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Rising Music Star Samarah Conley on The Five Things You Need To Shine In The Music Industry

These are five things I wish someone told me when I first began my career as an artist. First, you must always have patience. Second, you need to know how to manage your time accordingly. Third, there will always be a change in plans that you have no control of. Fourth, you should always keep an open mind. Lastly, you have to stay committed to a project. Over the past few years, I have been involved with different projects where I had to deal with each of these things and came to realize the importance of each.

As a part of our series called “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Became A Recording Artist”, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Samarah Conley.

Samarah Conley is a thirteen-year-old award-winning recording artist and actress. She wrote her first single, “Broken Wing” when she was seven years old and has released two additional singles, “Rain” (2019) and “Movin’ On” (2020). She began her acting career in 2015 when she was seven years old and has been in several commercials, television shows and films.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit of the ‘backstory’ of how you grew up?

I currently live in New York in the beautiful Hudson Valley region with my mom and dad. I am an only child and I have three dogs. I am in eighth grade and am really excited to begin my high school journey next year. I enjoy singing, playing piano and ukulele, songwriting, dancing, figure skating and crocheting.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I began taking piano and voice lessons when I was five years old and began writing ideas for songs when I was six years old. When I was seven, I had a vocal performance for the music school that I attend. I sang “Castle on a Cloud” from Les Miserables in front of an audience of about 150 people and I received a standing ovation. I loved that feeling and I told my parents that I would love to have bigger audiences to perform for.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your recording artist career?

When I was nine, I auditioned for the lead role in a short film entitled, “A My Name Is” about a young terminal cancer patient, which was written and directed by Sarah Schwab. A few days after my audition, Sarah called my parents and offered the role to me. She knew from my audition that I sang and wrote songs. She asked my parents if I would be interested in writing a short song for the film. I had several songs written at this point with lyrics only. One of the songs was “Broken Wing” and I thought the lyrics of the chorus were just right for this film. I got on the phone with her and hummed the melody and then I sang the lyrics for her. She loved it and wanted me to professionally record it for the film. My parents took me for several recording studio sessions with their close friend, who is a musician and producer, Len Monachello at Soundtronics. That was the start of my career as a recording artist.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

I had the pleasure of working with Debbie Gibson in her Electric Youth Workshop. I auditioned when I was nine years old and was fortunate enough to have been included with a select group of talented children. I spent the weekend in a recording studio on Long Island with her learning about being a recording artist. I selected “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten to record and Debbie worked with me on technique, vocals and production while Dan Chaffin at D-City Studios worked on the recording and mastering. Debbie Gibson was such a giving and loving person. I learned so much from her that weekend and gained so much confidence to become a recording artist.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I am very grateful to my mom and dad for all of the love and support they provide to me. They give me all of the tools possible to follow my dreams as an artist. Whether it’s schlepping me to New York City for recording sessions or auditions, taking me to set locations for jobs, or paying for and bringing me to lessons, my parents are always right there for me.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite “Life Lesson Quote” is one that my mom recently shared with me. It is, “People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.” As an adolescent in middle school, I’ve gone through some challenging times with a few of my friends. This quote really made sense and was quite fitting for a few of those situations.

I am very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Three reasons I feel its important to have diversity represented in film and television are knowledge, awareness, and compassion. I feel that gaining knowledge and awareness about people from all different walks of life, including but not limited to race, color, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and disability, are powerful tools to help shape a viewers thoughts, beliefs and possibly change negative misconceptions they might have about others. I also feel that this type of diversity is important for our culture to help bring about more compassion towards others.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I am currently working on an indie feature film that I will be starring in. The director / writer Josh Kaster, who I have worked with in the past, reached out to me with the idea of basing a film around me as a singer songwriter. The project is in the early stages of development, but I am an integral part of helping to shape the storyline and will also be writing and recording a few songs for it. Another project that I am in the process of working on is Social Media Sessions With Samarah (SMSWS). I will be working on a cover song every few weeks and posting the performance on my social media accounts. Lastly, I am writing a few songs and will be getting back into studio over the next few months to begin recording again.

Which aspect of your work makes you most proud? Can you explain or give a story?

The creative process of being able to write a song, create a melody, and then compose music on the piano makes me the most proud. Once I have these components, I record myself and that’s when I get excited to take what I have created to the studio to collaborate with my producer and take the song to the next level. I recently came up with an idea for a song one morning and began writing lyrics and playing notes on the piano. This will be the next song I head into the recording studio with and I can’t wait.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

These are five things I wish someone told me when I first began my career as an artist. First, you must always have patience. Second, you need to know how to manage your time accordingly. Third, there will always be a change in plans that you have no control of. Fourth, you should always keep an open mind. Lastly, you have to stay committed to a project. Over the past few years, I have been involved with different projects where I had to deal with each of these things and came to realize the importance of each.

Patience — I have been on several television and movie sets where I’ve sat around for hours to wait for my time and it pays to remain patient and stay professional until its your turn. That leads to quality relationship building.

Time Management — The balance between school, schoolwork, auditions, writing songs, vocal and piano lessons, recording sessions, being on set, dance lessons and figure skating lessons is often times very challenging. I always put school and schoolwork first, but sometimes it can feel completely overwhelming.

Change in Plans — I had just gotten braces and my very first audition with braces was for a supporting role in a feature film. I was so psyched when I got the phone call with an offer for the role. About three weeks prior to the start of principle photography the movie was cancelled. I was broken hearted, but realized it was way beyond my control. I bounced right back and continued on with auditions.

Having an Open Mind — When I am in the recording studio, my producer Len will suggest many different ideas in regards to instruments, arrangements, vocals, etc. I quickly learned to keep an open mind because some of the best results in my songs came from ideas Len made that originally I would never had considered.

Commitment — I was in the Super Bowl 50 commercial called the Super Bowl Babies Choir featuring Seal. We filmed in New York City and in Pittsburgh. It was a very long couple of days and the Pittsburgh scenes were shot outdoors in the snow and freezing cold. The weather was actually miserable, but you have to stay committed to a project that you sign up for.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

If I could start a movement it would definitely be to help people that are less fortunate. I am a very caring, compassionate, and empathetic person and when I know somebody is less fortunate than I am, I go out of my way to help.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)

If there was one person I could spend time with over lunch it would be Adam Sandler. He is such an inspiration to me as an actor, comedian, filmmaker and musician. I love watching his movies which are some of my favorites.

How can our readers further follow you online?

Readers can follow me online at my official website or they can follow me on social media @samarahconley

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

About The Interviewer: Growing up in Canada, Edward Sylvan was an unlikely candidate to make a mark on the high-powered film industry based in Hollywood. But as CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group Inc, (SEGI) Sylvan is among a select group of less than ten Black executives who have founded, own and control a publicly traded company. Now, deeply involved in the movie business, he is providing opportunities for people of color.

In 2020, he was appointed president of the Monaco International Film Festival, and was encouraged to take the festival in a new digital direction.

Raised in Toronto, he attended York University where he studied Economics and Political Science, then went to work in finance on Bay Street, (the city’s equivalent of Wall Street). After years of handling equities trading, film tax credits, options trading and mergers and acquisitions for the film, mining and technology industries, in 2008 he decided to reorient his career fully towards the entertainment business.

With the aim of helping Los Angeles filmmakers of color who were struggling to understand how to raise capital, Sylvan wanted to provide them with ways to finance their creative endeavors.

At Sycamore Entertainment he specializes in print and advertising financing, marketing, acquisition and worldwide distribution of quality feature-length motion pictures, and is concerned with acquiring, producing and promoting films about equality, diversity and other thought provoking subject matter which will also include nonviolent storytelling.

Also in 2020, Sylvan launched SEGI TV, a free OTT streaming network built on the pillars of equality, sustainability and community which is scheduled to reach 100 million U.S household televisions and 200 million mobile devices across Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Samsung Smart TV and others.

He sits on the Board of Directors of Uplay Canada, (United Public Leadership Academy for Youth), which prepares youth to be citizen leaders and provides opportunities for Canadian high school basketball players to advance to Division 1 schools as well as the NBA.

A former competitive go kart racer with Checkered Flag Racing Ltd, he also enjoys traveling to exotic locales. Sylvan resides in Vancouver and has two adult daughters. Sycamore Entertainment Group Inc is headquartered in Seattle, with offices in Los Angeles and Vancouver.




In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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Edward Sylvan, CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group

Edward Sylvan, CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group

Specializing in acquiring, producing and distributing films about equality, diversity and other thought provoking subjects

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