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They say extracurricular activities are important, but for Sam Creighton, S’15, behavioral neuroscientist-turned musical artist, they’ve been life-altering.

While studying behavioral neuroscience, Sam joined the university’s a cappella group, The Nor’easters, as a hobby. That moment changed her life. From appearing in a popular TV show, distributed on Netflix and Hulu, to performing live at the White House for President Barack and Michele Obama, Sam’s career trajectory has taken a full U-turn. Today, she’s a professional recording artist with two singles released last year, and another on the way. Sam is not looking back!

From neuroscience to music – how did that happen?

I had worked with children for most of my life, including three years during my first co-op at The May Institute. Nothing made me feel as accomplished as making a pivotal change in another human’s life. This epiphany is one I credit to my Northeastern education. I joined the Nor’easters during my freshman year to escape from the demands of being a full-time student. Over time, my passions for music and healing found each other in songwriting. I believe I am a better songwriter because of my understanding of the human condition, thanks to my undergraduate degree. I also took a few electives that have helped me understand the business side of the music industry.

How has Northeastern’s global network impacted you?

I have been a beneficiary, and a contributor to the network. As a member of the Nor’easters, we took the diligence and leadership skills we used during courses, and poured it all out into the a cappella group, which led us to some fascinating opportunities. We were cast on a network television show, and later the Fox Network equivalent in Australia, FoxTel Network, which invited us to perform on “The Today Show” and tour Australia in preparation for the premiere of the show “Sing it On.” This led us to a plethora of incredible collaborators and professionals who now associate us in a positive light with the university. I have used the network in LA and Australia countless times to access many door-opening opportunities.

How do you stay ahead of the curve?

There is no better way to learn than to question those who have firsthand experience in the industry. For example, I met a co-op student at Capitol Records in LA, and asked him about what labels are looking for today, what talent scouters are interested in, and how a major record deal functions. The next day, I met with an artist manager with expertise in growing a social media following. The day after that, a meeting with a new business owner – a sync/publishing company looking to sign new talent for TV/Film placements. The more I know about the industry I work in, the better I am able to navigate through it and set myself up for success.

What’s next for you?

In the upcoming months, I am releasing a third single as a solo artist. That song, “After Midnight” will be accompanied by a music video that I conceptualized and styled myself, with support from my fellow Nor’easter, Isaac Willnow, AMD’16. I intend to keep writing songs that empower people, especially in the themes of self-love, respect, and female strength.

Sam recently participated in our Los Angeles Circuits program on the music industry.

published October 2018