don’t think this is home yet.
To me, Vancouver is a city to search for opportunities in film, I did okay on the music part but I’m still figuring it out. Right now I’m fresh and open to check out different places, I’m looking for a city where music is properly supported.
What do I mean by this?
It’s how music is perceived, what people’s perspective is about music. In Vancouver music is not seen as a viable source of income, in comparison to Montreal for example, where music is part of their culture.
What motivated you to start busking?
It took me to being in my worst financial state to realize what exactly I needed to do with my life.
Before coming to realize I wanted to go into sound and explore Street performing, I worked in completely different scenarios. I tried construction, didn’t last long, for a little while I was a door to door salesman selling knives at Cutco, were I learned the power of referrals. Also sold alarm systems for Titan Alarms in Saskatchewan, here’s where I got my skin thicken-out, and lastly I tried bartending and busing with the goal to make money, money, money, to eventually buy a place, set up a studio and record music.
Things didn’t go the way I planned. It took me to being in my worst financial state to realize what exactly I needed to do with my life. Unexpectedly for me, I got fired. Time to hit rock bottom was at my doorstep. It was during this time that my life went 180º when I decided to enroll in the Vancouver Film School for the Sound Design for Visual Media program.
Although my plan didn’t go as I wanted, I must say each step in my path has shaped me into who I am, and for that, I’m grateful!
In one week – In one week, I changed my life.
Is this your full-time occupation? What else do you do at the moment?
Yes, indeed. Full-time artist!
I travel through busking, I produce my own material and play DJ sets at small venues. Recently I’m making music videos, as well as producing a YouTube series called “Artist Killing A Living”
What was your plan?
Honestly man, I feel there’s Always a Way.
What are the most challenging tasks you encounter in your profession or daily routine?
I have to keep going, and trust, trust my wings.
What is your creative process?
Currently, most of my content was written in 2009, I used to write so much in those days, my mind and energy were devoted to only do that. I don’t have much time to concentrate only on writing right now, it’s more of balancing tasks in order to make music come together.
Technically speaking I use Google Keep to write my notes and verses, pretty much I save all ideas that come to mind. After, I review them to see which ones are potentially good materials to explore and go from there.
Let’s see what I got, let me read you a little something.
An important part of the process is discipline and dedication. I wake up early with a positive mindset without worrying about anyone trying to steal my shine, I think we are all unique and have something special to offer. I’m always happy to share my philosophies and energy; I believe sharing is a fundamental part of growing, not only as an artist but also as a person.
The ones who die are the ones that don’t share their energy.
How do you come up with the final Artwork?
It’s about the feeling. I marry it [lyrics and beat], then I marinate it.
What is your most recent work? Are you working on something lately? Any new releases coming up?
Actually, after we are done here I’ll be heading out to record my latest music video “In My Chill Part I” which is scheduled to be released on November 2019.
In my Chill is a Song about the Song.
There will be a Part II, the same vibe, although it sounds more Superhero, like this:
What do you consider to be a failure in your career? If any?
What would you tell your old self if you had the chance? Would you change anything?
You could be happier, but I also understand that you have to have a certain emotional state to achieve what you will achieve.
What is your favourite ice-cream flavour? Will you trade it for Eggs Benedict?
I really don’t like ice-cream, I’d rather sorbet. I would go for Strawberry-Caramel mixed with Triple Sec. Triple Sec is the key as it highlights the flavour, a nice party trick for you.
Naah. I think Eggs Benedict is a world of its own.
What makes you wag your tail?
Going to the beach and being appreciated.
What do you consider is your kryptonite?
Humm… …”A Perfect Girl.”
Something I don’t think exists just yet. I know it will come at the right time, for now, I need to keep shaking off the fleas.
What is driving your life right now?
Curiosity, I want to know how far I can go by pushing myself to the limits. True fulfillment to me is to become the best I could be while helping others in the process, without feeling like I’m losing out. “Simply having balance and sustainability; looking at the system work.”
What are your sources of inspiration?
Motivational speakers: Napoleon Hill, Tony Robbins, Eric Thomas, Less Brown, these are the guys that motivate my content, and of course Superheroes.
What is your favourite social media and why?
Instagram it’s my go-to, it has given me great word of mouth referrals. I like that you can share what is happening right at the moment.
I use Facebook too, although it’s more to stay connected and search for opportunities.
What do you believe it’s a fundamental part of your life?
Belief & faith backed by desire – I think that is the key to success. Never giving up.
Describe three things that make you happy?
Love, Experience & Progress
Tell me something that you can’t live without?
Motivation & inspiration. Once that stops there’s no more for me.
What pisses you off?
Negativity and lack of self-belief.
What are your favourite hang-out places?
No questions asked, the Beach for sure!
I like to go to Wreck Beach, that place cleanses me. About 2 years ago I started going there and stripping-down. I like being able to not care about what society dictates and what people say about me. Since then it has been a change of mental state, it has allowed me to reconnect and appreciate myself.
What do you like the most of living in Vancouver?
The beach, connections and people I have met.
What do you dislike about Vancouver? What is one thing you would change?
Pancakes or Ice cream?
Beer or Wine?
Beer, no, wait, wine.
Movies or TV Shows?
Beach or Forest?
Intro or Extroverted?
I’m naturally introverted. Although life has shaped me into a pretty good hybrid I’d say.
East Coast or West Coast?
West Coast, I like the chill vibes. East seems to always be faster.
What is the next step or destination for you?
I’m about to sail to New York City invading it with good vibes. Then, I’ll head out on my quest to conquer Paris for 2 months, and finally, I’ll be heading to Australia to recoup for my next adventure.
If you could leave us with a statement what would say?
Live your Dream – Don’t back down!
And, that’s a wrap. After all, this stranger rendezvous turned out great!
I’m hyper glad I got the chance to meet up with Sam just prior to him leaving town. It was a pleasure watching him freestyle, share some laughter (most being mine, what can I say, I like to laugh) and moments of wisdom and revelation.
We won’t see much of Sam in Vancouver for a while, he plans to return next year, but plans can change and he will go wherever his voice within calls him to go.
You can find him on Instagram | Facebook | Soundcloud
See ya at the next Meeting…