• Class of 2017: Sammy Burgess

    With eyes ahead to the new year, we brought together the fresh new faces that are challenging the status quo. Artists, activists, and musicians, our Class of 2017 is forging the path ahead with hope and optimism.

    “One way to spread love is to love yourself first.” NYC producer Sammy Burgess shows us how to keep a positive mindset and his plans to take care of his community in the coming years.

    Age: 21
    Occupation: Musician 
    Sign: Leo 
    Senior Superlative: Class Clown or Most Likely to be CEO 

    Who is Sammy Burgess? 
    I’m a musician, a friend, lover, creator, developer, creative. I guess I'm me.

    When did you first start making music? 
    When I was younger I played the cello throughout elementary school. It was like an after school program, but I quickly replaced that with skateboarding. Then when I was around 18, 19, I started to get into making music and it ended up working out really well. This was after maybe two or three years of DJing. I felt like that wasn't enough for me. Composing my music really filled a void. 

    That makes sense. There’s a creative, curatorial aspect of DJing, but sometimes that’s not enough. 
    Yeah. It was just getting really old playing other people's music, and especially if I was really feeling myself, I wouldn't want to play certain songs because that song carried a message I didn't really support or something like that. It was like it's really a relief and a great creative outlet to be able to have that freedom to just create something that only, strictly comes from you and my influences, as well.

    What are your influences? 
    I’m honestly influenced by everything. I like Chopin to Kid Cudi to Young Thug. As an artist, you always have something to give and it's up to the audience to perceive it the way they want to. There’s a lot of music that a lot of people don't like, but I can see beauty in it and then vise versa, a lot of people like music, and I don’t see anything in it. I’m always searching for inspiration. 

    Do you think playing music at a young age gave you a different perspective on it when you were older? 
    When I was younger, I was almost forced to play music. It was the less creative side. I wasn't playing my own pieces or composing my own pieces. I was playing written music. I forgot about that part of my life, because it was very subconscious in the back of my head, it wouldn't be a thing. I would tell girls or something, I would flaunt. Then I guess, somewhere inside of me, it woke up again, the urge to create. That was the platform I chose, to make music. I don't think me playing music when I was younger helped me, in the sense of giving me a jumpstart, maybe like learning a new language in your household that relatives speak it. Because I went from this wooden instrument, the cello, to a MacBook and that’s a big difference. 

    What are you working on right now? 
    A few things. I lived in Chinatown with my homie Patrick, who raps under the name WIKI. He’s a really big influence of mine. We were touring together and going out to partying and we would use the space we were living at to make music with all of our friends. After a few months, we came up with a lot of music that we still haven’t put out. I'm focusing on putting out that tape, which we started a year ago. It's called the Market Tape and it's young artists like me, and there's WIKI, Antoine from the Bay, and a few other names. It's going to be cool.

    I'm helping my homie WIKI finish his record over at XL Recordings. He has a record coming out, an album with them, so I'm helping him with that. He's so talented and he's such an artist. He pours his whole life into this project and I really respect him. Like I said, my biggest influence is definitely my friends. Especially with Patrick around, he's definitely a great cat. I'm also working on putting out this skate part, the music releases and I’m definitely taking care of myself because one way to spread love is definitely to love yourself first. It's way easy to love other people if you really feel comfortable with yourself. 

    How can this generation create change? 
    By overcoming each others differences and realizing that there's only one race and it's the human race. We're running out of time to have fun. If we don't take things seriously for a little bit, then we're going to be this half-ass generation for a while. We've got to realize that. Although, a lot people, a lot of kids have never really faced trials and tribulations that I have or other people have that are living in third world countries. There's no way you can emphasize to them what it's like to live without a roof over your head or without them experiencing it. I think that is the problem with our generation, our generation is afraid of empathizing. 

    This generation is scared of feeling pain and sorrow and all this stuff. You need a balance. We have to be open to try to feel other people's trials and tribulations until we're ready to share the pain, share the burden as people together. Then that would be a milestone for this generation. It has to be a whole generation believing the same thing. Until then, it’s going to be a slow journey.

    Photo by Logan Jackson

    What do you hope for yourself in 2017? 
    I want to affect more people than people affect me. A lot of people affect me throughout my daily life and I feel like I don't give back enough. I do give back through music and my close friends, but I feel like I need to do some... I hate the word community service, because it comes with almost a slightly negative connotation. You do community service when you are in trouble with the law or you're getting penalized. I do live in a community that I interact with, give and take, give and take. I feel like with a little bit more effort and organization I can definitely give more and take less.

    We have a lot of problems right next door to us and right under our noses that we should solve. Not neglecting anyone that's in peril somewhere else, but for me, I think that maybe it's my duty to help the people around me and in my community before I venture off and save the world. 

    Say something to your generation. 
    Believe in yourself. 

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