When asked what she liked to do in her free time, Samantha Bowers immediately responded with song writing. This makes complete sense after getting to know the sophomore transfer student who is better known by her stage name Sammy Rae.
Bowers has been involved with music her entire life and first started playing the piano at age 5. She expressed an interest in song writing when she was 13, but it wasn’t until around her freshman year of high school where she really started to learn the steps of song writing.
“I found a woman who taught me piano lessons, but she was a song writer herself. She taught me more song writing lessons like how to write lyrics, how to write chord structures, how to convey stuff,” Bowers said. “It was cool because I would come up with these bits of lyrics and poetry off of things that I liked and things that I heard and she would help me turn them into song.”
Bowers has been writing music ever since, and was offered an amazing opportunity at the University of New Haven entering her freshman year of college.
“I was a music production and sound engineering major and last year I ended up meeting someone who was interested in recording music for me. He was able to do a whole album for me last year, but I had to stay at the University of New Haven, that’s sort of how it worked,” she said.
This is how her album “Celebrate My Heart” came to be.
“I write all of my own music, so some of it had been written already and some of it I wrote for the album. We would go into the city on weekends to record. I was coming up into the city almost every weekend to record it and just through the course of it, people on campus had found out that I was working on it,” Bowers said. “Musicians that wanted to be a part of the album would come in and I would tell them, ‘I like this on guitar, this on drums, this on bass’ and everyone just came together and it was a really cool collaborative project.”
Among some of her most popular songs are “You Are My Sunshine,” Brand New City,” and “Dirty Brother.”
Bowers even performed “Dirty Brother” live at last month’s Coffeehouse and wowed the crowd.
“I thought it was amazing. I actually liked it better than the iTunes version!” said freshman Kristie Killen, who purchased the song later that night. “At first, because she didn’t have her piano, I thought this was going to be her first time performing, but then she got up there and I was blown away!” Killen said.
About halfway through her first semester at the University of New Haven, Bowers realized that she really wanted to go into the education field and began looking into other possible programs.
“I decided on childhood and special education, and Manhattan College had the best program possible with the five year program. Manhattan was the clear choice,” Bowers said.
Bowers has brought to MC all of her many musical talents and has even gotten involved with Players. She was in “Inherit the Wind” last semester and is in this semester’s “Little Shop of Horrors.”
“Sammy and I are two of the three urchins in “Little Shop of Horrors,” said freshman Erica Rebussini. “We are constantly blocking scenes, learning choreography, and working harmonies. We spend all of our rehearsal time together, and we are having a blast with it! I cannot wait to perform again with her!”
Bowers’ family greatly influenced her love for music as she grew up and there was always some sort of music being played. “My parents listen to a lot of everything. I was born in the early 90’s so my parents listened to some metal, some rock, some classic rock. My aunt listened to the Beatles, and there was always Fleetwood Mac on in my house,” she said.
The sophomore brings so much talent to MC with her natural musical ability and strong character.
“From getting the chance to know Sammy and be her friend, I’ve seen her faith, her humor, her kindness and talent shine every day,” Rebussini said.
Bowers still spends time recording in New Haven and is currently working on her upcoming album.
“What I’m doing now is I go to New Haven on the weekends since I made a lot of connections there and they have a fully functioning studio. It’s fun to go back to New Haven on the weekends; people will come and record me and we’ll put a band behind it,” Bowers said.
She hopes to have her latest album, consisting of nine tracks, out by the end of the semester. But in the mean time, be sure to check out “Celebrate My Heart” up on iTunes now.