Today we get to learn about not just one but two gifted vocalists who attribute their gifts to God. Influenced by gospel greats and a true believer in being counter-cultural in a world where “fitting-in” can be a lifeblood, Samuel Ramsey’s got guts…and pipes. Check him out in the Listening Room after you read this fantastic interview:
When asked about his personal/professional progression since he started singing, Samuel said this, ” [My] vocal range definitely increased [as well as my] confidence.” He described how singing in church was slightly intimidating because of the belief that a lot of us singers share that if you are singing in church, you are already a great singer. He also stated, though, “When I started singing in other venues…I became more and more confident in my singing ability…People would come up to me and tell me that I could sing…for not other reason than that they genuinely liked my voice and thought [so]. When asked to describe his style of singing, Samuel said this, “I have a very decorative style of singing…not straight…I really enjoy harmonies and melismas…
When asked what “melismas” were, he described them this way, “Singing [more than one note] over a single syllable [rather than adding more syllables]. He also described how when he really gets into a song, “when a part of a song really affects me I use melismas.” “Karen Clark Sheard ” was the person he described as one of Samuel’s biggest influences. “I love the liberties she takes with her voice. She treats her voice like an instrument. She does things like growls and [incredible] riffs.” Another influence he mentioned was Stevie Wonder, and he said “a lot of my style comes from listening to him as a child.” When speaking of a more contemporary influence, he mentioned Chrisette Michele. “[She] has a very unique style of singing. I really enjoy the liberties she takes with her voice [in her songs] as well.” He gave two songs as examples, Love is You and Blame it On Me.
When asked what his motto when it comes to music is, he said, “For me, ‘Life is a song.’ I try to convey that when I’m singing. That comes over best when I’m singing gospel because the greatest truth in my life [is that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, it is the gospel]. When asked does he write songs himself, he affirmed that yes “I love to write. The writing process is really strange for me. Oftentimes I am reading Scripture and I will come across an idea or aspects of Scripture [will] connect with melodies. If I wait too long [however] I kinda lose the muse. I [also] love to tell stories all the time, I always provide a lot of details. I love providing details. Oftentimes [a song will come out of a story that I told].
When asked what his motto about life is, he answered this way, “Everything you can do should be done to the glory of God. Life is like a coin you can spend it any way you want to, but you can only spend it one way. If God truly made me, and he made me with a purpose [I want to find it and follow it]…I want to keep the faith. On that note, I asked Samuel what some of his career aspirations were. “An entomology professor,” he answered, stating, “I love insects…I love students and questions…and I love learning…and teaching.” When asked what he would say to anyone trying to pursue their dreams, he quoted this old adage, “A tree that’s flexible when adversity comes will bend; a tree [that is not] will shatter.” I think I want to be the flexible tree!
Samuel Ramsey is a gifted young man who is much more complex than meets the eye. He is not just a singer, but an entomologist, and an aspiring entomology professor. Please comment and check out his links to him singing in the Listening Room!