By Gary A. Johnson, Publisher – Black Men In America.com
September 16, 2016
Mighty Sam McClain passed away June 15, 2015. When he was alive, I said and believed that he was the greatest living soul singer that no one knew about. Mighty Sam was one of the nicest men I’d ever interviewed. In fact, he was the first Blues artist interviewed on this website. Sam invited me and the team to join him on tour and enjoy the blues. Sam would call me and talk about his music and life on tour.
I was sitting alone in my office this evening reviewing my mail and I opened a small package with Mighty Sam’s last recording. Mighty Sam was working on a CD before he passed away. The name of the CD is “Time and Change Last Recordings.” Inside the package was a note signed by Mighty Sam’s wife, Sandra McClain. The note reflected that this CD was recorded over the past two years. Sandra also shared that this would not be Mighty Sam’s last CD release.
Mighty Sam and Norwegian guitarist, harmonica player, pianist, singer and producer Knut Reiersrud have teamed up on what was sadly to become Mighty Sam’s final recording before he passed away after a battle with cancer, a few weeks before its release.
Norwegian Knut Reiersrud and his superb band teamed up with Sam, for their second album together, the follow up to the acclaimed 2011 project, “One Drop Is Plenty.” Knut is a formidable guitarist and a world class blues harp player. The European band provides the perfect foundations for the pair to shine. But this is an equal partnership in ability and class. Knut and his band add as much value as Sam does to the project. In his youth, Knut jammed with the iconic likes of Buddy Guy and Otis Rush at Chess Studios in Chicago. Dr John and Doc Pomus wrote songs for him, and the Blind Boys of Alabama and several World Music stars were guests on his records.
Scroll down and read a re-post of my exclusive interview with the late great, Mighty Sam McLain conducted in 2004.
Mighty Sam McClain: God Is His Reason For Living (And Singing Too!)
Black Men In America.com routinely receives a lot of books and CD’s. A couple of months ago while going through the mail I ran across a CD by an artist named Mighty Sam McClain. I decided to listen to the CD. Mighty Sam McClain is a bluesman. Mighty Sam’s voice was strong and his band was kicking it. In fact, his band reminded me of the legendary Memphis STAX band from the 60’s. After listening to the entire CD, I decided to find Mighty Sam McClain and make him the first blues artist interviewed on Black Men In America.com.
After a few minutes of listening to Mighty Sam, two things stood out to me:
1. Mighty Sam McClain is a God fearing man
2. He is virtually unknown in the black music community
While studying for this interview I didn’t meet one black person who heard of him or knew of him. I found Sam McClain to be a gracious and humble man. I also found Mighty Sam to be a masterful storyteller. There were times when I was mesmerized listening to this man talk about his experiences. His life has been a rollercoaster ride. Raised as one of 13 children, McClain first began singing gospel music in his mother’s church on the northern edge of the “Bible Belt” in Monroe, Louisiana in the early 1940’s. He left home at the age of 13 before starting work as a cotton picker to escape an abusive stepfather. He later found employment with local R & B guitarist, “Little Melvin” Underwood and followed him through the “Chitlin Circuit,” first as his valet and then as a lead vocalist.
McClain subsequently built his reputation as a vocalist recording for Malaco and Atlantic Records. He also appeared three times at the Apollo Theatre. Afterwards, however, his career went into freefall, and through much of the 70s and 80s he subsisted on the streets of Penascola, Florida. It was only in 1983 that he made a comeback, when producer Carlo Ditta invited him to return to the studio and record Pray. With interest in his lost career reborn, the Japanese label Dead Ball followed that release with a live recording of one of his shows in Tokyo. McClain also made a series of guest appearances on an album recorded by Hubert Sumlin for Black Top Records in 1987, before spending the next five years working on a failed real estate venture with his third wife in Houston.
Sam McClain had dropped off the face of the earth it seemed until he re-emerged on AudioQuest Records in 1993 with a stunning new album, Give It Up to Love with McClain originals alongside two cover versions of Al Green and Carlene Carter. This new recording attracted rave reviews in the soul and R&B music press, and was followed up two years later by Keep On Moving, as McClain at last began to enjoy the fruits of his labors and talent. Over the next three years, as the momentum continued to build, McClain released four albums, including Soul Survivor, which included the track New Man In Town, featured on the FOX TV show “Ally McBeal.” The song was used in 11 episodes of the popular television show and put some nice “change” in McClain’s pocket.
Grammy nominated Mighty Sam McClain has been nominated for numerous W.C. Handy awards in the Soul/Blues vocalist category. Real Blues magazine awarded McClain as the Soul/Blues Entertainer of the Year for three years in a row. Rolling Stone magazine has called him “The Great Torchbearer of Soul” and Pulse magazine has referred to him as “America’s best purveyor of red-clay soul/blues.
Black Men In America.com has dubbed Mighty Sam McClain as a living legend of soul music, gospel and blues. That’s right, soul music. Sam McClain is so diverse that he reminds me of Little Milton, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Z.Z. Hill and Bobby Blue Bland. If you want to hear good soul music with a gospel and blues edge click here and order Mighty Sam’s music.
I hope this interview introduces Mighty Sam McClain and his music to a new audience of fans who will support him by purchasing his music and attending his shows.
The Mighty Sam McClain Interview
Mighty Sam McClain: Gary, Sam McClain here man. Listen, thank you my brother, so much for your heart-felt attitude towards Sam McClain and this music. I am so grateful my friend. Eternally grateful. Always.
BMIA.com: Mighty Sam, it is a pleasure to finally connect with you. My late mother-in-law introduced me to the blues 20 years ago. So when I had the opportunity to interview a real blues man, you know I had to jump on it. I just want to ask you some questions.
Sam McClain: I’m going to try and answer your questions. I might get to talking too fast (laughing). You know, I tend to run on, like I’m doing right now. You know what I mean? (Laughing) But, listen man, I thank you so much my brother. This is great; I just heard some good news about my wife yesterday. We took her in for an operation and the doctor went in just before he got ready to operate on her. He had put her to sleep, but just before they got ready to do the surgery they went in to look again and it wasn’t there. Good Lord had removed it man. God is so good. God is so good. That’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m here. (Laughter) I know you always ask people like me, what advice would you give someone who wants to make it in the music business. That’s the first thing I’d tell them – put God first. Put God first. Put everything in its right perspective and you got success right there. But, anyway, I’m going on and on here. So, my wife is back home and we took her in yesterday at about 4:30 and we brought her back home around noon. It was a blessing. It was an absolute blessing. God is so good. Whatever that doctor saw; it’s gone. Good Lord moved it.
BMIA.com: I’m very glad to hear the good news about your wife.
Sam McClain: All right, now back to the business of the Mighty Sam McClain interview.
BMIA.com: OK. How long have you been in the music business?”
Sam McClain: Well I’ve been in the music business for a long time, man, I started singing when I was five years old, as you know a little bit about my background. I started making money – the first time I made money was in elementary school. I was in the 7th grade – my Physical Ed teacher put together a little local band there for us and we made a little money, then. And so I guess I considered myself in the music business at that time, you know. (There’s a little noise going off in the background. Forgive that. It’s just my other phone going on.) But, that’s when I first made any money – so I guess that’s what being in the music business is about to a lot of people – being able to make a living at it as well as being in your craft and something that you truly love. So, I guess I’ve really been doing it now on – from that point I started working with Little Melvin – a little while later on — Little Melvin Underwood. I worked with him as his valet, and I worked from valet up to background singer and then I worked from background up to lead singer. And, so, you know, putting the years together, I’m that kind of figuring as I’m talking here. I guess I been in the business for fifty years. Yes, forty-five years. That‘s question number one. It took me a long time – I hope I have enough tape.
BMIA.com: “How did you get into the business?”
Sam McClain: Well, I think I just answered that, pretty much. Really getting on the road, I was on the road with Little Melvin, and, as his valet – toting his guitar and his amplifier and stuff like that and just kept on doing whatever little chores that need to be done. I was the gofer man. You know. And from that I started getting more and more into the business. You know, as time went on I started learning about the business. You know, as time went on I started taking over my own career and in the late years, like now, my label, etc. As time went on I started learning more about the business and the music and whole trip.
BMIA.com: “Did you think you would last this long?”
Sam McClain: There was time when I definite thought, I was about to give up on myself and give up on God and everything else. And I know a lot of people that didn’t think I would last this long. Well, didn’t think I would last, period — (laughter) Much less this long. My stepfather used to tell me – even before I left home – you know, I left home when I was thirteen years old – and my stepfather used to tell me that I would never amount to shit. This is even before I left home, you know. I was a child. I mean this guy, he was what he was. I loved him, I really wanted him to be my father, but that‘s the way it was. So, there was time when I thought I wasn’t going to last and there was time when other people didn’t think I was gonna last. (Laughter) But, praise be to God, here I am. And we’re trucking on. God gave me this voice, that’s why I’m still here. I’ve always had this to hang on to. When everybody leave – when there was nobody else around the voice has always been here. The music has always been here. So, that’s where we are with number three – Did you think you would last this long. Alright.
BMIA.com: “Who are some the artist that inspired you? And, who influenced you the most?”
Sam McClain: Early on, there was, all of the older cats, you know, from Little Willie John, Ruth Brown, Clyde McFadden, Big Joe Turner, Ivan Joe Hunter – all of those people back in those days – and B.B. King, cause we used to listen to a lot of radio out of Nashville Tennessee. Enjoying Rich Byrd and all those guys. That’s the kind of music we played, you know. But my biggest influence became, Bobby Blue Bland.
BMIA.com: What was it about Bobby Blue Bland that made him you’re biggest influence?
Sam McClain: When I first heard Bobby Blue Bland – it’s like, man, it’s like heaven opened up. “There it is, there it is – right there.” That’s what I want to be. And right now Bobby and I are considered to be – I consider us friends – we can run across each other quite a bit. And, I lived to see that dream come true – I used to say, “One of these days I’m going to have me a tour bus. I’m gonna drive right up side Bobby’s bus and get off my bus and get on his bus.” Well God has let me live long enough to see that happen. Man, I tell you. You know, this little cotton picker from Montgomery Louisiana. The very first time I saw Bobby, I couldn’t even get in the event because I was too young and didn’t have the money either. You know, and God has let me live long enough to where I followed this man all my life and now he calls me up on stage just like – every time he see me he won’t wait till I get up on the stage with him. You know – that’s a dream, I mean that’s a dream. So, I would have to say Bobby’s been one of my biggest influences – still is. Today, I love that man so much, he is a sweet and kind man — very kind to me, very very gracious. I feel very blessed to have got chance to meet him and be in his company and consider him my friend. So, he’s one of my biggest influences. Now moving down the line, I love Al Green. I think Al Green is one of the soulful cats out there.
BMIA.com: Do you get a chance to hang out with Bobby?
Sam McClain: As a matter of fact I’m going to see Bobby this Thursday. They’re playing at a club in Boston called “Scullers.” And, Joe Harden just called me a little while back. Joe Harden is Bobby Blue Bland’s trumpet player – who married my first cousin, Gladys. And the first song on “One More Bridge To Cross” was the one you said you liked – Joe wrote that first song – he wrote it to my cousin – “Why Do We Have To Say Goodbye?” Oh Gladys wanted a divorce and Joe didn’t want any divorce. You know what I mean? So, that’s where that song came from. It was given to Bobby. But, Bobby and them, they couldn’t hear it. So Joe passed it on to me and I could hear it. I could hear the (inaudible). So I went on did it for him. But, yea man, I see Bobby and Joe all the time – I mean, cause like Joe is my first – he married my first cousin, so he’s family and he’s been with Bobby Bland for thirty years or more and he’s the bandleader/trumpet player. So, you know, yes, I’m very close to the family. I feel very blessed to have lived to see this.
BMIA.com: I really like you’re latest CD –“ “One More Bridge to Cross” – it really tells a story. It has a classic down home blues feeling. The horn section is tight and the guitar is strong. And, of course your voice is classic. My favorite song on the CD is cut number 4 – “If It Wasn’t For The Blues.” I notice that you wrote most of the songs and produced the CD. How has the CD been received?”
Sam McClain: Well the CD has been received very well. Where it has reached, it’s just so hard to get this music anywhere – into the right hands, man, its tough, and even to my black people – that’s another reason I am honored, so honored that you are calling and asking me to be a part of what you and your people have going. Because it seems like God just snatched me up and put me on this side of the track, ‘cause this one the only place I could survive because my black people just wasn’t accepting nothing I had to say and if this side of the track didn’t exist I don’t know what in the hell I’d be right now. So, like the song, “If It Wasn’t For The Blues”, so if it wasn’t for this side of the track I don’t know where I’d be, man. You know. But the CD has been received very well from people of which they have heard it. Or had a chance to hear it. But that’s the hard part – getting it played, you know, and having the promotion. I did it all myself – my wife and I – and we spent quite a bit of money.
BMIA.com: Has it been difficult to generate publicity and promote your music?
Sam McClain: Man, we bought a full-page ad in magazines, Living Blues and Blues Review, and every time you buy a full-page ad in Blues Review, I mean that’s $1700, you know. So we bought a half a year in that magazine. That’s just one magazine. Same thing with Living Blues – full-page ad, you know. So, we did the best we could on promoting. But that still was nothing – that was nothing.
BMIA.com: What do you mean that was nothing?
Sam McClain: Just what I said, that was nothing. The CDs don’t get, don’t get no airplay, we don’t have radio stations playing – not no big radio stations, I mean – you know – it’s just, it’s tough. But under the circumstances, it was very well received. You know and certainly one of my most proudest projects. Because it’s the first time I had to take on the whole ball of wax myself.
BMIA.com: What do you mean by that?
Sam McClain: I wrote the music, produced the music, and etc., etc. I mixed the music, edited the music and that was a first for me. And I was the first one at the studio and the last one to leave. And before that, it was just the opposite. I’d usually be the last one to the studio and the first one to leave. (Laughing) You know – the responsibility got bigger, you know. When you say, “I’m going to do it myself.” Well, okay, well you got to be responsible as well. So, it’s been received very well.
BMIA.com: “Where do you find your inspiration to write songs?”
Sam McClain: From life – just life in general man. Life in general. And since I’ve gotten to know God, or since I’m getting to know God, from that place as well, from a very deep spiritual well. Everything comes from there. Everything springs from there – my spiritual life. And, the life that I see as I live here on this earth with my brothers and sisters here. And the work that I have to do now – that’s why I have this voice. God gave me this voice – no formal training, no education, no anything like that, you know. Just open my mouth and this voice came out and it still comes out. And God has taken care of it through all the years when I drank and smoked and did all that stuff. I mean, God has taken care of me. You know, I mean I slept outdoors, went hungry, I mean, you know the story. And my voice is still here – stronger and better than ever. You know. It’s amazing what God can do, you know. So that’s what my inspiration comes from.
BMIA.com: You really do come across as some who believes that he is truly blessed.
Sam McClain: Man – (laughing) – every time I look around I realize what a miracle I am, you know – I know I am a walking miracle. And then my wife just had another one [miracle] just Monday, as I told you about. And it’s amazing – everybody in my band is very well educated pretty much. Some of them got degrees hanging on their walls and stuff. That’s amazing. And, they all white, (laughing) and this little black boy from Louisiana, from the cotton field, writes the check. That’s what the good Lord can do man. It just never ceased to amaze me. (Laughing) It just makes me smile. It’s good. It’s good, man. But that’s where the inspiration comes from – life and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
BMIA.com: Mighty Sam, how many albums and CDs have you recorded during your career?
Sam McClain: Oh, it is quite a number. Quite a number. Off the top of my head I would say, (pause) twelve, maybe, ten or twelve, twelve. But there’s been more than that released – there were some bootlegs out and there were some singles – there was about twenty-two singles that got released – well eleven singles/twenty-two sides. It’s somewhere in that number.
BMIA.com: Tell us about the people who come to see you? My sense is that you seem to be more popular among white audiences and virtually unknown among black folks.
Sam McClain: That is so true. That is so true. You see it very well. And why? Like I just told you. I didn’t have no choice. I was forced to leave home. It was like all my life I been having to run just for survival. But, in the same sense, that’s what God wanted me to do. Cause God was bringing me in through the back door. I don’t know why, man. And it is painful too. I mean, cause I don’t even get a chance to go back home much. And I think about home. I love that country, Louisiana. I just love the smell of it. I can smell it as I talk it about right now to you. But, I can’t find what I need and look for there on the physical side or the spiritual side. So, I was forced to leave. And, but it’s been a blessing as well. But, yes, most of my audience is white and I go out right now. We’re starting to go all over the world. I just got back from Europe the 15th of this month. We’ve been over there three weeks. And I go to Europe often. I been going to Europe now for the past eight years, quite often, some times three or four times a year. And we spreading – going further and further out as we go. I am scheduled to go to Russia and Turkey this year, October 26th, we leave here to go do a tour in Russia and Turkey. We’re be over there from October 26th through December 16th. So, that’s what, a good seven weeks over there. It’s a great thing. I’m very thankful that God let me live it see this. And, why am I going on this tour? Because of this voice. God gave me this voice. This voice is taking me to Russia. Its amazing. This little black boy from M —- Louisiana out of the cotton fields. (Laughing) You know. But any way. That’s virtually, that’s pretty much my audience – pretty much white. But we’re starting to reach a few black people. We starting to come around. You know there’s this program – Soul Patrol – you probably know about Bob Davis – he’s on Internet Soul Patrol – if not, check him out. He’s got a great connection into the black scene. And we been connected with Bob for some years and he tries to bring us together as much as he possibly can. Tries to get us to support one another etc., etc. Bob’s got a thing coming up the last of this month – the 30th and the 31st and in Pittsburgh or right outside of Philadelphia somewhere right there in the area. So you go to his sight and check it out. Soul Patrol – Bob Davis – lot of information there man. He’s grown, he gets about 2 or 3 million hits a month. And I guess he’s been established now for about 4 or 5 years. He did well, he’s coming on strong. Anyway, he’s part of the connection that kind of keeps a little bit tied to the blacks. But we’re starving for black people over here man. But, we got a few. And the few we have we’re thankful. And they’re great. (Laughter) But any way – that’s what I think about the case. I just don’t know exactly why the black people don’t come. Sometimes black people don’t get out there – they don’t want to be social – they don’t want to go on the other side of the track – and sometime its because of all kinds of reasons – they don’t want to financially – one thing or another. I don’t have all the answers man. I just like to see it get fixed. I got this song I just wrote called, “Just Want To Be” and I don’t want to wrong, don’t want to be right – I just don’t to be what ever it takes — (Laughing) to make this shit work, you know. I just want to be whatever you need, Darling. Ain’t no more fighting, ain’t no more right or wrong, I just want to be whatever it takes to make it work. You know. Any way.
BMIA.com: When you think about some of the artists of today’s generation, who do you listen to and like the most?”
Sam McClain: Well, there’s a few artists I like, man. I like Johnny Lane, he’s a fiery young artist, guitar singer. He’s got a great voice. His voice sounds like he’s about ninety years old – deep soul. I like Bernard Allison, Susan, Shameeka Copeland, Shameeka Copeland, she’s ah, she’s deep. She’s got a strong voice. She sings a lot of blues, but I hear here sing a lot of other stuff and all that voice she’s got. But, I like her, she’s a great person. And I know her father too, you know. But, I get to see her every now and then. But, that’s a few artists you know (pause), I like Eric Bibbs. There’s a few, there’s a few.
BMIA.com: How did I get the name Mighty Sam?
Sam McClain: Wow, boy. That came from a mistake. I was leaving in Pensacola Florida, I just went to Pensacola and I was with the group, The Dophine Sextets and at that time I was going by the name of “Good Rocking Sam,” (laughter). Can you believe it? Don’t tell nobody I told you this shit – (laughter) – Good Rocking Sam. (Laughter) And one day the club owner made a mistake and put up “Mighty Sam” and the band started teasing me about that shit, man. They rode me, they rode me, Gary, they rode my ass. (Laughter) Hey, Mighty, Mighty, Mighty. And it stuck, man, they wouldn’t let it go, man. And most of my friends, right today, most of my real friends, they call me “Mighty.” “Hey there Mighty, what’s up Mighty?” (Laughing) So that’s how that came by. It was given to me. It was just – it stuck. Yep. Alright.
BMIA.com: Sam, the music and entertainment business is a tough business. A lot of folks don’t last long or make it at all. I’m sure you’ve experienced your fair share of rejection and hardship. How have you managed to survive and strive?”
Sam McClain: Well, just what I told you a while back. It’s all about God man. God will be the first thing you ever hear come out of my mouth. When you ask me about any of these kinds of questions that’s far beyond my explanation and the complexity of it. I have turn it to God. ‘Cause all this stuff is bigger than me. And I realize that. I realize that there’s a Creator. You know, somebody created this and I thank God that I got sense enough to see that. And, that’s where everything comes from. That’s why I’ve hung on because I believe in the Lord with all my heart and I pray and I try to be a good person – the best I can be. I fall short everyday – I get up everyday and want to kick my own but and I thank God that he has a sense of forgiveness and sense of humor. And because it would be tough. But that’s how I survive, man. It’s the Lord. I trust in the Lord with all my heart and he takes care of me. He always has – he gave me this voice and he’s leading me through here, in spite of my self – because I’ve did some foolish, crazy things and God has taken care. And that’s why I am still here, man. It’s the good Lord.
BMIA.com: You hung around a lot of folks that fell short to victims of drugs, alcohol. How did you manage to survive?
Sam McClain: Same thing. Same thing. Cause I got involved with drugs, and alcohol myself. I mean, I drank like a fish. I started smoking cigarettes before I left home. I used to light my mother’s cigarettes and I smoked cigarettes up until about fifteen years ago. About thirteen years, I guess. And I drank up until about nine, nine years ago. And, you know, so how did I survive that man? It’s all by the grace of God. You know. And, of course, I’m sure I helped because I wanted to. When I got ready to stop drinking I told my wife, I said, “Honey, I’m not drinking this crap anymore.” And she smiled. Because I kept a house full of booze all the time. I’d go to the store and I’d get a basket or cart just like we got a grocery cart. I’d buy a couple cases of beer, a couple gallons of cognac, or whatever the stuff we was drinking. I moved up to cognac in my late days. You know, I started making a couple of dollars (laughter) – I went from wine to cognac. And it’s all with the same drunk. (Laughing) Didn’t make any difference. (Laughing) I found out its all the same old drunk. You know. (Laughing) Oh well. But anyway, God, man. God is the one that help me through all that crap. That’s it.
BMIA.com: Just like that?
Sam McClain: Just like that.
BMIA.com: Tell me something interesting about you that most people don’t know.
Sam McClain: Probably how great a sense of humor I have about life. (Laughing) I’m learning to laugh. I didn’t know how great a sense of humor I had myself until I stopped drinking and started get the cob webs and shit cleaned up and I started realizing how much fun – I have more fun – I laugh more now than I ever laughed in my life.
BMIA.com: I can see that. You’ve been laughing quite a bit during this interview. So that’s it? People don’t know that you have a sense of humor?
Sam McClain: I don’t know what’s too interesting about me that most people don’t know, man. I don’t know what that could be. Most people that know about me, they got an idea that I believe and love the Lord with all my heart. And that’s my top priority. And everything follows that for me. But, I don’t know man. I got a great sense of humor. (Laughing) I love to laugh. I love laughter. Let’s move on to the next question.
BMIA.com: OK, how about this one. What’s the best part of being Mighty Sam McClain?
Sam McClain: (Whew) Knowing that I’m a child of the living God – the living Creator of this universe. That’s the best part about anything. And all of the joy and all of the hopes and all the aspirations and all of everything follows that – in its right perspective. So, I guess the best part about being anything – if I wasn’t Mighty Sam and know what I know now; I’d give you the same answer. I could be Mighty Joe, Who Diddy, don’t make no difference. People ask me about success – that’s when I became successful. When God looked down and smiled upon me and manifested himself to me. So that’s the best part of being Mighty Sam, man. Just being aware of the living Holy Father. ‘Cause it makes me a better person, makes me try to be a better person. I want to help make this world a better place than when I found it. And I think I do that in some way with my music and hopefully with way I live.
BMIA.com: Why do you do what you do?
Sam McClain: Because it’s my destiny. I love it, but it’s also my destiny. I tell people all the time, its like a blessing and curse sometime. I have to sing – if I don’t sing, I die spiritually. I die. So, this is my chosen profession. God gave me this voice and he wants me to sing. He wants me to use it ‘cause I draw people to God through my voice. And I know that because they tell me. They come up to my concerts, they stand up in lines, they wait for hours to tell me. They write from all over the world. I just got a letter two days ago from a lady from Macedonia – we just left this poor country over there. This lady wrote me the sweetest little letter thanking me for coming to her country and that the country needed me and this music and it helped lead her back to God. You know, that’s what makes it all worthwhile, man. You know, but I had to get to a place where God could show me that – he owned everything, he owned me, he owned my voice so I should be singing and being a positive light for people to see. You know. So that’s what God has done. He’s bringing me back from the dust of hell so people can see what he can do with something that most people had counted out and left for dead. You know, and here we are walking round. (Laughing) Walking right on.
BMIA.com: Wow! Destiny. Singing is your destiny as determined by God.
Sam McClain: Alright Gary, its just my destiny man. – It’s what I’m supposed to do. I’m a singer. Like the song says, “I’m a singer, I’m a man with a song.” This is my way of letting people know that God is alive, cause I don’t hesitate to tell people all over the world. Everywhere I go I mention the Lord Jesus Christ. I don’t hesitate, that’s my duty. And that’s why God gave me this voice and he knew I had the balls to do it cause it tough. People don’t want to hear about that, but they meet and greet me then that’s what they gonna hear cause I don’t know any other way to talk. Because I live everyday and breathe – my faith in God. I wouldn’t be having this conversation right now if I didn’t believe that. It would be useless to me cause I see how fallible man is and how useless and helpless he can be. I’ve got to have something bigger than man to believe in, son. (Laughing) This ole boy do.
I didn’t finish Yale (laughing) but I ain’t no damned fool. God is my shield; he’s my rock, man. I love the Lord. And I’m glad he loves me. And God bless you too man. I really appreciate you Gary. And I hope you enjoy this thing man. I’m looking forward to a relationship. And I appreciate you helping me out and trying to support this music, this ministry.
BMIA.com: Sam, I’m very excited to help you promote your music, which leads me to my next question. How can people reading this article support Mighty Sam McClain?
Sam McClain: Go to the web site (www.mightysam.com), write me, call me, buy this music if you can. Come to the shows, tell people about it. There’s so many ways. So many ways. And not only support Mighty Sam McClain, but also support any good live music out there because that’s the only way it’s going to survive. People have to support it – not just with talk but by spending the money to buy the music from the artist. Because it’s such a rip off – it’s hard for the artist to get their money. So if you can buy it directly from the artist – that’s always best. But any way you can it’s a help to the artist. But I appreciate anything you do for Might Sam – I mean tell somebody about it. Go to the web site, check it out, listen to the music, go buy the music, write me, I’ll send you the music, everything is right there on the web site, my e-mail, my phone number, everything is right there. So, drop me a line – let me know what you think. I’ll certainly get back to you – that’s a promise.
BMIA.com: I’m getting ready to wrap up Mighty Sam, but I have to ask you the following question. What advice would you give to someone who wants to make it in the music business?
Sam McClain: Well, first of all I go back to believing in God, believing in yourself, be talented, and love it – love it man, you got to be sure this is what you want to do because it’s tough. You got to love it with all your heart. The Bible said, if you don’t love something enough to lay down your life for it, you don’t (laughing) really love it, and see that’s what I’ve had to do, literally, for music.
BMIA.com: What do you mean by that?
Sam McClain: I’ve had to sleep outdoors, eat out of garbage cans, I been married four or five times. I mean I’ve sacrificed everything for this music. You know. Because I love it. And it loves me back. (Laughing). So my advice would be to definitely make sure you love this stuff because it’s a tough tough business. And then, educate yourself. Educate yourself as much as you possibly can about this business because you will need it to know what’s going on about the business. Even when you have people working for you, you need to know what they’ve done and not supposed to be doing and should be doing about your business and your career. If you don’t know what they should or should not be doing; you don’t know whether they doing right or wrong. I learned late, but I am still learning. But, I thank God that I’ve come far enough to learn to where I’ve got as much control as God would allow me have now in my career, in my own publishing, my own label, my own production company, my own agency, my own band, my own tour bus (laughing).
BMIA.com: Like I told you earlier, you’re a blessed man.
Sam McClain: You know I’m very blessed. But I had to learn this over the years. And that’s what I would advice anybody to do – to love this business with all your heart; love the Lord with all your heart; love people with all your heart; treat people like you wish to be treated; and be true to yourself. Be true to yourself and to the music and love it and it will love you back. It will take you someplace. I love you. God bless you. And I sure thank you man for this opportunity to share this with you and your fans, your listeners, your viewers. And you saying it’s an honor, it’s an honor for me, Gary, it really is.
BMIA.com: Thank you Sam. I’ll call you on the road in a couple of weeks.
Sam McClain: You got the phone number here. If you want me to answer some more questions or clear something up just give me shout and I’ll see if I can straighten you out, son and get you on the right route. Thank you again. God bless you and I look forward to talking to you again. Thanks Gary.
BMIA.com: Thank you Sam.