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Sam Intharaphithak, an Aspiring Lao R&B Artist Dares to Make a Difference in Lao Pop Culture


Western-educated musician and songwriter Sam Intharaphithak surprised and thrilled the Lao media and entertainment circles for bringing something different to Laos' popular music with the release of his debut album, the country's first R&B.

Sam grew up in a family where no member had any musical background. He was introduced to western music and to R&B by his older brother while studying in Australia, where he spent over half of his 23 years. Sam went there at age 11 to study in high school and pursue higher education. Being exposed to western music, Sam could not help enjoying it. He started to play a guitar and learn to sing a song. And the next thing he knew, he was falling in love with music and wanted not only to be a singer but also a musician, composer, and producer. And he wanted to modernize and improve Lao pop music. So he decided to study a course that would help him in his career. He got a Bachelor of Arts in Audio Engineering.

After graduation, Sam went back to Laos to search for a record deal. "Sam" his self-titled debut album was released at the end of 2007. Sam was a truly new kid in the block to shake the music entertainment in Laos.

In an interview by phone from Vientiane, Sam said that he wants to be a true R&B singer. "Being an R&B singer is not an easy task. But if you can sing R&B, then you pretty much can sing any thing," said Sam.

Sam sings beautifully, both in Lao and English. He wrote all the songs on his debut album, but not without difficulty. Since he grew up in Australia, he was not familiar with Lao tune or melody. So he began by writing his relics in English, then translated into Lao. "It's not easy to make it work. I live in Laos now, my Lao is getting better, and I am more confident and comfortable to write my songs in Lao. I now can write in Lao directly without going through translation, " Sam said. "My future plan is to have my own recording company and continue to create great songs for Laotian people." Sam has his own recording studio where he spends most of his time doing what he loves.

Another thing Sam would like to do in the near future is collaborating with Lao artists around the globe to help promote Lao music. "I'd very much like to come to the United States to work with many Lao singers there to make better Lao music for all of us," Sam concluded.


Click on our audio files to listen to Sam's interview in Lao.

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