Volachith Intharaphithak, better known as Sam, was born in Vientiane, Laos. In 2009 he released his self-titled debut album. With songs like “Bork Hai Khoi Hu (Let Me Know)” and Pen Nyang Tor Kun (What’s Our Status)”. The album brought the sound of modern R&B vocals to the Lao audience. In the same year Sam also wrote “The Spirit of the Flame” for the South East Asia Games hosted in Laos and received multiple awards from the Lao Music Awards, including best R&B singer, best R&B song (Pen Nyang Tor Kun) and best producer.
Sam has also worked on many groundbreaking projects for the Lao entertainment industry, ranging from the first Claymation TV series in Laos “My Village”, to feature films like “At the Horizon”, “Huk Elee”, “Huk Elee 2”, “Hong Harm Tao”, “The Anniversary”. Today Sam owns and manages the successful Inthara recording Studio.
So how did Sam develop his love for music? “I went to Australia in 1996 to start high school in Sydney. I remember that at our high school, I saw many of my friends liked to play musical instruments, my older brother liked to play Guitar and my relatives who were the same ages as me, also loved music and even played the bass, drum, guitar at their house. So, when I studied high school, I got highest score in music subject rather than other subjects. After I graduated from high school in 2002, I wanted to continue my study in music, but my parents did not allow me to do because they were afraid that it would be difficult for me to find the job when I came back to Laos. However, I still chose to follow my passion and that’s why I decided to study at the John Martin Cass (JMC) Academy in Sydney, where I could learn more about music and get a bachelor’s degree at the same time. Finally, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the Sound Audio Engineering (SAE) College, majoring in recording arts, and came back to Laos in 2006.”
International Music Day is always a special day for Sam. He believes that music is a universal language that everyone in the world can feel. “Music helps people understand each other and enhances their communication” explains Sam “I think International Music Day is the day that we celebrate and appreciate the importance of music because music is always in our lives, whether we are sad or happy. I believe we can use this day to broaden our horizons by listening to new music or explore more experience from other countries’ music.”
Sam also has advice for younger Lao students who aspire to follow a similar career path “For those who want to continue their studies in this field, first you must ask yourself if you really love or want to learn it. Are you ready to do it even if there is pressure in the future? I think younger students should follow their hearts, studying the subject that they really love and want to wake up every day to do.”
Volachith ‘Sam’ Intharaphithak is one of 2000 Lao Australia Alumni who are using their skills and experience to contribute to Lao’s development.