Hailing from Houston, TX originally, Sam Trump is a man in the midst of a creative evolution. The scope of his artistry includes not only being a multi-instrumentalist, but also a full-time performing, recording, teaching artist and singer/songwriter. His passion for music spans a nearly three-decade career in the pursuit of a calling that brings great joy to his life.
Sam resides in Chicago where he has spent the greater part of the past ten years working to cultivate the Windy City’s fertile ground for music, arts and culture. Sam is also a vocalist, and he plays ukulele, drums, flute, clarinet and other instruments. As a vocalist Trump has continued to challenge himself to grow in his craft.
Over the past five years, Trump has put out two EP projects Sam Trump Plays The Uke (2013) and Love Notes (2017)) before releasing his debut album Purple Skies in early 2018.
His sophisticated and soulful music is culturally rich, as he draws on inspiration largely from the scene around him. Sam relocated to Chicago from Houston in the pursuit of growth and sustainability of a larger music scene. He holds a B.A. in Jazz Studies (Trumpet) from Columbia College, Chicago where he received a full scholarship to play Lead Trumpet in their Jazz ensemble.
Many musicians have experienced the pressure of external forces working to direct and lead their artistry. Trump has benefited from taking the reins of his career into his own hands. As an entrepreneur and solo performer, he operates the back end administration of his management and booking for that reason. In his quest to continue developing, Sam sought out ways to delve further into his craft. He has made strides by becoming a producer, DJing and even live beatmaking. Sam is a testament of finding out what you’re capable of when you switch things up. For him, these expansive moments were natural because art is all about exploration.
One of the avenues Sam continues to explore is the investment in local artists and their work. Sam, as he puts it, “made it his business to serve the real of local arts.” In 2016, Sam co-founded ChiBrations, the Chicago groove collective featuring some of the city’s finest soul, hip-hop, pop, jazz, and R&B artists to achieve that aim of local celebration. Over the past two years, ChiBrations has brought talent like Makaya McCraven, Krystal Metcalfe, Loona Dae, and Jack Red to the stage.
As the curator of ChiBrations, Sam and the team produce a monthly video series featuring live in-studio performances that highlight a new artist every month through bi-weekly videos on social media. The importance of local art for Sam stems from the hope that as the music industry evolves, artists will be able to step fully into their power and agency as content creators.
In addition to his work across Chicago, Trump has also had the chance to reach an international market. His list of clients includes large name brands like Volkswagen/JettaHaus, Shea Moisture, and the Chicago Urban League. Trump has also produced music with seasoned artist and musician Calvin Valentine, and has also opened up for artists such as Phonte of the Foreign Exchange, Kindred the Family Soul, and Al Jarreau.
Even with all of this under his belt, Sam finds the time to continue on that path of self-improvement and discipline, and that includes maintaining a spirit of faith and gratitude. One example of this commitment would the final and titular track of his album Purple Skies, where he pays homage to those who have supported him since the early stages of his career:
"I first wanna say thanks
To the God that made me
And secondly to the two who raised me
And to the rest of fam and my friends
And my fans for the love you gave me
It is greatly appreciated
All I do is for you
And I just wanna give back the best thing
You gave me”
After performing for the inaugural Boston Arts & Music Soul Festival (BAMS Fest) earlier this year, his performance for WGBH’s Front Row Boston music series will feature some unreleased tracks, on the spot production and more. Sam’s sound is delightful, timeless and vibrant, paired with robust instrumentation and style that will make for an evening to remember.
Sam Trump will perform WGBH’s Front Row Boston live music series with guest Anjimile Wednesday November 14th, 2018 from 7-9pm.
Reginauld Williams is a writer and creative consultant in the Greater Boston area