As a Country Music fan, I love how the genre has become a melting pot for all different kinds of music. Let me clarify before some Karen gets typing away in the comments, about how the genre is ruined and has become too pop. Trust me, some of the stuff I hear on the radio or find scrolling through on Apple Music, I'm like "what the actual fuck was that"? Sometimes it feels like it was recorded simply to try and make some money. But as long as there is a story being told and the song comes from a genuine place, I am here for it. Love me or hate me, but I can bounce from Sam Hunt, Dan + Shay and Ryan Hurd to Zach Bryan, Tyler Childers and Cody Johnson and go to sleep happy. On this UPstar. Music journey I have found some amazing artists that blend together genres and the finished product is absolutely magic. Today, Sam Varga takes us inside the world of Emo Country and it is fucking AWESOME.
Get To Know Sam
"Yeah man... hello, I'm Sam Varga thanks for having me. A little bit about me. I'm from Louisville, Kentucky, music happened pretty fast and I was always around it. My mom and dad were musicians. We have that cheesy band night once in a while. I got my first guitar when I was little and didn't touch it for the longest time. Honestly, there were two big deciding factors for me to start playing music. One was Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 because it had ACDC's "TNT" on it and I just thought "wait...I really like that song and I want to listen to it all the time". And the other deciding factor was the movie Freaky Friday. I thought Lindsey Lohan could absolutely shred. As soon as I saw it, I told my parents I wanted guitar lessons. Thank you Angus Young and Lindsey Lohan for kick starting my music career. I was “just” a guitar player for the longest time. I had this band in grade school when I was in 5th or 6th grade. Then my sister was in college and she brought home Emo music. The first band I heard was Senses Fail which was a door into another world. I became obsessed with Emo music. It became so important to me and so many other kids who aren't good at sports. It kind of became a voice to me and pushed me to start writing songs when I was in 8th grade. I played in a Punk band in Kentucky for a really long time. Considering I was in high school, we did so much cool shit. We got to open for all of our heroes who were coming through town. The band got to do a lot of great stuff, but didn't have the steam we needed to continue when graduation rolled around. The members all went to college and the band became different variations of what it was and then we broke up. After that I began doing advertisement gigs, which I had a blast doing. A lot of it had to do with Bourbon. I got to work for Jack Daniels, but knew I still really wanted to do music. I was lucky enough to have a ticket to Nashville via Jack Daniels, so I had the best of both worlds for a long time. I got introduced to the Nashville music scene while working in Lynchburg and getting to talk about Jack and lead people on tours at the distillery. Finally I had enough going on with music that I put all the eggs into one basket and that's what I'm doing now. I'm just an emo kid in Nashville. Just been finding that hybrid, which I didn't think was possible. But it is very possible, so now I'm writing emo country songs. We can call it that."
A Song That Makes You Stop And Think
Sam Varga blends the two worlds of Emo and Country music. It is a combination of unique and pleasing to the ear. One thing I am big on is how genuine an artist's music is. God damnit, this man Sam has dug deep to not only give listeners a taste of who he is, but he also has a truly heartfelt story to tell. With his grandpa's time coming to an end and makes his way to heaven, Sam finds himself asking questions. Will he make it up there to reconnect with his grandpa one day? Can grandpa put in a "good word" for when he gets there? A song that makes you stop and think. For all those special people you have lost in your life, these 3 minutes and 30 seconds will bring you a little closer to them.
Inspiration Behind "Good Word"
Written By: Sabrina Lentini, William Stone & Sam Varga , Produced By: William Stone
“ ‘Good Word’ is a song I wrote with Sabrina Lentini and later tweaked and recorded with William Stone. It was written while my Grandpa was battling cancer. He had come to Louisville, my hometown, for his final treatment. My entire extended family gathered around him to spend some time in my childhood home. It was a song I wrote in anticipation of him leaving us, me coming to grips with my thoughts and what I wanted my final moments to be like with my grandfather. My Grandpa had a line for everything. His repeated wisdom rolled like country hits on a jukebox. We craved those same lines and they never got old. My hope is this song just gives the listener a few minutes to check in with someone they’ve lost and miss them just for a bit”
Q & A With Sam Varga
Q: What was that "light bulb" moment you knew you wanted to pursue music?
A: "The Odyssey by Homer. In it, Odysseus travels the world and goes on a crazy ass adventure. There's this Invocation of the Muse which says "hey Muses, help me out on this journey" and it's from The Odyssey. I've written that out and nailed it to my wall. But there's a piece in that book where Odysseus and his companions are trapped on the island of the Lotus Eaters. This place is pure bliss. They are getting as much food as they want, all the wine they can drink and all these nymphs are laying on tin foil. All of the sudden they wake up and it's been 7 years. They were having so much fun, they forgot about their trip, I remember 2016. Sitting in Lynchburg, Tennessee, I had just gotten this dream internship and got to spend the summer at Jack Daniels. I talked about whiskey everyday, got to meet all these amazing people and I saw this line in my mind of what my career could look like at Jack. It seemed so awesome. Right away, I started to think about music. I was like "oh, shit". I had this great opportunity in business that could set me up for a great life, but the notion of me not doing music made me stop. Because whether I achieved the "big break" or not, music was always going to be more important to me. With Jack Daniels being the temple of the Lotus Eaters, I had to put that aside to go chase what I loved, to be truly happy."
Q: Favorite thing about Nashville?
A: "Oh, the people for sure. If you strip away all the pompous circumstances in Nashville, take away Broadway and Record Labels, there is nowhere else I would rather be in this world - with all my family and friends who are here. This is a songwriting town. Songs don't get told without real people in the room telling real stories. So definitely my favorite thing is the people."
Q: What's one thing that most people don't know about you?
A: "Dude that's so hard...trying to think of something that is sneaky about me. I'm a twin, I have an amazing twin sister Noel. I'm really into shooting. I don't think anyone ever pegs me as the guy who has a whole bunch of guns. Most people probably think I'm a snowflake. I still got a good amount of guns. I was on the Kentucky State rifle team when I was in high school."
Q: What is your dream concert?
A: "This is a tricky question, because you can't do it the same way as a dream dinner. Well, maybe you can, though I feel like having Guns N Roses and Jason Isbell at dinner would throw people for a loop. I'm thinking... I would want to see, well first it would have to be at the Ryman. It’s the best place to see a show on Earth. At the Ryman, I would want to see Guns N Roses featuring Machine Gun Kelly, My Chemical Romance and Mayday Parade."