At Staples, Sam Wilkes was all music, nearly all the time. He played in the band, jazz band and orchestra. (He also took as many English courses as he could: 4 in senior year.) In high school, he says, “I learned how to learn.”
After graduating in 2009, Sam headed to the University of Southern California. He was in the 1st class of the new Popular Music Performance program.
That’s where he met Rozzi Crane. The singer-songwriter has been a background vocalist for Don Henley and Sergio Mendes, and was featured on the Maroon 5 song “Come Away to the Water.” She was the 1st artist signed to Adam Levine’s 222 Records label.
Sam is her bassist, and her band’s musical director. Which is how — last Tuesday — he found himself, with Rozzi, on “The Voice.”
“We nailed it,” Sam says. “They used the 1st take.” It was a great learning experience, he says. Making music on TV was unlike anything he’d ever done before.
As Rozzi rockets to fame, Sam is right beside her. But he’s also playing in a chamber ensemble, and with the likes of Jason Collier and “Quincy Jones Presents.”
If Staples indeed taught Sam Wilkes “how to learn,” he studied very, very well.