New Look, New Voice, New Music, New Zealand’s Sam Verlinden

“Music has always been me. There was never one defining moment that I thought “I think I might like to be an artist” … it has been in my veins from day one.”             Sam V 

Sam Verlinden Profile Photo 2015
Sam V (Verlinden)

It has been almost two years since we have turned the spotlight on for New Zealand’s Star Vocalist Sam Verlinden. This is why we are happy to be bringing Sam back into focus especially at this time with the launch of his Brand New Original Song and New Music Video.

Sam V 2015
Sam V

Quite a lot has happened over the past couple of years with Sam and his musical career with the most notable being his more mature vocal sound and original single releases.

Gone forever is his lovely high range where he could belt out covers of Beyonce and other great female artists. It is now replaced with a rich lower register, which opened the door for Sam to try many new genres, including the world of classic croon.

Sam V 2 2015
Sam strikes a pose for us!

This new voice and sound help launch Sam into his school bands and orchestra at his High School. Following a standing ovation he received at one school performance of Mac the Knife – he became fondly known as Sammy Sinatra or Sammy Buble by many of the teachers, students and other student families. Having followed Sam closely over the years, I always knew that his vocals would someday rock the entertainment industry. However, he totally blew me away with his rendition of

Mack the Knife
with his High School Orchestra backing him up!

Sam was also given the role of his School Senior Cantor, which involved leading mass and a wonderful introduction into classic gospel and hymns. In addition he was given the role of Senior Choir Coordinator, leading the school choir time.

All of this musical involvement at his High School enabled him to mould gently into his new vocal range which now ranges strongly from tenor to baritone.

He also decided to audition in the School Production in 2014, and was delighted to get the lead role of Bobby Strong in ‘Urinetown’. He really enjoyed this experience and he auditioned once again for this year’s Musical ‘Pippin’, and again – landed the lead role of Pippin, which will come to the stage in July 2015.

Sam is not only musically gifted and talented; he has also been excelling academically, achieving top marks in the school for Music and Global Perspectives the last 2 years in a row.

Sam V What You've DoneOutside of school, Sam has also been incredibly busy.

He has been working with an incredible Producer Vince Harder (Harder Music Group) who is currently based in Australia. Together they have created several new tracks, with one of them (What You’ve Done) already winning funding from NZ On Air – for production and release of a music video. The music video was filmed 2 weeks ago and it is targeted for release in March 2015.

Use both the photo (left), and text links to purchased Sam’s new single from either iTunes or UK.   Listen to and Like it on the NZ On Air Sound Cloud Site!

Here is Sam’s Brand New Music Video

What You've Done Sam V“What You’ve Done”

Sam Verlinden Pop Star
Sam Verlinden Pop Star

They have mixed and mastered another 4 tracks, with the hope of releasing an EP later this year.

The experience of working with such a top quality Producer has helped launch Sam into the local New Zealand music industry, where is he continues to gain a solid reputation for being a very talented and credible artist in his own home country.


2015 will continue to be busy for Sam as he prepares for his final year in High School, establishing himself into his leadership Prefect roles and launching his upcoming single, music video and EP.

Sam V 3 2015
Sam V

He has a Music Tour to Europe scheduled in April, where a group of 20 students will visit Rome, Croatia, Austria and other countries sharing their music.

Later in the year a smaller group of 15 students will travel to Rarotonga, Cook Islands to perform in their celebrations of 50 years of independence. This will be very special for Sam as his grandmother is from Rarotonga and he holds a great affinity with the small Pacific Country.

I must admit that having Sam be a part of this website since its conception has been a real honour and privilege. Observing his development and growth both as a young artist and young man has been a special joy and rewarding experience. There has never been a doubt in my mind that Sam Verlinden is headed for greatness and I look forward to many years of great music, concert performances, stage plays, and even Broadway in his future.

In closing Sam asked me to publish the following which we are humbled to do. Since Sam was one of the very first to ever be published on this website I have given Sam the honor of leaving a hint regarding some changes that are in the works for this website which continues to grow and expand in amazing ways to the benefit of many young musicians, aspiring actors, stage performers and vocalists.



“I’ve never taken anything for granted – and as every new door has opened for me, or when every new opportunity arises, I’m always surprised and sometimes overwhelmed – but always really grateful when people enjoy what I do.

I’m still learning and developing – and have been really lucky to work with some incredibly talented and supportive people that I’ll always be so grateful for. I think that’s the key to this thing – to make sure you surround yourself with people who have walked the road before you, people you can trust and people with the best work ethic. Then whatever happens, you’ll be ok.

I’m incredibly grateful for all the support I have received from Rivenmaster and from all the supporters and readers of the Rivenmaster websites in addition to the fellow artists Rivenmaster features on his pages – several of whom I have made friends with.”

I would like to thank Rod from Rivenmaster for everything he has done for all the young artists he has featured on his site over the last few years. I have met so many new friends and supporters from all around the world as a result and have been able to glean much from the good advice and support they have provided on the site.   In addition, I wish the very best to the new team who will be taking over the reins during the next few months”.    

Thank you again Rivenmaster for the unconditional support from the start – and I know I speak for all the young artists when I say WE are lucky to have had such a supportive and safe place as Rivenmaster’s Place to launch our music careers. Blessings!

Sam Verlinden

For More About Sam V visit:


Side note* will soon acquire a New Name, New Domain, New Team and New Ownership. will soon be transferring ownership to a brand new team who will be taking this site to even greater heights and deeper depths of promotion of young artists from all over the world. The full article about this expansion and growth will be made public on March 20th. Fear not! Rivenmaster “Rod Johnson” is not going anywhere. He will continue to support and publish occasional articles to this website.  We are confident that this site can do nothing but become even more successful in helping the youth of today become the stars of tomorrow. Be watching on March 20th for this very special article detailing this transition.

Sam Hurwitz East Coast Musical Wiz Kid

 “In my world, everything’s a song”          Sam Hurwitz

Sam Hurwitz Profile Photo
Sam Hurwitz

Sam Hurwitz is an 11 year old singer–songwriter who plays guitar and piano, and has been singing, strumming and writing songs since the age of two.  

Sam Hurwitz 3 years old
Three Year Old Sam Hurwitz


When Sam was a baby, he seemed to always gravitate towards the toy musical instruments that were in his playroom.  Sam started strumming the guitar and singing and while it would seem that he was singing random words, his parents began to notice that he would strum and sing the same words in the same tune. Thus his first songs (albeit one line songs), “Give me a Garbon” and “Bop a Doo”, were born! 

His mother shared that there was always music playing in their home so it’s clear that Sam was influenced by the type of music that their family listened to.  As early as 2 1/2 years old, Sam could be found strumming and singing along with his favorite band “Wilco”.  In addition to listening to Wilco, Sam’s early music exposure included the alt country bands “Son Volt” and “Uncle Tupelo”, as well as the “Avett Brothers”. 

Watch Sam at 2 years old

At age 6, Sam began taking guitar lessons with Marc Jacoby, a preschool music teacher and member of the bands “Grateful Bro” and “Rockmitzvah”.  Sam’s earliest songs were written before he could actually play guitar and Sam would sing the tune and Marc would take that tune and lay the chords out for Sam.   Sam’s first “real” song, “We’re Gonna Get Wet”, was written that year.  His current version of  “We’re Gonna Get Wet” is currently listed at number 2 and his song “Maybe Rome” (which you can see below) is listed at number 8 on the independent UK music chart, FabChart. 

 Sam Hurwitz Were Gonna Get Wet VideoWatch Sam sing his original live!

Unfortunately, Marc had a death in the family and could not continue teaching Sam.  He recommended Cliff Mays, a local guitar teacher and bandmate of Marc’s to take over while Marc was taking some time off. 

Sam continued learning guitar with Cliff and writing new songs.  Cliff has been a tremendous influence on Sam musically – whether it’s learning guitar, being exposed to new music and the history behind the bands, jamming, writing songs and learning a bit about recording software and the loop pedal.   When Sam was 8, he had his first public performance when Cliff invited Sam to participate in a songwriters circle that Cliff hosted monthly. 

Sam and Harrison Hurwitz
Sam with brother Harrison Hurwitz

In the summer of 2012, Sam and his older brother Harrison, who plays the drums and banjo, were a huge hit when they performed their original song Red Sky at a camp talent show.   That fall, they formed their band Amplifier on Fire and attended various open mics.  Sam continued to also perform as a solo act and at 9 years old was the youngest finalist at a talent search for young musicians.   That same year, after an open mic performance at 12 Grapes, a restaurant in Peekskill, NY, Sam was invited back to perform in a singer-songwriter showcase to celebrate the venue’s 5th anniversary. 

Sam Hurwitz working at home
Sam Hurwitz working at home

When Sam was 10, he began studying piano at the Lagond Music School which was founded by Rosanne Lana and Charlie Lagond, who has performed around the world with artists like Chuck Mangione, The Jackson Five, the Temptations, and Kid Creole & the Coconuts.

Sam Hurwitz Piano Player
Sam Hurwitz Piano Player

Sam’s parents explained that they were drawn to Lagond because of its unique approach of teaching contemporary music with the same rigor typically applied to classical training.   Sam hit it off immediately with his piano teacher Rusty Cloud, who has toured with, among others, the E Street Band and the Blues Brothers Band.   Quickly after seeing Lagond’s approach, Sam was enrolled there to study guitar with Nicky Barbato, and has recently begun voice training with Claire Cloud.  In addition to musical instruction, Sam participates in Lagond’s Band Prep Jam, a program for younger students to learn to work together as a group.  Lagond has been wonderful for Sam, not only improving his technique but exposing him to new genres of music and learning to play with others as part of an ensemble.  

Sam is described as being quiet, shy and reserved and not one to seek out or even like the limelight.  However, his mother shared that Sam seems to be more comfortable on stage recently than he has ever been. He is also described as being mature beyond his years, incredibly thoughtful, empathetic, modest and kind.  

In fact one of his teachers said that he is “the kindest student I have ever had” and he has been called an “old soul” by many people.  

Even Sam’s musical taste is mature – he is not interested in the current pop and rap songs most of his peers listen to and instead prefers Wilco, the Avett Brothers, Uncle Tupelo, Modest Mouse and old classics such as The Beatles, The Eagles, Billy Joel and Pink Floyd.

Maybe RomeSam performs original song “Maybe Rome”

Sam has a catalog of 10 original songs, 8 on guitar and 2 on piano.  At Sam’s first live performance he was asked how he writes his songs.  He answered “they just pop into my head”, and that continues to be the case today.  He will sit at the piano or pick up his guitar and just start playing and singing.  Many times nothing will come from it, but sometimes a song is created. 

Sam has been compared to Bob Dylan, Richie Havens and Steven Stills.  In addition to working on his music, Sam loves to spend time with his friends, play with Legos and the computer game Minecraft.  Sam also loves to read and write.  Sam attends a weekly creative writing class and wrote a screenplay at age 7 and has written several fantasy and science fiction short stories/novellas.   


While this may be Sam’s introductory article here at Rivenmaster’s Place I’m sure it will not be the last we have heard from this young musical prodigy!  The key to success is writing, producing and performing your own originals songs.  That key element alone makes this young artist ahead of the game.  Be sure you subscribe to his YouTube Channel and follow him on Facebook.  You’re going to want to get in on the ground floor of this young man’s legacy because he is without a doubt headed for stardom.


To learn more about Sam Hurwitz visit: