Sam Tsui

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Sam Tsui
Samuel Tsui

(1989-05-02) May 2, 1989 (age 30)[1]
Blue Bell, Pennsylvania
OccupationSinger-songwriter, actor
Casey Breves (m. 2016)
Musical career
OriginBlue Bell, Pennsylvania, U.S.
  • vocals
  • piano
  • synthesizer
  • glockenspiel
Years active2008 – present
Associated acts

Samuel Tsui (born May 2, 1989[1]) is an American singer/songwriter, video producer and actor. He rose to fame as an Internet celebrity and is known for covering songs by popular artists like Adele, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars and lot more, as well as some original songs, medleys, and mashups, along with his frequent collaborations with fellow YouTuber Kurt Hugo Schneider. As of August 25, 2018, Tsui had reached 3 million subscribers.[2]

Life and career[edit]

1989–2008: Early life[edit]

Sam Tsui was born on May 2, 1989.[3] His father is of Cantonese descent and his mother is of European descent and hails from Iowa.[4] He can speak some Cantonese.[5] Tsui has a brother, Kent Kevin. Tsui grew up in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, a street away from Kurt Schneider, his producer and accompanist, with whom he attended Wissahickon High School.[6][7][8] He was active in high school musicals, including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Urinetown, Titanic, and Miss Saigon. Tsui attended Yale University, where he was a member of Davenport College and The Duke's Men of Yale, an all-male acappella group. He also majored in classical Greek at Yale University.

Trinity Church Southport[edit]

While studying at Yale University, Tsui continued to develop his skills as a paid soloist at Trinity Church Southport, an Episcopal church. In a recent interview with Southport-native Quinn Barry, Tsui stated that then-choirmaster Alan Murchie, well-renowned within Christian circles for his stellar work in the arts, taught him how to love music and inspired him to follow his dreams.[citation needed]

2009–2010: Career Beginnings[edit]

Tsui appeared on The ABC World News on October 28, 2009, singing The Jackson 5's "I'll Be There".[9] Tsui also went on to perform on The Bonnie Hunt Show in November of the same year, where he was interviewed and performed Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)". He also appeared on It's On with Alexa Chung, singing Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" for the cast of American television series Glee.[10][11]

Tsui also worked on his own project in 2009, where he and Kurt Schneider produced a series of episodes of College Musical, a comedy web series parodying the High School Musical film series, with original songs composed by Schneider.[12] Four episodes were released, with Tsui playing the lead role of Cooper. Following the popularity of the series, it was announced that a film (released on September 3, 2014, 8pm Pacific Time), would be made based on the series.[12][13] The episodes garnered millions of views on YouTube.

In 2010, Tsui released his first cover album, The Covers. The album, released on February 9, 2010, features covers of hits from Michael Jackson, Journey, Beyoncé, Jason Mraz, and Lady Gaga among other artists. On February 22, 2010, Tsui appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show with his producer, Kurt Schneider.[14] The two were interviewed, and Tsui performed his medley of Michael Jackson songs. On December 2, 2010, Tsui gave an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and performed a mashup of Katy Perry's "Firework" and Bruno Mars' "Grenade" with Schneider.[15][16] In December 2010, Tsui collaborated with fellow YouTube singer Christina Grimmie, singing "Just a Dream", which is the most viewed video on the YouTube channel "KurtHugoSchneider", with more than 100 million views.[13]

2011–2012: YouTube and rise in popularity[edit]

In 2011, Tsui debuted his own YouTube channel, apart from his collaboration with Kurt Schneider. On February 3, 2011, Tsui was featured on Britney Spears' official website, along with his cover of "Hold It Against Me".[17] In March 2011, Tsui, and like from his song "Start Again", were also mentioned in the novel Seeker by Andy Frankham-Allen published in print format by Hirst Publishing, and in all digital formats by Untreed Reads Publishing.[18] In November 2011, he made a mashup with "It Will Rain" by Bruno Mars, and "Set Fire to the Rain" by Adele.

In 2011, Tsui was a behind-the-scenes host for the third season of NBC's a capella competition show, The Sing-Off. He recorded a "Judges Medley" that included Sara Bareilles' "Love Song", Ben Folds' "Gone" and Shawn Stockman's (Boyz II Men) "On Bended Knee". The video is free to view on both NBC's website and Tsui's independent YouTube channel, TheSamTsui.

Tsui graduated from Yale magna cum laude with a major in classical Greece in 2011. Tsui is proficient in the C++ programming language.[6][12][14] Tsui was mentioned three times by Tom Hanks when he addressed the class of Yale 2011.[19] Tsui was also featured in the 2010 Yale Admissions video. The video, entitled "That's Why I Chose Yale",[20] reveals information about the college with students and admission officers breaking out into song across the campus. In 2017, he co-starred in a new admissions video entitled "That's Why I Toured Yale".[21]

Tsui has collaborated with fellow musician Kurt Hugo Schneider since high school, when the pair recorded music with an electronic keyboard and GarageBand. Both attended Yale University, where a musical partnership developed. As of April 2017, the YouTube channel "KurtHugoSchneider" has garnered over 2.1 billion total views and over 8 million subscribers.[13][22] His videos have been described by Time as a combination of Glee and Attack of the Clones.[23]

2013–present: Make It Up and future projects[edit]

Tsui released his first full-length original album in May 2013 titled Make It Up. In summer 2013, Tsui and Schneider toured across Canada and the US with Alex Goot, Against the Current, Landon Austin, Luke Conard, and King the Kid.[24] In September 2013, Tsui and Schneider performed in Singapore and Hong Kong.[25] Tsui has so far released music videos for "Make It Up", "Grey Area", "Shadow", "Bring Me the Night", "Worth It" , "Wherever You Are" and "Open Up The Sky".

Tsui continues to make covers of popular music on his YouTube channel, also doing collaborations with other YouTube singers. On September 9, 2013, Sam wrote and recorded a duet with Elle Winter entitled "Unsinkable (Music Is Medicine)". The proceeds of the single go towards pediatric cancer research as a part of the Music Is Medicine's Donate a Song project. On October 3, 2013, Sam uploaded a photo via Instagram,[26] posing alongside Jason Mraz and Hunter Hayes. He announced that he shot a video with the two artists and would be releasing it soon. It was later revealed that he has collaborated with Tessa Violet, Echosmith, TJ Smith, Tyler Ward, Brandyn Burnette, Brian Landau, Kina Grannis and Peter Hollens on a YouTube mash-up of their song, "Everybody's Got Somebody but Me".

Tsui's vocals were featured in a promotional video for Coca-Cola that premiered on January 14, 2014. In 2013, Kurt Hugo Schneider and Coca-Cola teamed up to create music videos featuring creative covers of two 2011 hits namely Calvin Harris' "Feel So Close" and Of Monsters and Men's "Little Talks" for a campaign called "The Sounds of AHH". The commercial edits of both premiered on the inaugural episode of season 13 of American Idol on January 14, 2014, on FOX with "Feel So Close" featuring the vocals of Tsui whereas Schneider makes music playing only Coca-Cola bottles, glasses and cans.[27] Tsui shares in co-playing on the bottles alongside Schneider. In summer 2014, Tsui and Schneider returned to Asia, performing in Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taipei.[28] They were also scheduled to perform in Beijing and Shanghai, but those shows did not push through.

In 2016, Tsui starred in an episode of Bones as collegiate acappella singing group member Jake Eisenberg.[29]

Personal life[edit]

On April 15, 2016, Tsui posted a "coming in and out" video on his YouTube channel in which he announced that he is in a long-term relationship with fellow musician and collaborator Casey Breves.[30] They met while they were both at Yale (Tsui a freshman and Breves a junior) and were both part of an a cappella group on campus.[31] Tsui and Breves wed on April 16, 2016.[32]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result
2015 Dahsyatnya Awards Outstanding Guest Star Himself (shared with Kurt Hugo Schneider) Nominated



  1. ^ a b Sam Tsui on Facebook
  2. ^ "Sam Tsui on YouTube (TheSamTsui)".
  3. ^ "Sam Tsui on".
  4. ^ Van, Alan (2012-11-13). "Sam Tsui | Singer & Songwriter (Interview)". New Media Rockstars. Retrieved 2014-11-11.
  5. ^ "At 9:15, Sam Tsui busts out his Cantonese". Young Post. 2014-07-04. Retrieved 2015-01-08.
  6. ^ a b "The Duke's Men of Yale: Sam Tsui". Yale University. Archived from the original on 2013-12-27. Retrieved 2014-11-11.
  7. ^ "Sam Tsui's one-man choir hits YouTube". ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs. 2010-09-12. Retrieved 2010-09-14.
  8. ^ "Sam Tsui & Kurt Schneider: The Covers". Sh-K-Boom Records. Archived from the original on 2010-02-17. Retrieved 2009-09-14.
  9. ^ "Tsui-eet sounds on ABC's World News Tonight". Yale Daily News. The Yale Daily News Publishing Company. 2009-10-28. Archived from the original on 2010-11-27. Retrieved 2010-09-14.
  10. ^ "Cross Campus: 11.12.09". Yale Daily News. The Yale Daily News Publishing Company. 2009-11-12. Archived from the original on 2012-09-24. Retrieved 2010-09-14.
  11. ^ Joe (2009-11-11). "Sam Tsui upstages the entire cast of Glee". The Yale Herald. Yale University. Archived from the original on 2010-09-13. Retrieved 2010-09-14.
  12. ^ a b c Yager, Sarah (2010-01-29). "Kurt Schneider re(de)fines formula for YouTube success". The Yale Herald. Yale University. Archived from the original on 2010-09-05. Retrieved 2010-09-14.
  13. ^ a b c Schneider, Kurt Hugo. "KurtHugoSchneider's Channel". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  14. ^ a b "Incredible Feats". The Oprah Winfrey Show. Harpo Productions. 2010-02-22. Retrieved 2010-09-14.
  15. ^ Zuckerman, Esther (2010-12-02). "Tsui '11 and Schneider '10 on 'Ellen'". Yale Daily News. The Yale Daily News Publishing Company. Archived from the original on 2011-02-22. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  16. ^ "YouTube Sensation Sam Tsui Performs!". Warner Bros. December 2, 2010. Archived from the original on December 6, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  17. ^ "My "Hold it Against Me" cover was just posted on @britneyspears official website!! Ahhh! :-D". Twitter. 2011-02-04. Retrieved 2011-02-06.
  18. ^ "Interview with Andy Frankham-Allen". The Accidental Author. 2011-03-26. Retrieved 2014-11-11.
  19. ^ "Tom Hanks Addresses Yale Class of 2011".
  20. ^ "Video Gives Musical Answer to the Question: 'Why Choose Yale?'". Yale University. 2010-01-27. Retrieved 2014-11-11.
  21. ^ "Admissions to debut new video: update on the 'That's Why I Chose Yale' cast". Yale University. 2017-12-04. Retrieved 2018-02-23.
  22. ^ Kurt Hugo Schneider. YouTube. Retrieved on 2013-03-31.
  23. ^ Fletcher, Dan (2009-11-23). "YouTube Effect: Making Money from Viral Videos". Time. Time Inc. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  24. ^ "Tour Dates – A Summer with Alex Goot and Friends". 2013-05-15. Archived from the original on November 5, 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-11.
  25. ^ "KHS Tour". 2013-09-26. Archived from the original on October 12, 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-11.
  26. ^ "Instagram (thesamtsui)". Retrieved 2014-11-11.
  27. ^ "Behind the Bottles: 5 Questions With Kurt Hugo Schneider". The Coca-Cola Company.
  28. ^ "Kurt Hugo Schneider – Tour".
  29. ^ "Bones - Episode 11.16 - The Strike in the Chord - Featurette, Promo, Sneak Peeks, Promotional Photos & Press Release *Updated*". SpoilerTV. May 19, 2016. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  30. ^ {{cite web |url= |title= Vlog – Exciting News!!!!! |publisher= YouTube |accessdate= 2015-04-16} See also Claude Summers, "Coming Out in the Internet Age." New Civil Rights Movement/2016-06-04}}
  31. ^ TheSamTsui (2017-04-11), VLOG: The Proposal Story!!! ft. Casey Breves, retrieved 2017-04-12
  32. ^ Duffy, Nick (2016-04-18), YouTube singer Sam Tsui comes out and reveals surprise wedding, retrieved 2018-09-23

External links[edit]