Posts Tagged ‘Featured Musician’

Featured Musician: Sam Fisher

September 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Musician:Sam Fisher


Twitter: SamFisherJr.

Life is Music: Tell us about yourself.

Sam Fisher:
I’m a second generation musician to a horn player and gospel singer. I’ve been involved in music in some form or another for most of my life. I’m currently living in Durham NC with my wife Natasha and my daughter Emma (5). We are expecting our second
daughter Addison this month. I am one of the worship leaders at The Summit Church
here in RDU. During the week, I work for Yep Roc Music Group and independent
record label.

LiM:When did you first get involved in the music industry? How are you currently involved in the music industry?

My first instrument was the saxophone back when I was 10 years old. From there
I learn some piano, finally settling on the guitar in college. I began touring in 1994
while still in college releasing my first record in 1995. Since that time, I’ve released
eight other records selling over 30,000 units worldwide. Ive got a collaboration with a
trip hop group (fleau pronounced “flow”) that I’ll be releasing late fall. A fourth Sam
Fisher album is in the very early stages of development and could be release mid 2011.

I’ve also begun the transition to “the other side of the desk” by founding a label
administration and event production company called Lucas Gambit. We’ll provide
assistance to newly formed labels in the areas of accounting, distribution and project
management. Lucas Gambit’s event company specializes in concert and festival
production that provides turn-key solutions for companies looking to produce music
events. We’ve also spun off a non-profit organization called Remix 919 that provides
financial assistance for music instruction (lessons, instruments, etc) for under-privileged
youth in RDU.

LiM: What instruments do you play? List your gear.

I play electric and acoustic guitar and bass guitar. I’ve got a pretty basic electric rig
because Im a bit of a minimalist believing that great tone begins and ends with the guitar
and the amp. Ive got a vintage American Fender Mustang that’s been modified with
humbucker pickups in the neck and bridge. My second electric is a Fender Stratocaster
reissue. I play through Rivera Chubster 40 tube amp. For pedals I have an OCD
overdrive, Deluxe Memory Boy, a modified Russian Big Muff and a Robert Keely Boss
Blues driver.

LiM: Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

Growing up I listen to all of the R&B greats, Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, Marvin
Gaye, Bill Withers as well as gospel legends Larnelle Harris and Commissioned. Of
the current generation of artists, I’m all over the map drawing inspiration from Israel
Houghton, Switchfoot, Phil Wickham, and Fred Hammond. On the mainstream side,
I lean more adult alternative pop (Rob Thomas, John Mayer, Seal) and R&B crossover
(John Legend, D’Angelo).

LiM: You have just recorded a new album entitled “From Age to Age”. Can you give us
some insight into the concept of this album?

“From Age to Age” is inspired by Psalm 145:3-7 that basically proclaims that the Lord
is great and is to be praised from generation to generation. As a father and a Christian,
I personally believe that I am called to declare God’s greatness to the next generation,
my children included. Knowing that my career is in its later years, I want to take every
opportunity to proclaim the glory of God including my music.

On a personal note, the album almost chronicles my surrender to God and the Jesus’
call to “deny myself and follow Him”. The songs follow the path of the call, revelation
and complete surrender to this call. After spending the better part of my 15 year career
releasing music that glorified me, Im announcing to this generation and the generations to
follow that I live, breathe and sing to glorify the risen savior Jesus Christ.

LiM: Where did you record this album and who helped with creating the album?

I reached out to an old, dear friend of mine Dan Hannon who is best known for his work
with Manchester Orchestra (Columbia) and Aaron Shust (Brash). He and I go way
back to our touring days, so when I called and explained the vision of the album and the
church he didn’t hesitate to helm the project and produce it.

I leaned heavily on another great friend and songwriter Jonathan Welch who is the Multi-
Site Worship Director at Summit. Welch is a multi-instrumentalist who just so happens
to have a Masters of Divinity so he brought a great deal to the table in crafting these
tunes. We also co-wrote a tune with Centricity artist Matt Papa who recently joined
Summit as a worship leader.

LiM: I’m always intrigued by the musician’s choice for the first track of an
album. Why did you choose to start this album with “Taking Up My Cross”?

I wanted the disc to mirror my journey to complete surrender to God. The opening line
of the song says: “when You call, You bid me come and die that I might find true life
only in you”. “Taking Up My Cross” is my declaration that Im all in. The album is
basically bookended by Taking Up My Cross and another tune “All I Seek” in which
the last words the listener will hear me sing are: “my one desire: to dwell in Your house

LiM: This album is being released under Summit Worship. Tell us about Summit Worship
and how you came to the decision to release the album under Summit Worship.

Summit Worship’s vision is to raise up a new crop of worship leaders and songwriters
who contribute expositional worship music that engages culture. We want to faithfully
speak the truth while keeping the songs congregational. Summit has a wealth of talented
singer-songwriters and worship leaders who basically didn’t have a platform to release
music. My prayer is that this record will be the catalyst for building that platform as all
of the proceeds will fund future projects and artist development at Summit.

LiM: Is there a tour planned to promote this album? If someone would like to book you for
an event, who should they contact?

There are conversations taking place concerning a tour but they are in the early stages. If they would like to book me, they can contact:

LiM: It’s fun to learn what other musicians are listening to. What are the last 5 albums
that you’ve purchased?

Hmmm…let’s see. In no particular order:
Jesus Culture-“We Cry Out”
Switchfoot-“Hello Hurricane”
30 Seconds to Mars-“This is War”
The Raconteurs-“Consoler of the Lonely”
Incognito-“Tales from the Beach”

Big thanks to Sam for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer these questions. If you live in the RDU area, you should make your way to The Summit Church on Friday Sept. 17th for the release show of “From Age to Age”. Click Here for more information.


Featured Musician: Mike Passaro

May 11, 2010 2 comments


Twitter: mikepassaro

Life is Music (LiM): What Instruments do you play?

Mike Passaro (MP): Acoustic guitar, rhythm electric, and drums.

LiM: List Your Gear.

MP: In drum world, I play a 4 pieceTaye TourPro birch kit. I use a standard 22×18 kick with a 10×8.5 rack tom and a 16×16 tom on the bottom. I go back and forth on snare between a Taye Stainless 14×5 and the TourPro birch 14×6.5 drum. I also have a 8×8 rack tom that I use for small sets or small rooms. Sometimes I’ll convert the 16×16 into a bass drum and use the 8×8 and 10×8.5 for a tighter sound…

I’m playing a 21″ K Constantinople Big Band Ride, 18″ 2002 Paiste Crash, 16″ Zildjian K Dark Custom Crash, and 14″ K Constantinople hats.

In acoustic guitar world, my primary guitars are a Gibson J45 and a Breadlove Focus (both have lr baggs pickups) played through my Avalon U5 preamp. I also have a Takamine EAN10c and a Guild D25.

Electric world is newer to me, but I play either an American Tele (thanks James) or Epiphone Sheraton II w/Bigsby through a Fender Blues Jr. My pedal board is a work in progress (props to PedalTrain). My current signal chain is MXR Custom Comp, Fulldrive, VP jr, DD-20, Danelectro Tremolo, to the MXR Carbon Copy.

LiM: So you play drums and guitar…which would you consider to be your strength? Why?

MP: I actually think both instruments are connected more than people think. They are both rhythm, deep pocket type instruments. You can create groove with both. You can push dynamics and mood with both. So, I’m either good at both or should find a different craft!

LiM: What do you consider to be your weaknesses as a musician?

MP: Thinking melodically. I’ve spent almost all of my musical life thinking in terms of rhythms and feel. mood. groove. I could listen to four minutes of steady pocket drumming, so that causes me to spend less time on melody, hook lines, and vocals…

LiM: How did you get involved with music?

MP: Music got involved with me. My dad was a musician in his earlier days (went to Nashville and made a record). He also had 5 kids (I’m number 2). Lots of instruments around the house, and lots of curious minds and fingers makes for a musical childhood…

LiM: Who would you consider to be your musical influences?

MP: Geeze. No one wins with this question. I leave things out. You only get a short list. Early musical life: classic rock (Zeppelin, Boston, Eagles, Journey, Queen, Beatles). Recent: Steve Smith, Joel Cameron, Steve Jordan, Jeremy Lutito, Chris McHue, MATT CHAMBERLAIN.

LiM: Tell us the last 10 albums you’ve purchased?


Andrew Peterson // “Resurrection Letters Vol. 2”

Derek Webb // “Stockholm Syndrome”

John Mayer // “Battle Studies”

Carrie Underwood // “Play On”

Keith Urban // “Defying Gravity”

Jeremy Riddle // “Full Attention”

Landon Pigg // “the Boy who Never”

Needtobreathe // “The Outsiders”

Patty Griffin // “Downtown Church”

Robbie Seay Band // “Miracle”

LiM: Describe one of your most memorable moments as a musician?

MP: I have so many great moments. Playing overseas, playing live shows with great people. I’m so grateful for all the opportunities! Favorites for me, though, are about firsts. (one of) My favorite live moment was probably my first Shelly Moore Band show. We had booked a show at the Vineyard Cafe in Raleigh, had some songs, but never really knew if anyone was actually going to show up. The place was packed. Three sets. Standing room only.

My favorite studio moment was making the first Shelly Moore Band record. It’s hard to explain how exciting it is to hear musical ideas take on life and energy.

LiM: What recording projects have you been a part of in the past?

Beloved // Live Worship Record 2003 // acoustic guitar

SMB // Self-titled 2004 // acoustic guitar, perc

Life is Precious // SMB had a cut on the compliation 2006 // acoustic guitar

Hope & Decay // SMB studio project #2 2007 // acoustic guitar, engineer

a Hymn Project // SMB hymns 2008 // acoustic & electric guitars, bgvs, co-producer, engineer

Jess  Ray // Jess Ray And The Rag Tag Army 2009 // producer, acoustic guitars, programming, engineer, arranging

On the Incarnation // Daniel Renstrom // drums, acoustic guitars, arranging

LiM: Do you have any recording projects in the works?

MP: We’re in pre-production on:
Daniel Renstrom record (possibly “on the resurrection”)
SMB studio record #3
SMB hymn project vol. 2

A special thanks to Mike for taking the time out of his busy schedule to do this interview.