BY ANGIE VALENTE
It’s that time of year, when Thunder Bay movers and shakers return home for the holidays and show their hometown how they’ve been honing their skills in bigger cities, and more competitive markets.
Coleman Hell, Sydney Blu, Classic Roots and Poor Young Things are all local exports who are known to bust a tune in the Lakehead over the holidays.
Singer, songwriter, producer and DJ Sam Louis (a.k.a. Sam Migliazza) may have dropped his debut full-length album Daydream back in April, but tonight at the Foundry, Thunder Bay finally gets a taste of the sunny electro vibes.
“I’m really excited for the show,” said Louis. “It’s cool being able to play a show while people are still home over the holidays. I’m pumped to give back and have the city see the talent we’ve been building, the band is made up of all Thunder Bay musicians. A show in my hometown is something that I always want to be able to do - to come back home and play in the city. It’s the best feeling to showcase what I’m doing and what it means to me.”
No stranger to the stage, Louis fronted local pop-rock band Maraday Park for six years and landed countless lead roles in musicals, both in Thunder Bay and Toronto. While Louis had a full band performing with him for his Toronto record release show, his Foundry performance will have a more electronic sound.
Former local musicians backing up Louis will be guitarist Kevin Enstrom, Matt Migz on sampling and percussion, and Greg Smith on synthesizer.
“We’ll be playing most of the songs from the album plus three brand new tracks,” said Louis. “It’ll be cool for people to hear some new, unreleased material.”
There’s even a small acoustic treat - two new songs which just reached completion a month ago - as a kickoff for the new sound Louis will be releasing later this year.
Though still promoting Daydream, Louis says his next record is already shaping up to have more of a focus on the live sound, with pop rock at the heart.
“The songs I’ve been writing are taking more of a rock route, with a heavy vibe of nostalgia, bigger sounding songs, one with even a hip hop rock vibe,” he said. “I’m exploring different genres and focusing on building a fan base in Toronto. I want to record more of a live sound.”
Residing in Toronto since 2011, Louis has a bachelor degree of contemporary music from Humber College. His single Crave U was recently used in an indie movie called What Happened Last Night. He recently attended the film premiere in New York.
“Going down there was a cool experience. I was the only Canadian. When I heard my song in the film it was surreal, the best part was seeing my name in the credits. It was a little big moment.”
Louis has a few videos under his belt. A YouTube search will reveal the video for On Fire shot in Anaheim, Calif. As well as a video for his rendition of the Justin Timberlake song Can’t Stop The Feeling. The authentic studio feel of the video was met with much positive feedback and social media attention.
With coming work bridging genres, it’s interesting to find out the variety of underlying influences include Michael Jackson, The Weeknd, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Bruno Mars, The Beatles and other.
“Even Bryan Adams,” said Louis. “He’s actually a new influence. He’s put out so many hit songs of classic nostalgic. The last album had more of a new-wave, dream pop vibe, but the new material is pulling from nostalgia. I want people to soak into the tunes.”
The Sam Louis forecast looks a lot like new and eclectic music is on the horizon. He’s aiming to release singles, book live shows and make music with a new re-vamped feel.
“The push for a more rock feel has always been in my writing,” he said. “Now I’m trying to mesh genres to make my own sound. I’m excited to show what we’ve put together. It’s going to be a big show.”
Sam Louis performs tonight at the Foundry. Music starts with opening act Capri (Ruberto) at 8:30 p.m. Sam Louis’ album Daydream will be available for purchase.
Angie Valente is a freelance journalist based in Thunder Bay.