In high school, his primary focus might have been taking the Providence Academy football team to the state tournament, while music followed as a hobby. But since graduating in 2012, Samuel Knight has moved to Cleveland, Ohio, to begin college, and his hobby started to develop into the career he is currently pursuing in Nashville, Tenn.
Though it wasn’t always a priority, music was always present in his life growing up. “My family has a very musical background, mostly within the theatrical and classical fields,” Knight says. He began writing his own music and performing around the Minneapolis area at age 13. Knight took the lead role in multiple musical productions at Providence between 2008 and 2012, giving him a taste of what performing might look like in a professional landscape.
“We all knew something special was afoot for Samuel,” Providence headmaster Todd Flanders says. Knight is described as grounded, outgoing and great at communication. “For him, music and faith have always been intertwined,” Flanders says. “He sees music as a gift from God to be given to others.”
Knight’s interest in music continued to grow. “While most kids were staying up late studying for the big test, I was the kid in the basement of his house singing his lungs out until 2 in the morning,” Knight says. “Grades were important to me, but for some reason they always took a back seat to music.”
While attending college in Cleveland, Knight received a call from Jimmy Mitchell, music entrepreneur and label president for Mysterium Records. After learning that he had won a YouTube contest set up by the small independent label company, Knight was offered a spot at a music festival in Nashville. “Ever since that performance, my life has changed drastically,” Knight says. “I moved to Nashville and embarked on a 42-city, nationwide tour with Love Good Music from June-August 2013. It was a life-changing experience.”
Being an independent artist at 20 has its ups and downs. Knight says that some of his challenges have been the finances and coping with the sheer reality of the industry.
“From the outside, touring, photo shoots, performing and recording in music studios seems like a dream come true,” he says. “However, the work that goes into everything behind the scenes in order to make things possible has been a serious eye-opener.”
Knight has never been one to shy away from a challenge, according to his dad, Steve Pellegrene. “He understood that in order to be successful, you have to go where the market is,” he says. “Go to where you can succeed the best. If it doesn’t work out, then you try something different.”
According to Knight, his biggest project is currently in progress, as he works with producers and collaborates with independent artists around the country. He and his team hope to release a free downloadable EP in early fall, and his latest singles are available on iTunes. In the meantime, Knight continues to perform around Nashville.
“I can’t think of anyone else with that level of talent, so well prepared to handle whatever fame and fortune might come his way,” Flanders says. “We’re so proud of him and grateful for him.”