SUNRAY MAGAZINE has the pleasure to interview the singer, songwriter, and records producer “Sam Tinnesz”.
Tinnesz’s songs have been streamed over 100 million times. His Spotify reaches each month is over 2.1 million listeners, 2020 featured in the song “Don’t Give Up On Love” with Kygo. His music has been featured in Charmed, Batwoman, Love Island, American Ninja Warrior, The Hills: New Beginnings, So You Think You Can Dance, The Society, The Challenge, World of Dance, Siesta Key, Riverdale, Quantico, and others.
SUNRAY: What made you want to become a musician?
ST: When I was young I lost my dad. I found a guitar in the garage and started writing songs that really helped me through the whole thing. I knew in that moment that music was powerful and I wanted to bring that healing experience to other people. I also felt like an outsider from a very early age and singing and playing guitar was always the best way to bridge the gap between me and the other kids in school.
SUNRAY: Who Are Your Biggest Influences?
ST: I grew up listening to Nirvana, Green Day, Offspring and sooo many other rock bands. Meanwhile, my dad would be playing Tom Petty, Steely Dan and Billy Joel all in the background. It all had a real effect on me and I think to this day my melodies and lyrics are still influenced by all of these artists.
SUNRAY: Describe your creative process when you write new music.
ST: This is what everybody says but every time is a little different. Sometimes I fall in love with a crazy concept or title, sometimes it’s a guitar riff and sometimes it’s a movie or life experience that inspires a song. I usually write melody and lyric at the same time. I love collaboration because different people bring different things out of me. Music is my social life for the most part and most of my main collaborators are good friends. It’s just one big hang out most of the time and that’s the dream!
SUNRAY: Your music has been featured in Charmed, Batwoman, Love Island, American Ninja Warrior, The Hills: New Beginnings, So You Think You Can Dance, The Society, The Challenge, World of Dance, Siesta Key, Riverdale, and others. How was that experience?
ST: It’s wild. I never thought that this was even a thing my music would do but I guess I make music that has universal themes and instrumentation that sets to picture well! It’s honestly been a blessing because so many people have found my music through these shows. It brings my songs all across the world to places I could never reach.
SUNRAY: Over the years, you were writing songs for other artists of various genres, Can you talk to us about it?
ST: It’s honestly just all been part of this wild journey I’ve been on for the past 10 plus years! I went from playing guitar for CCM bands to Country bands to Hip Hop acts, making barely enough to live, to writing songs for practically any artist who would write with me in Nashville…To finally finding a niche in tv / film, rock and pop! At the core, I am just a fan of music and I am always in awe of talented people. It’s a real gift to be able to meet and work with some of the folks I have been a part of writing for.
SUNRAY: You always were behind the scenes, When did you decide to establish as a solo artist?
ST: It kind of happened by accident. I really tried for years to “make it” as an artist but looking back I think I was always mimicking other people’s voices. It took me until about 2015 to find my own style and my own voice. The moment that happened everything just clicked and music I was releasing for fun, ended up changing my life forever. The first LP I release in 2017 independently has over 400 million streams on Spotify alone. I had no marketing budget, no playlisting and very little help releasing the music. It was the fans who found the music and streamed the shit out of it who made me a solo artist.
SUNRAY: How did you link up with Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional for your single “Bittersweet”?
ST: We were signed to the same management for a while and they connected us. We lost touch though across a few years and when I was shooting a live video for “Can’t Take Me Anywhere” we reunited by randomly bumping into each other at a skate park! I showed him my new record and being the kindest human on earth that Chris is… He asked to write on it! I of course said yes and the rest is history.
SUNRAY: If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
ST: I wish the people who actually made the music made the lion’s share of the income. I also wish the music industry wasn’t so predatory when it comes to signing mega talented people to horrible deals before they even have any idea what’s going on. It’s a shame and I hope that in my lifetime I can help be a part of educating artists/ writers about what they need to know to not be taken advantage of. I have so many friends whose lives have been ruined by bad deals and it bums me out. We need more good people in the industry who actually care about the people behind the music.
SUNRAY: What`s next for you?
ST: I have a new record releasing Feb 24th!!! It’s called “There Goes the Neighborhood” and it’s a 14 song wild ride that brings all the late 90’s early 2000’s nostalgia rock back with some dont give a shit hip hop attitude into the world. I’ve got shows and feature appearances on records coming soon too but I can’t tell you details just yet!
Interview by Maria Fernanda Capici
Special Thanks Jamie Perez
Photos by The Dwyers