Interviews

Sam Hankins

Sam Hankins

Sam Hankins is an already established and famous trumpeter and composer from Chicago. Beside his love for the trumpet, he also works as educator and R&B/jazz sideman that includes multiple awards as a middle school bandleader and performances with numerous legendary artists, including Al Jarreau, Clark Terry, The O’Jays, The Temptations, The Dells, The Impressions, Aretha Franklin and the Glenn Miller Big Band.

He just recently got his newest prize the 2015 Indie Music Channel Jazz Radio Award.

I feel immensely honored to have won this award given the other talented artists in this category.“ some of his words about the prize he won.

It was a pretty intense competition, he said. So he wants to use this opportunity to say congrats to the many artists that got nominated.

This famous composer just released his Christmas CD called Joyous Celebration.

It was a collaboration CD between him and the very talented David McLorren. Sam told us that it was such a privilege to work with such a talent as David, he also added that there was an amazing chemistry thru out the whole recording session. Sam thinks that this CD might just be their best work yet composed together.

This famous trumpeter and composer is working on finishing up his third cd which, God willing, is going to be released in the upcoming months. And hopefully we will be the first ones to get to hear the promos.

In this interview for Amazing Radios, Sam will talk about his first contact with music, his education, and his favorite musicians and teachers and also his successful career.

Sam HankinsMr. Hankins how you first got into jazz music and how you get to love it so much?

My dad, who was a musician as well, got me interested in music and my first instrument was the guitar. After watching my icon, Louis Armstrong, I knew that I wanted to play the trumpet in band. In watching & listening to him, I was drawn to jazz music, but love composing music in other genres as well, as you will find out on my first CD, Dreamcatcher.

What are your fondest musical memories? How everything began?

Being able to perform with some of my favorite artists such as Aretha Franklin, O’Jays & Temptations, amongst others. My fondest memory is playing a solo with Al Jarreau.

Who was your first let’s say musical teacher?

My first music teacher was Mr. Larry Pendalton, but Mr. Larry Skinner was my trumpet mentor and music life coach.

At which extend you think your formal musical education affects your current development of your musical career as a musician?

Formal music education taught me to read music, which some artists do not have. Many times you are called on to do a gig and you won’t know the music you are playing until you get to the venue and you will then need to sight read as there are no rehearsals before the performance.

You imagine yourself how if you weren’t a musician, let’s say a different path in your life away from music?

My 9 to 5 job is as a teacher, a Band Director. I cannot imagine my world without music, it is what I was born to do, what I know and what I love doing.

Sam Hankins

Who are your favorite musicians? Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?

Miles Davis is one of my favorite musicians as well as Clark Terry, Freddie Hubbard & Tom Browne. I admire Miles Davis tone quality, musical phrasing and the way he approaches a solo.

From where did you draw your inspiration to compose your own music?

Different things inspire me. It all depends on what I am experiencing at the time. An idea will come to me when I am lying in bed and I’ll grab a pen and paper and jot down a melody or it could be when waiting in the car for my wife while she does some shopping. I will then go into the studio and work around the idea.

From whom you have learned your best life lesson, and how does it quote?

“Keep it simple” from my trumpet teacher, Larry Skinner and it is one I tend to stick to.

What’s the secret ingredient for success?

Each person’s idea of success is different. To some it may be being famous or rich or both. To others it may be having a successful career. To me, it is being able to do what I love doing and being exceptional at it. Being humble and knowing that people love and enjoy my music.

How do you balance your music with other obligations – mate, children, job?

You have to have a mate that is firstly going to support your dream and be there when things are not going well because in this business, you need at least one person that is always on your side. There are a lot of compromise and sometimes missed opportunities because of work commitments.

According to you, what could possibly be the best accomplishment you strive to achieve?

Winning a Grammy as an independent artist and being able to go on tour with my band, playing at different venues all over the world.

What’s your life purpose (goal)?

I would love to play and compose music full time and to be the best at my craft that I can be.

Nikolina Atanasova

November 30th, 2015

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