Sam Cullen a hit at Smokefreerockquest

Photos: Supplied

TAKE note of the name Sam Cullen.

A triple threat – singing, dancing, and acting in front of thousands this year already – Sam is definitely one to watch.

The Verdon College pupil was a top 10 national finalist at the Smokefreerockquest; has performed numerous solo gigs and had major roles in two musical theatre productions this year.

“There’s been a bit going on, but I’ve enjoyed it,” he said.

Sam was chosen for the rockquest national final out of more than 800 bands and solo/duos who went through regional heats and finals throughout the country.

During his eight-minute set at the final Sam performed original songs Groovin and Small Town

He describes his music as electro-pop, using drum pads, keyboards, synthesisers, guitar and vocals.

And his flair on stage didn’t go unnoticed, taking home the Fatboy Style Award.

“I was pretty happy with that.

“I was just so over the moon to even be there I wasn’t particularly worried about how it would go.”

The week before the rockquest final he was on stage in a completely different mode – portraying T-Bird Doody in Invercargill Musical Theatre’s Grease: The Arena Spectacular Live at ILT Stadium Southland.

He said being a part of Greasewas an experience like no other.

“It’s probably the biggest buzz I’ve had from any performance.”

Doody was a really fun role, Sam said.

“I’m probably biased, but I think he’s probably the best role in the show,” he laughed.

“You just get to be an idiot because Doody’s a naive wee kid that doesn’t really understand what’s going on, and he has so many funny lines.”

Each night he also got to bring a guitar on stage to take the lead in the song Those Magic Changes

Sam said he was stoked to have been part of the production.

“I was over the moon, I couldn’t have been happier, which was cool.”

Grease was Sam’s second show with IMT, after playing the Beast in Disney Beauty and the Beast JR in March.

Sam said he decided to audition for Beauty and the Beast because he had a couple of friends doing the show, and he regretted not being a part of the junior production last year.

“I thought I’d give that a crack and I was lucky enough to get the role, and that led me to do Grease.”

And he manages to balance rehearsing and performing with Year 13 school work.

“I knew that the end of the year was going to be quite flat out so I kind of got my school work sorted early on in the year and just went hard out.

“But there’s always more school work to do, it’s just a matter of time managing and setting out what you’re going to do for every day.”

He said people at the school had been hugely supportive of his musical endeavours, especially music teacher Emma Jarman.

So what’s next for Sam?

It may be the holidays, but he’s definitely not taking a break from performing.

Sam will play during MASSAV Productions gig Get Looped at the Tuatara Cafe on Friday, October 12.

The evening will showcase four solo musicians ‘who have mastered the art of the loop pedal’, and also includes Oleh (Dunedin), Paul Winders (Arrowtown) and Tai Forrester (Wanaka).

“Blair Savory from MASSAV Productions is awesome and I was stoked to finally get on board with one of his gigs. I’m really looking forward to that.”

On October 20, Sam will perform with The Dense and Bark Like A Dog at the Southland Musicians Club, before shooting a music video for a new single which he hopes to release by the end of next month.

Next year, Sam plans to study Jazz Performance at Victoria University of Wellington.

To keep in the loop follow Sam Cullen Music on Facebook.

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