Sammy Chand’s brand of music combines a distinct mix of elements from around the world. His music has been featured in shows like The Oprah Winfrey Show, So You Think You Can Dance, No Reservations, America’s Most Wanted, and over 50 other television programs around the world.
His collaborations include work with the Wu Tang Clan, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Satinder Sartaaj, Michael Franti, Tisha Campbell Martin, Karmacy, Ozomatli, Chali 2na, Asha Puthli, Kanwar Gill, Rasika Mathur and many other talented artists.
Sammy’s recent work as Music Supervisor of the film SOLD has engaged his passion in the fight against Human Trafficking. He also worked alongside John McDowell on the film’s score. Sammy’s Los Angeles based label Rukus Avenue, the first of its kind in North America, will be releasing the Soundtrack to the film SOLD.
We had a chance to speak to Sammy about his career, here’s what he had to say:
Why did you choose to be in the music industry?
Why – is a very interesting question. I think it had a lot to do with my growing desire to make music, to break the mold, to be a voice for our community, and make some kind of impact with it all. I chose music because it was always around me and I started learning it from a young age, but I also think music has had such a particular role in defining cultural movements. I’ve adopted it as my weapon of change, the voice of my inner self. It now defines me as a person.
Who/what inspired you to get into this industry?
The inspiration definitely came from the music itself. The process of making music, my intimacy with the music I was making definitely launched my obsession with my craft. What is really interesting is that my relationship with my business side has only existed because the music I was making needed an ecosystem to go be a part of. My music needed a place to live so it always required me to overcome any obstacles that stopped it from doing so, which in turn served as quite an educational process and the genesis of a self-created platform.
How long have you been in the music industry?
My involvement in the music industry goes back to 1991. I’ve worked with all kinds of people through the years, and I’ve had the fine fortune of learning from so many folks. I’ve definitely been around the block! I’ve been very fortunate to enjoy some unique experiences through my time in the music industry.
Tell us a bit more about the movie Sold? What is it about & how did you get involved?
Sold is what I consider a very important film to improving the general condition of over what is believed to
be 30 million people every day. The effects of slavery and human trafficking have deep scars in our history and the thought that it is so prevalent in this day is absolutely shocking. This film does an exceptional job of shining the light onto the condition of sexual slavery and the many environments through which it thrives.
I was fortunate enough to meet Jeffrey Brown, the director of the film, many years ago as he was working on the script. He told me that he had been listening to my music as he worked on the script and that for me was very moving. Nobody had ever said that to me! Needless to say, we got to working together on more and more as the process of the film went on. I got to know more about the project and was really moved by the topic and the impact this message could make. It’s already making a difference in the world and is directly responsible to changing actual laws in countries on how people cross borders. I hope it continues.
Have you had your music collaborated in other movies, apart from Sold? Where?
Yes, I’ve had the fine fortune of having music in many films through the years like Leela, American Desi, American Chai, Quarter Life Crisis, some international films, and some others, but Sold is certainly the most unique project to date. My music has made it to many TV shows, and I really enjoy making albums, but film has this ability to pull me in because there is a creative theme you work with, and that often captures my imagination. There’s a standard that a film sets, that as a composer you’re called on to meet its message, and for me, I enjoy that challenge of making a scene feel complete.
What are your goals for this year?
My goal is to use more of my music to make a difference in the world. I’ve been engaged on several fronts in the fight against human trafficking ranging from some of the UN’s initiatives to more localized efforts in the Indian subcontinent and around the world. The film has certainly helped inspire some of these paths for me and for that I’m really grateful. With that being said, I’ve been deep in the studio turning knobs and pushing buttons for my new album. That’s a very exciting project that features Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Michael Franti, Cappadonna, Ozomatli, Tisha Campbell Martin, Kanwar Gill, Divine, Chali 2na, and more.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
In exactly 5 years from now, I hope to be at my son’s basketball game, with my daughter, in some junior high school gym, watching him drop 40 points. Only to rush home to a studio session where I’m working on a song with Chance The Rapper, and his studio session is followed by a film premiere of the latest soundtrack I produced. I’d then drive home from the premiere with my wife and pickup a banana milkshake on the way home to celebrate. Now that sounds like a perfect day 5 years from now.
What would you say is your greatest accomplishment so far?
Oh boy. Greatest accomplishment? I’m going to say on a personal note its being married with two beautiful children. On a music business note I’d say it has to be my record company Rukus Avenue. I’m very proud of what our label has down through its 20 years and what it has helped inspire and the community it has developed. For me, its pioneering effort is really the driving force behind the reputation I’ve developed. Musically, I love my track with Michael Franti on the Sold soundtrack that’s out now called Once a Day.
Sammy will be in attendance alongside CNN Hero, Anuradha Koirala at a special Toronto screening of “Sold” presented by Aura Freedom, June 2nd at the Carlton Cinema at 8 PM.