Wanderlust Samantha Gagliardi, aka Sam Esther, has performed not only overseas, but also ON-seas. It seems the magic to her madness has not only been keeping an experimental mindset towards music, but also an availability to go where God leads her. Sam takes time out of her busy schedule to share with us how she became who she is today, her craziest travel stories, the future of her music, and more!
Sam, in less than a decade you’ve lived in Oklahoma, New York, China, California, and have spent years traveling the seas as a professional performer on cruise ships. Who or what are you running from and should we be using a fake alias for this interview?
Haha well I’m running from a secret organization from Mars that I stole chocolate from back when I was 12 years old. Just call me CoCo Stola. Haha in all seriousness, I moved a lot growing up, mainly between Oklahoma and California, so it only felt natural to keep moving! I was never afraid to take a leap of faith to follow my dreams, and so far I’ve taken a lot of leaps! I want to try to be as available as possible to God, as my faith is pretty important to me, so if I feel the push from Him, I go! Currently though I’m being told to stay still, and let me tell you, that is loads harder than moving every 3-6 months!
So your lifestyle is a result of moving around a lot with your family and a desire to be available for God. Was music and acting something that you grew up with as well or were these talents developed later on?
So music has always been very important to me! When I was around 3 years old my parents found out I had a communication disorder, so I couldn’t read until later and when I spoke I spoke basically baby talk until I was 5 maybe? I’d have to confirm with my mom! But all that being said, music always made sense to me! And I could always pick up a melody super quickly, so it was used loads in my education! I started out dancing and didn’t really know I could sing until 5th grade, when a choir teacher told me I was really good, it was such a crazy experience for me but I was sooo thankful for it, in that it inspired the passion for singing I have today! After that I got involved in local theatre groups at 13, and the rest is history!
Tell us the craziest story from your cruise ship years and how this seafaring phase of your life effected who you are as a musician.
Oh gosh there are so many crazy stories to choose from!! It’s really hard to distinguish between the crazy and the normal, it all blurred together! There was a time in the Bahamas that some men in a car yelled out and asked my friends if they could “buy” me, that was crazy… haha! Fortunately, I wasn’t purchased, so all went well! Ships brought me through loads of crazy experiences, some real lows and real highs, which as a musician has really allowed me to be very vulnerable with my writing, and open to new and different types of sound!
Do you have a favorite time that you performed live that you could share with us?
I’ve got 3! Now I have loads of incredible performance memories, but these take the cake! First: When I was 19 years old I got to sing in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in front of 8,000 people, and rocked my lil’ socks off! That moment just confirmed to me that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life! Second: I got to put together my own show with my best friend on my last ship, and it was the most fun I’ve ever had! Performing with her was an absolute dream, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat! & third: “Fanny Brice” in “Funny Girl.” Best role, best experience, I could never do a musical again and be satisfied because I got to play her.
Sell us on your sound in 10 words or less and tell us where you see your musical style heading in the future.
Rooted in rock with flairs from different countries and genres! As for my musical style, I’m not totally sure! I’m really open to experiment in sounds I would’ve never played with, but ultimately my heart is in rock, so as long as there are touches of that in my music, I’ll be a happy camper!!