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Sammie
R&B


Miami's preteen R&B singer Sammie was exposed to music even before he was born. His mother, a former professional singer, sang in the church choir while she was carrying him. Fittingly, Sammie's first singing triumph also occurred at church; at age four, he received a standing ovation for his performance of "Troubles Don't Last Always." Music was never far from Sammie's mind, even at school; teachers would catch him singing under his breath during classes, but encouraged his talent. Eventually, a music teacher from Charles Drew Elementary, a nearby magnet school with a special performing arts program, heard of Sammie's vocal gifts and he transferred there at the start of third grade. Soon after, he formed a vocal group, the Wonder 3, with two junior high boys. Sammie's music teacher was so impressed with their performances that she sent a videotape of them to the television program Showtime at the Apollo, which led to an audition for the group and a 1998 solo performance for Sammie. Ultimately winning the show's finals, Sammie and his mother were contacted by Joyce Irby, an agent connected to Atlanta-based producer/songwriter Dallas Austin, who has worked with Monica and Another Bad Creation. Austin brought Sammie to his studios for some demos and almost a year later, had him return to record his debut album, From the Bottom to the Top, which was released in early 2000 by Capitol Records. Heather Phares

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