About Sam

It is testament to Sam Purkin’s enduring influence and appeal as a contemporary jazz composer that, while his most recent release was as co-composer of saxophonist Warren Hill’s hit “La Dolce Vita” in 2009, the latest update he received on his streaming activity shows that his songs amassed 5.75 million streams (incredible totals for instrumental music) over the course of the previous year. The majority of the multi-talented, Canadian born, Los Angeles based keyboardist’s numbers are from “La Dolce Vita” (which has amassed 12.4M+), supergroup Fourplay’s “Any Time of Day” (a co-write with bassist Nathan East from 1997’s gold-certified The Best of Fourplay) and Hill’s “Tell Me All Your Secrets” and “Promises,” Purkin’s first Top 40 Adult Contemporary single.

Starting in the early 1990s, the majority of Purkin’s success has been as composer and co-producer with Hill, a fellow Canadian and Berklee School of Music graduate. Their song “Waiting for a Love” from Kiss Under the Moon was a #1 hit on AC Radio in Europe and a Top 30 success on the U.S. AC charts. Purkin also contributed four tracks to the saxophonist’s 1993 Billboard Top Ten album Devotion, which also hit #1 on the Radio & Records New Adult Contemporary chart. Its 1994 follow-up Truth, featuring six co-writes by Purkin, was #1 on R&R’s NAC chart for seven weeks, #1 on Gavin’s NAC chart and reached #6 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Albums chart. In 1991, Purkin served as Hill’s keyboardist when the saxophonist opened for Natalie Cole on her 44-date Unforgettable tour – including three sold out shows at Radio City Music Hall.

Purkin’s triumphs with Hill opened other doors of opportunity within the contemporary jazz realm, including the Fourplay track (also released on the Japanese version of their Elixir album), co-writing the title track to Don Grusin’s 1998 album Laguna Cove and co-writing “Things Change” with Rick Braun on the trumpeter’s 1994 album Night Walk, which spent five weeks at #2 on the R&R NAC chart. In 2000, he produced, arranged and composed nine tracks for Sony Music artist Danny Jung’s Make a Wish album. Two years later, Purkin wrote “The Moment” for superstar saxophonist Michael Lington’s Everything Must Change album. In addition, he composed music for several popular soap operas, including The Young & The Restless, General Hospital, Guiding Light, One Life to Live, As the World Turns and All My Children.

As a student at Berklee, the Calgary native won numerous songwriting competitions within the college and with ASCAP in NY. After graduating Cum Laude with a degree in Music Synthesis & Keyboards, he moved to Los Angeles and signed on with Len Freedman Music, the Business Manager for Lionel Richie and other artists, including Donald Fagen and Tom Scott. Pursuing his career in LA, Purkin quickly joined forces with renowned keyboard and synth ace Michael Boddicker, who introduced him to the legendary Quincy Jones. Jones hired him as a rhythm and keyboard programmer for his smash all-star album Back on the Block. As word spread throughout the music community about Purkin’s Mac expertise, he became the go-to guy for any task relating computer programming to music.

He soon became something of an ultimate multi-tasker for a wide array of artists and producers, including Beck, Sheila E., Rickie Lee Jones and Trevor Horn (producer for Seal, Yes and ABC). Purkin’s success in the pop music industry translated perfectly to the realm of film music, leading to work with greats like Michael Kamen (Lethal Weapon, X- Men), Basil Poledouris (Conan, Robocop), Bruce Broughton (Silverado) and Ira Newborn (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Dragnet).

In recent years, Purkin has composed new music with pop/rock icons David Paich (Toto) and Bill Champlin (Chicago). Though his other career as a thriving Apple-centered tech consultant has taken precedence in recent years, he remains open to new collaborations in both the pop and contemporary jazz realms and is eager to dedicate more time to creating impactful, enduring music.

“When it comes to music, it’s all about the feeling that it invokes,” says Purkin, who counts his greatest influences as Bob James, Grover Washington, Jr. and Jeff Lorber. “The songs I wrote with Warren were very sensual in nature, and the combination of that vibe and those grooves we created set the tone for a lot of great music to come in the genre. When I write, I’m always striving for that special feeling where the hair on the back of my neck stands up, where the song captures my whole being. To think I could be part of that equation for so long is amazing, and I look forward to making more magic like that in the near future!”