Sam Tsui

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Sam Tsui
Birth nameSamuel Tsui
Born(1989-05-02) May 2, 1989 (age 24)[1][2]
OriginBlue Bell, Pennsylvania, U.S.
GenresPop, acoustic, synthpop music
InstrumentsVocals, Piano
Years active2008–present
LabelsMud Hut Digital, NoodleHouse, Sh-K-Boom
Associated actsKurt Schneider, Christina Grimmie, Elle Winter
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Sam Tsui
Birth nameSamuel Tsui
Born(1989-05-02) May 2, 1989 (age 24)[1][2]
OriginBlue Bell, Pennsylvania, U.S.
GenresPop, acoustic, synthpop music
InstrumentsVocals, Piano
Years active2008–present
LabelsMud Hut Digital, NoodleHouse, Sh-K-Boom
Associated actsKurt Schneider, Christina Grimmie, Elle Winter

Samuel Tsui (Born May 2, 1989[2]) is an American musician and Internet celebrity who rose to fame on YouTube. He is best known for covering songs by popular artists like Adele, Britney Spears, Jay Sean, Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars, as well as for his original songs, medleys, and mashups.

Life and career[edit]

1989-2008: Early life[edit]

Sam Tsui was born on May 2, 1989. Tsui is of Hong Kong American descent; his father is from Hong Kong, and his mother is from Iowa.[3] 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.[4][5][6] He was active in high school musicals, including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Urinetown, Titanic the Musical, 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.

2009-2010: Career Beginnings and "The Covers"[edit]

Sam Tsui made his television debut on ABC World News on October 28, 2009, singing The Jackson 5's "I'll Be There".[7] 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.[8][9]

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.[10] Four episodes were released, with Tsui playing the lead role of Cooper. Following the popularity of the series, it was announced that a film, currently in production, would be made based on the series.[10][11] The episodes garnered millions of views on YouTube.

In 2010, Sam 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.[12] 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.[13][14] 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 seventy million views.[11]

2011-2012: YouTube and rise in popularity[edit]

In 2011, Sam 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.[15] In March 2011, Tsui, and like from his song "Start Again", were also mentioned in the book "Seeker" by Andy Frankham-Allen published in print format by Hirst Publishing, and in all digital formats by Untreed Reads Publishing.[16] In November 2011, he made a mashup with "It Will Rain" by Bruno Mars, and "Set Fire to the Rain" by Adele, which has more than 1,800,000 views.

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 includes 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.[4][10][12] Sam Tsui was mentioned three times by Tom Hanks when he addressed the class of Yale 2011.[17] Tsui was also featured in the 2010 Yale Admissions video. The video, entitled "That's Why I Chose Yale",[18] reveals information about the college with students and admission officers breaking out into song across the campus.

Sam 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 two million subscribers.[11][19] His videos have been described by Time as a combination of Glee and Attack of the Clones.[20]

2013-Now: "Make It Up" and future projects[edit]

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.[21] In September 2013, Tsui and Schneider performed in Singapore and Hong Kong.[22] Tsui has so far released music videos for "Make It Up", "Grey Area", "Shadow", "Bring Me the Night", and "Worth It".

Sam 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 will be going 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,[23] 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".



Studio albums[edit]

The Covers
Sam Tsui's "The Cover" Album Cover
Studio album by Sam Tsui & Kurt Hugo Schneider
ReleasedFebruary 9, 2010 (2010-02-09)
GenrePop, rock
ProducerKurt Hugo Schneider
Make It Up
Sam Tsui's "Make It Up" Album Cover
Studio album by Sam Tsui & Kurt Hugo Schneider
ReleasedMay 11, 2013 (2013-05-11)
GenrePop, rock
ProducerKurt Hugo Schneider
1."Make It Up"  Sam Tsui3:34
2."Grey Area"  Sam Tsui4:12
3."Shadow"  Sam Tsui4:02
4."Wherever You Are"  Sam Tsui3:25
5."Me Without You"  Sam Tsui3:48
6."Heads Up" (featuring Lindsey Stirling)Sam Tsui4:07
7."Naive"  Sam Tsui3:29
8."Story"  Sam Tsui3:33
9."Bring Me the Night" (featuring Kina Grannis)Sam Tsui3:59
10."Open Up the Sky"  Sam Tsui3:42
11."Worth It"  Sam Tsui4:37
12."Walking Backwards"  Sam Tsui3:36
13."Next Best Thing"  Sam Tsui3:57
14."Don't Want an Ending (Acoustic)"  Sam Tsui3:57
Total length:

Extended plays[edit]


Tsui has also released twenty-three singles digitally: two original songs under NoodleHouse Records and nineteen covers under Mud Hut Digital.[28][29]

YearTitle & 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)[30]
"The One That Got Away" (Katy Perry cover)
2012"Domino" (Jessie J cover)[31]
"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 ft. 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)
"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 song)" (Demi Lovato cover)
"Make It Up" (original song)
"Just Give Me a Reason ft Kylee" (P!nk Cover)
"22" (Taylor Swift cover)
"Grey Area" (original song)
"Come & Get It (Selena Gomez song)" (Selena Gomez cover)
"Bring Me The Night ft Kina Grannis" (original song)
"Treasure/Get Lucky Mashup (Bruno Mars and Daft Punk cover)
"We Can't Stop ft Jason Pitts (Miley Cyrus cover)
"Worth It" (original song)
"Unsinkable" ft Elle Winter (original song)
"Roar" (Katy Perry cover)
"Wake Me Up" (Avicii cover)
"Applause" (Lady Gaga cover)


  1. ^ "SAM SUM ILLUSTRATION". Sam Tsui's Personal Site. Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  2. ^ a b Sam Tsui on Facebook
  3. ^ Sam Tsui Interview|Singer & Songwriter. November 13, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "The Duke's Men of Yale: Sam Tsui". Yale University. Retrieved 2010-09-14. 
  5. ^ "Sam Tsui's one-man choir hits YouTube". ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs. 2010-09-12. Retrieved 2010-09-14. 
  6. ^ a b "Sam Tsui & Kurt Schneider: The Covers". Sh-K-Boom Records. Retrieved 2009-09-14. 
  7. ^ "Tsui-eet sounds on ABC's World News Tonight". Yale Daily News. The Yale Daily News Publishing Company. 2009-10-28. Retrieved 2010-09-14. 
  8. ^ "Cross Campus: 11.12.09". Yale Daily News. The Yale Daily News Publishing Company. 2009-11-12. Retrieved 2010-09-14. 
  9. ^ Joe (2009-11-11). "Sam Tsui upstages the entire cast of Glee". The Yale Herald. Yale University. Retrieved 2010-09-14. 
  10. ^ a b c "Kurt Schneider re(de)fines formula for YouTube success". The Yale Herald. Yale University. 2010-01-29. Retrieved 2010-09-14. 
  11. ^ a b c Schneider, Kurt Hugo. "KurtHugoSchneider's Channel". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-12-02. 
  12. ^ a b "Incredible Feats". The Oprah Winfrey Show. Harpo Productions. Retrieved 2010-09-14. 
  13. ^ Zuckerman, Esther (2010-12-02). "Tsui '11 and Schneider '10 on 'Ellen'". Yale Daily News (The Yale Daily News Publishing Company). Retrieved 2010-12-02. 
  14. ^ "YouTube Sensation Sam Tsui Performs!". Warner Bros. December 2, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-02. 
  15. ^ "My "Hold it Against Me" cover was just posted on @britneyspears official website!! Ahhh! :-D". Twitter. 2011-02-04. Retrieved 2011-02-06. 
  16. ^ "Interview with Andy Frankham-Allen". 
  17. ^ "Tom Hanks Addresses Yale Class of 2011". 
  18. ^ "Video Gives Musical Answer to the Question: ‘Why Choose Yale?’". 
  19. ^ Kurt Hugo Schneider. YouTube. Retrieved on 2013-03-31.
  20. ^ Fletcher, Dan (2009-11-23). "YouTube Effect: Making Money from Viral Videos". Time (Time Inc). Retrieved 2010-12-02. 
  21. ^ Tour Dates- A Summer with Alex Goot and Friends
  22. ^ KHS Tour
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ "The Covers by Sam Tsui & Kurt Schneider". iTunes Store. Retrieved 2010-09-14. 
  25. ^ "Make It Up by Sam Tsui & Kurt Hugo Schneider". iTunes Store. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  26. ^ "DJ Got Us Falling In Love (produced by Kurt Hugo Schneider)". iTunes Store. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  27. ^ Connecting to the iTunes Store. Retrieved on 2013-03-31.
  28. ^ "Sam Tsui". iTunes Store. Retrieved 2011-03-18. 
  29. ^ "Sam Tsui: MP3 Downloads". Retrieved 2011-02-15. 
  30. ^ iTunes – Music – Moves Like Jagger – Single by Sam Tsui. (2011-11-15). Retrieved on 2013-03-31.
  31. ^ iTunes – Music – Domino – Single by Sam Tsui. (2012-02-04). Retrieved on 2013-03-31.

External links[edit]