Originally from the beach cities of Southern California, Sam’s early influences include Bob Marley, Sublime, and No Doubt.
After falling on tough times, the loss of his mother and the subsequent quasi-homelessness, he moved to the Bay Area where he has a legacy of four generations. His Great Grandfather built thousands of homes, many along San Francisco’s Ocean Beach in the first half of the 20th century. San Francisco was always a place Sam wanted to be.
Sam says, “Writing songs was the way I occupied my mind. It was the only thing that really interested me and held my focus.” After several failed bands and a series of entry level jobs, Sam decided to strike out on his own as a solo performer. He began street performing daily in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, an idea he credits his Uncle with. “The first day I went out I made $60. I said to myself ‘I bet one day I’ll make $100.’ And then it became, ‘I bet I can make $200.’” In this way Sam supported himself for more than 2 years. One CD at a time, one dollar at a time. On July 4th 2012 Sam sold 100 CD’s in 3 hours. “I ran out of CD’s! I nearly had a panic attack. I knew that meant I had something, and I couldn’t believe it.”
Many of the successes and relationships Sam has had since, are directly related to the time spent busking. For instance, Sam recently joined Andy Grammer for the West Coast portion of his “Honey I’m
I’m Good Tour,” performing live in front of thousands each night as Andy’s only opening act.
Sam’s latest single “Future Me” made its debut on The Bay Area's LIVE 105.3FM. The music video followed shortly after, hitting its first 100,000 views on Facebook in only 2 days.
In addition to writing and performing for audiences, Sam’s original music is often heard in TV shows on FOX, BRAVO, MTV, SPIKE and more. He is currently writing and recording songs for The UFC. His original theme music is also part of an upcoming series on A&E.
Although he is no longer street performing, Sam maintains a busy performance schedule with over 200 shows per year, playing dozens of college events, corporate events (Oakley Sunglasses, Oracle, Red Bull, Casamigos Tequila, and many more), plus festivals, tour dates, and a weekly residency with The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco.
Sam recently signed a record deal with San Francisco's Text Me Records. Sam’s first single with Text Me, “Palm Trees,” was released March 23, 2018. The song, about an ex-lover from Hawaii, is true to Sam’s sometimes chill California sound, playful and clever. The underlying message is a little less light hearted: “No one is an island, but damn if you ain’t trying to be…Just you and the palm trees.”
San Francisco weather is warming up this week, just in time for Sam Johnson's breezy new beach-inspired pop song, "Palm Trees." This dreamy, upbeat tune is the first of many singles that Sam plans to debut over the next several months with San Francisco label, Text Me Records. His Southern California roots, permeated by influences of Sublime and No Doubt, float out of each note in "Palm Trees," creating an apropos backdrop to summer's impending heat and whimsy.