Sam on the right track
DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda (The Philippine Star) - November 20, 2015 - 9:00am

There was a time, says Sam Concepcion, that he felt things slipping from his grasp and that the passion he had for his career was waning.

Sam, now 23, estimates that time came when he was in his mid- to –late teens. “I guess at one point, somewhere along the way, I probably started to question it,” he says. “You know, when you’re really young, parang you’re not supposed to make big real-life decisions. Other people make them for you. I was just following orders. It became a routine, and that’s when I started burning out. Then when you become older, you start wondering, ‘How did I get here?’ You start to question what you’re doing, what you love about it and where your passion is. It didn’t feel right anymore.”

Sam had to stop and re-calibrate things to get back on track. When he turned 21 two years ago, he started re-evaluating things, just in time to celebrate his 10th year in the business. (Sam won the Little Big Star singing competition in 2006, so next year, 2016, will be his 10th year).

But looking back, that time was significant for Sam because it had him charting his own direction. “I became more clear with what I wanted to do and where I wanted my music to go, and projects I wanted to create,” he explains. “I really became more hands-on than I ever was in my entire career.”

His management recognized that as Sam got older, that he was transitioning both as an artist and as a person, and responded by giving him the space he needed and the freedom to explore his options, all the while remaining tethered to his home bases: Stages, his management company, and ABS-CBN’s Star Magic which co-manages him. “At one point, the people managing me also ceased to tell me what to do. But it took more than one sitting (to work things out). We would talk about what the plan is, and where my career is going. I had my own plans, a vision of things in my head.”

Now, things seem to be going swimmingly well for Sam. He just marked another birthday last Oct. 17, which he celebrated on a slightly delayed basis by staging a dance concert, Samuel Lawrence and the DoD (Defenders of Dance) at the SM Skydome. It featured Sam with different dance groups.

In a short backstage chat before the show began, Sam expressed how he felt. “I’m excited. I guess I’ve always been this way, especially before I get onstage. I don’t really feel it ‘til I’m there. It always feels like I only realize the gravity of the situation when I see the people and feel the music. Now I feel relaxed. When I’m onstage, that is when I get excited.”

Indeed, there is much for Sam to be excited about these days. He is part of the hit reality talent show Your Face Sounds Familiar Season 2, and also of a new teleserye, You’re My Home, where he plays a young law student and a father to a three-year-old son. It’s a first for Sam, and he doesn’t at all feel strange about it, even if people still see him as too young to be playing a father onscreen.

He also just finished a live show called No Filter and has a new CD coming, and the first single, Isandaan, was launched during the SM Skydome show. “We will probably be releasing (more) singles before the entire album,” he says.

Now he feels energized and good about everything in his life. Things seem to be falling into all the right places. He may not be in a relationship (despite rumors to the contrary and talk that he plans to win back his ex-girlfriend Jasmine Curtis-Smith, younger sister of Anne). With a new energy and focus on his career, he is eager and excited to get up every morning. “Now I don’t drag myself out of bed na, and it’s all good,” he says with a wide smile.

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