Samuel "Sam" Tsui (born May 2, 1989) is an American singer/songwriter and video producer. He rose to fame as an internet celebrity and is known for covering songs by popular artists like Adele, Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars, as well as some original songs, medleys, and mashups, along with his frequent collaborations with fellow YouTuber Kurt Hugo Schneider. As of June 22, 2016, Tsui had reached 2.5 million subscribers
Life and careerEdit
1989–2008: Early lifeEdit
Sam Lee Tsui was born on May 2, 1989. His father has roots in Hong Kong and his mother is of European descent and hails from Iowa. He can speak some Cantonese. Tsui has a brother, Kent Kevin. Tsui grew up in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, a street away from Kurt Schneider, his producer and accompanist, with whom he attended Wissahickon High School. He was active in high school musicals, including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Urinetown, Titanic, and Miss Saigon. Tsui attended Yale University, where he was a member of Davenport College and The Duke's Men of Yale, an all-male a cappella group. He also majored in classical Greek at Yale University.
Trinity Church SouthportEdit
While studying at Yale University, Tsui continued to develop his skills as a paid soloist at Trinity Church Southport, an Episcopal church. In a recent interview with Southport-native Quinn Barry, Tsui stated that then-choirmaster Alan Murchie, well-renowned within Christian circles for his stellar work in the arts, taught him how to love music and inspired him to follow his dreams.
2009–2010: Career beginningsEdit
Tsui made his television debut on ABC World News on October 28, 2009, singing The Jackson 5's "I'll Be There". Tsui also went on to perform on the The Bonnie Hunt Show in November of the same year, where he was interviewed and performed Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)". He also appeared on It's On with Alexa Chung, singing Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" for the cast of American television series Glee.
Tsui also worked on his own project in 2009, where he and Kurt Schneider produced a series of episodes of College Musical, a comedy web series parodying the High School Musical film series, with original songs composed by Schneider. Four episodes were released, with Tsui playing the lead role of Cooper. Following the popularity of the series, it was announced that a film, (released on September 3, 2014 8pm Pacific Time) would be made based on the series. The episodes garnered millions of views on YouTube.
In 2010, Tsui released his first cover album, The Covers. The album, released on February 9, 2010, features covers of hits from Michael Jackson, Journey, Beyoncé, Jason Mraz, and Lady Gaga among other artists. On February 22, 2010, Tsui appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show with his producer, Kurt Schneider. The two were interviewed, and Tsui performed his medley of Michael Jackson songs. On December 2, 2010, Tsui gave an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and performed a mashup of Katy Perry's "Firework" and Bruno Mars' "Grenade" with Schneider. In December 2010, Tsui collaborated with fellow YouTube singer Christina Grimmie, singing "Just a Dream", which is the most viewed video on the YouTube channel "KurtHugoSchneider", with more than 100 million views.
2011–2012: YouTube and rise in popularityEdit
In 2011, Tsui debuted his own YouTube channel, apart from his collaboration with Kurt Schneider. On February 3, 2011, Tsui was featured on Britney Spears' official website, along with his cover of "Hold It Against Me". In March 2011, Tsui, and like from his song "Start Again", were also mentioned in the novel Seeker by Andy Frankham-Allen published in print format by Hirst Publishing, and in all digital formats by Untreed Reads Publishing. His song "Worth It" was mentioned in the novel Summers & Winters by Heather Dowell, released in ebook format in February 2012. In November 2011, he made a mashup with "It Will Rain" by Bruno Mars, and "Set Fire to the Rain" by Adele.
In 2011, Tsui was a behind-the-scenes host for the third season of NBC's a capella competition show, The Sing-Off. He recorded a "Judges Medley" that included Sara Bareilles' "Love Song", Ben Folds' "Gone" and Shawn Stockman's (Boyz II Men) "On Bended Knee". The video is free to view on both NBC's website and Tsui's independent YouTube channel, TheSamTsui.
Tsui graduated from Yale magna cum laude with a major in classical Greek in 2011. Tsui is proficient in the C++ programming language. Tsui was mentioned three times by Tom Hanks when he addressed the class of Yale 2011. Tsui was also featured in the 2010 Yale Admissions video. The video, entitled "That's Why I Chose Yale", reveals information about the college with students and admission officers breaking out into song across the campus.
Tsui has collaborated with fellow musician Kurt Hugo Schneider since high school, when the pair recorded music with an electronic keyboard and GarageBand. Both attended Yale University, where a musical partnership developed. As of February 2012, the YouTube channel "KurtHugoSchneider" has garnered over 525 million total views and over 2 million subscribers. His videos have been described by Time as a combination of Glee and Attack of the Clones.
2013–present: Make It Up and future projectsEdit
Tsui released his first full-length original album in May 2013 titled Make It Up. In summer 2013, Tsui and Schneider toured across Canada and the US with Alex Goot, Against the Current, Landon Austin, Luke Conard, and King the Kid. In September 2013, Tsui and Schneider performed in Singapore and Hong Kong. Tsui has so far released music videos for "Make It Up", "Grey Area", "Shadow", "Bring Me the Night", "Worth It" , "Wherever You Are" and "Open Up The Sky".
Tsui continues to make covers of popular music on his YouTube channel, also doing collaborations with other YouTube singers. On September 9, 2013, Sam wrote and recorded a duet with Elle Winter entitled "Unsinkable (Music Is Medicine)". The proceeds of the single go towards pediatric cancer research as a part of the Music Is Medicine's Donate a Song project. On October 3, 2013, Sam uploaded a photo via Instagram, posing alongside Jason Mraz and Hunter Hayes. He announced that he shot a video with the two artists and would be releasing it soon. It was later revealed that he has collaborated with Tessa Violet, Echosmith, TJ Smith, Tyler Ward, Brandyn Burnette, Brian Landau, Kina Grannis and Peter Hollens on a YouTube mash-up of their song, "Everybody's Got Somebody but Me".
Tsui's vocals were featured in a promotional video for Coca-Cola that premiered on January 14, 2014. In 2013, Kurt Hugo Schneider and Coca-Cola teamed up to create music videos featuring creative covers of two 2013 hits namely Calvin Harris' "Feel So Close" and Of Monsters and Men's "Little Talks" for a campaign called "The Sounds of AHH". The commercial edits of both premiered on the inaugural episode of season 13 of American Idol on January 14, 2014 on FOX with "Feel So Close" featuring the vocals of Tsui whereas Schneider makes music playing only Coca-Cola bottles, glasses and cans. Tsui shares in co-playing on the bottles alongside Schneider. In summer 2014, Tsui and Schneider returned to Asia, performing in Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taipei. They were also scheduled to perform in Beijing and Shanghai, but those shows did not push through.
In 2016, Tsui starred in an episode of Bones as collegiate acapella singing group member Jake Eisenberg.
Sam Tsui currently has 296k instagram followers as of June 19th 2016.
On April 15, 2016, Tsui posted a "coming out" video on his YouTube channel in which he announced that he is in a long-term relationship with fellow musician and collaborator Casey Breves. The two wed on April 16, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA.
- The Covers (2010)
- Make It Up (2013)
- DJ Got Us Falling in Love (October 10, 2010)
- Christmas Everyday (December 15, 2012)
- Wildfire (June 24, 2014)
Tsui has also released 23 singles digitally: two original songs under NoodleHouse Records and nineteen covers under Mud Hut Digital.
Year Title and cover 2010 "If I Die Young" (The Band Perry cover) "Don't Want an Ending" (original song) "King of Anything" (Sara Bareilles cover) "The Only Exception" (Paramore cover featuring Kurt Hugo Schneider) "For Good" (with Nick Pitera) 2011 "In the Dark" (Dev cover) "Imagine" (with AHMIR) "Hold It Against Me" (Britney Spears cover) "Start Again" (original song) "Jar of Hearts" (Christina Perri cover) "Born This Way" (Lady Gaga cover) "Rolling in the Deep" (Adele cover) "How to Love" (Lil Wayne cover) "Someone Like You" (Adele cover) "We Found Love" (Rihanna cover) "Moves Like Jagger" (Maroon 5 cover) "The One That Got Away" (Katy Perry cover) 2012 "Domino" (Jessie J cover) "I Will Always Love You" (Whitney Houston tribute) "Stronger" (Kelly Clarkson cover) "Somebody That I Used to Know" (Gotye cover) "We Are Young" (fun. cover) "What Makes You Beautiful" (One Direction cover) "Britney Spears Medley" (Britney Spears cover) "Call Me Maybe" (Carly Rae Jepsen cover) "Safe and Sound" (Taylor Swift cover) "Wide Awake" (Katy Perry cover) "Titanium" (David Guetta cover) "Good Time" featuring Elle Winter (Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen cover) "Little Things" (One Direction cover) "So Sick" (Ne-Yo cover) "One More Night" (Maroon 5 cover) "As Long as You Love Me" (Justin Bieber cover) "Skyfall" (Adele cover) "I Knew You Were Trouble" (Taylor Swift cover) 2013 "Don't You Worry Child" (Swedish House Mafia cover) "Try" (P!nk cover) "When I Was Your Man" (Bruno Mars cover) "Stay" (Rihanna cover) "Mirrors" (Justin Timberlake cover) "Clarity" (Zedd cover) "Me Without You" (original song) "Heart Attack" (Demi Lovato cover) "Make It Up" (original song) "Just Give Me a Reason" featuring Kylee (P!nk cover) "22" (Taylor Swift cover) "Grey Area" (original song) "Come & Get It" (Selena Gomez cover) "Shadow" (original song) "Bring Me the Night" featuring Kina Grannis (original song) "Treasure/Get Lucky Mashup" (Bruno Mars and Daft Punk cover) "We Can't Stop" featuring Jason Pitts (Miley Cyrus cover) "Worth It" (original song) "Unsinkable" featuring Elle Winter (original song) "Roar" (Katy Perry cover) "Wake Me Up" (Avicii cover) "Applause" (Lady Gaga cover) 2014 "Let it Go/Let Her Go (Mashup)" (Frozen/Passenger cover) "Timber / Counting Stars (Mashup)" (Kesha/OneRepublic cover) ″Stay with Me″ (Sam Smith cover) ″Maps″ (Maroon 5 cover) ″Chandelier″ (Sia cover) "Wildfire" (original song) ″Break Free″ (Ariana Grande cover) ″A Little Hard Hearted″ (Melissa Etheridge duet) ″Home" featuring the YMCA Jerusalem Youth Chorus (Phillip Phillips cover) "Hideaway" (Kiesza cover) 2015 "Uptown Funk / Lips Are Movin (Mashup)" (Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars/Meghan Trainor cover) "Thinking Out Loud/I'm Not the Only One (Mashup)" (Ed Sheeran/Sam Smith cover) "Take Me to Church" (Hozier cover) "Sugar" (Maroon 5 cover) "Love Me like You Do" (Ellie Goulding cover) "FourFiveSeconds" (Rihanna cover) "Honey I'm Good" (Andy Grammer cover) "Shut Up and Dance/Want to Want Me (Mashup)" featuring Diamond White "Bad Blood" (Acapella cover) "Lean On/Lean on Me (Mashup)" featuring Casey Breves "Can't Feel My Face" (The weeknd cover) "Photograph" (Ed Sheeran cover) "Stitches" (Shawn Mendes cover)