Sam Chookoon aka Mr Cowboy grabbed our attention with his original Samoan song 'E le'o a'u se fufulu ulo' about a broken relationship & being treated like dirt by the woman he loves.
It wasn't the subject matter that got our attention though - it was the fact it's very obviously a Country Music song. We talked to Sam to find out where he got his love of country music from & what else he has coming up.
Check out our interview with him below. Thank you to Janene Cissi for the assist. All images by Janene Cissi
Sam: I am born and currently live in Samoa in the small village of Vaitoloa which is about a 5 minute drive from the centre of Apia town. I live with my parents and extended family and I attended Pesega College.
You recently released a country song in Samoan - how long have you been doing music and what was your journey into the country genre?
Like all Samoan kids I attended Sunday school but I was frustrated that I couldn’t hit the high notes like the other kids. My dad saw how upset I was and introduced me to Elvis Presley, from there I got into Jim Reeves, Dwight Yoakam, Charley Pride, George Straight, Patsy Cline etc. My interest in singing "low key" songs just fuelled my passion for country music and I believe the pace and tone of the genre best represents the way I live in Samoa.
What struggles have you experienced coming up in the music industry?
There hasn’t been any struggles because this has always been a hobby/passion so making a name was never a motivation. I would go to karaoke places with friends and I would sing country, and I didn’t really care what people thought. It was just "my thing" and it just so happens to be that people have taken a liking to it. People get a shock when I sing really old country songs but its not me trying to be vintage or sound classic... that’s what I grew up on haha! That’s really all I know and continue to know, country music is my life even though I dress and look like a rapper.
What do you have coming up that we can look out for and what goals do you have for the future?
The plan is to record 2 albums this year and do some shows overseas in NZ, AU, HAWAII & USA. I still have a lot to learn about the genre and the beautiful thing about being a musician is that every day it brings a new idea, so youre always learning. I have to say, since Ive been sharing my music on social media it is really encouraging to see a lot of fellow pacific islanders supporting country. I never planned to be the "Pied Piper of country music" in the islands but its great to see people coming out and saying they love country. Its just awesome.
He has the visuals for his latest single 'O le Alofa' due to be released next week
Follow him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mrcowboy62
and check out his cover of the The Eagles 'Love will keep us Alive' below