Sam Arjes grew up in a household full of musicians, so it’s no wonder he has become the artist he is now. At the age of 12, Sam was determined to learn to play the drums, but when his parents weren’t so keen on the noise level, he picked up the guitar instead. “I just naturally decided to take on guitar and my dad has a friend who played guitar pretty fluently and gave me my first lessons.” From there, he formed a band with his brother and their friend and dedicated his teen years to become the greatest guitarist he could be. After high school, the band broke up and Sam ventured into writing songs that held meaning to him. “I decided I was much more interested in writing music and having something to say, having some original music of my own rather than just being a guitarist.” He was enthralled by the craft of songwriting and self expression through music.
Much of the music Sam grew up listening to were old records his parents played. From the Beatles to Simon & Garfunkel to his father’s favorite, Creedence Clearwater Revival. At a young age Sam felt like these songs from the 60s and 70s had something to say and carried a deeper meaning. “I grew up listening to what people call oldies, I call them classics. To me, that was always the era of music that I felt had something to say. Bob Dylan protest songs of the 60s, Simon & Garfunkel some of their messages are pretty deep and it just kind of always resonated with me more than some of the popular music going on at the time…” One particular album that influenced Sam was the 2006 Album ‘The Animal Years’, by Josh Ritter. When he heard it for the first time, the lyrics and writing style stood out to him against anything else he had heard from that genre. He also had a connection with Josh Ridder in that they both were inspired by their idols to use music to make music. “He was going to college to be an engineer i think or off in a completely different field or path than music and he heard Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash’s duet of Girl from the North Country and decided right then and there that he wanted to do that. He wanted to be a musician and be a songwriter. And I always thought that was an interesting story cause that was essentially the same feeling I got when I heard his music... You get that spark of inspiration from someone else and you pass it on to someone else after you…”
Starting a music career from scratch is hard for everyone and Sam Arjes was no exception. He feels like making connections was the biggest thing that helped him get a foot in the door and keep moving to the next level. “... you had to know people and if you really didn't know people it was hard to kind of get references, get yourself out there.” Getting your name out there was harder back when Sam first started out because there were no social media platforms or websites to showcase your talent or network with others in the industry. He found that going to shows and becoming friends with other local musicians is what allowed him to find opportunities. Sam’s story shows that it's really important to make friendly connections because you never know who can help you down the road. “Basically I became friends with a couple of local bands that had quite a following locally and in the surrounding towns and one of them was a member of a band named Jamie Surral. He was kind of actually the first person that kinda took interest in my music. And funny enough, we stayed in touch over the years and now he's got a recording studio that he owns and operates here in Kansas City and he was producer for my 3 singles.”
There are many rewarding aspects to being an artist. Other than making a legacy or creatively expressing himself, Sam has a more selfless goal for each show he performs. For Sam, the biggest reward is knowing that his music positively affects others and even getting just one fan to outwardly express it is enough. “I remember someone coming up to me afterwards and saying, “woah that was like, such a good song, that was timeless”. It was just such a good feeling, because that was exactly the term I was going for and apparently I achieved that...It's not really something you can just do for that money. You gotta really have a passion and a persistence and to me it's that kind of feedback or that kind of response that really makes it all worth it.”
At this point in his career, Sam has written about 40 songs and his main goal right now is to get them all recorded and ready for the public. As a musician, Sam has the long term goal to release songs that make an impact on others. Just like when he performs live, he wants his audience to resonate with his lyrics and cultivate their own identity in the song. “I want to give them that song that speaks to them or resonates with them and something that they can own a piece of.”
Some advice that Sam would give to younger artists is to use all of the resources at their disposal through the internet. He encourages them to reach out to distributors, publishers, and record labels because it's easier than it used to be when he started and having those connections early on will set someone up to advance quicker. He also encourages young musicians.
In 2021, Sam Arjes hopes to release new music all year long. “My producer and I are in pre production on my next single which we should be starting recording in the studio by next week so were planning to have that out in a couple of months and it's only February so I'm looking to have an EP once this next single is out and released” With a few singles and an EP on the way, Sam is going to be very busy this year.