From Saratoga Today

Sam in Saratoga Today

Sam who?

Sam Gibson is the lyrical voice behind Sam Whitehouse music, a Saratoga Springs voice studio with a long waiting list and an edgy agenda.

The Boston native is a formally trained contemporary singer and pianist with extensive performance experience and an impressive resume.  She’s collaborated with bands such as The Verdict, Built for Comfort and The Mighty Bad Habits.

Specializing in jazz, rock and pop, Gibson’s private lessons and performance classes prepare aspiring singers for the stage.  Singers of all ages and levels enroll in the studio to increase their range, learn how to control their breathing, find their own unique sound and, most importantly, build confidence.

“We coach singers in contemporary singing, which makes us a little different from your average voice studio because a lot of voice coaches are classically trained,” Gibson said.  ”We teach everything that is not classical or musical theater.”

Gibson opened the studio at the beginning of 2009 and quickly found a great demand for her services, so much that she needed to hire more instructors.  With two more vocal coaches on board, White House Music now offers four-week performance classes to help students learn to control their stage-fright and polish their stage presence, a harmony class and private enhanced lessons.

Over the past few years in business, Whitehouse Music studio has grown into a safe, comfortable environment for students to explore and develop their talents as singers; where students are exposed to new musical opportunities and experiences; where they can build their confidence and push their limits.

“There are many people who are far more capable than they think – in  music and life,” Gibson said.  ”My job is to help students discover their true capacity.”

Lessons and coaching programs differ from student to student – their musical inspiration, performance level and goals; however, most Whitehouse Music students share a common interest: they are looking to explore the “singer” side of themselves.

According to Gibson, each and every Whitehouse Music student has an interesting and unique story about finding themselves as a singer, and about getting to the point of feeling comfortable enough to perform.

Conquering one’s fears is an important part of becoming a singer, which is why Gibson’s coaching classes place an emphasis on the actual live performance.  Fourteen of the studio’s 30 students took the stage on Wednesday, October 27th at Caffe Lena for their Student Showcase.  ”Singing is a little different from playing an instrument, because you have nothing to hide behind.  Standing on stage is like being exposed, it makes people feel really vulnerable.”

From The Saratogian

Sam in the Saratogian

Singer, voice teacher draws students from around Capital Region to Saratoga Springs studio

Date: August 2, 2010
Author: MAREESA NICOSIA, Saratogian Reporter

Saratoga Springs – “Smile!” Sam Whitehouse shouts over the music, as student and employee Brett Groff belts out Morrissey lyrics.

“It makes the sound different when your mouth moves into a smile,” she coaches him. “Plus, you look better when you smile.”

Whitehouse loves what she does, and it’s evident that she’s good at it – the 32 year-old singer and voice teacher has been quietly taking the area’s latent talent by storm from her small basement studio on Regent Street.

A vocalist who grew up in Saugus, Mass., Whitehouse studied contemporary singing and music business  at a voice academy in Boston for several years before being hired as the manager of its voice department.

She took some time off to study political science and drifted in and out of different classic rock and blues bands.

In October 2008, she and her husband, Greg Gibson, and their cats randomly transplanted themselves in Saratoga Springs instead of following through on Whitehouse’s urge to move to Brooklyn.

When she struggled to find a job, any job, in the area, Gibson, a Web entrepreneur, suggested she get back into singing and teaching.  A couple Craigslist ads later, “Sam Whitehouse Music” was in business and its owner was making house calls to a handful of students, some as far away as East Greenbush.

That was in March 2009.  These days, about 20 students regularly travel to  her from Glens Falls, Troy, Albany and Clifton Park, and Whitehouse – who goes by her maiden name as part of the business – gets more inquiries every day.

“It went from me driving around with my keyboard and computer in the back of my car to this,” she said  with disbelief, motioning to the walls of her serene private studio in the basement of 153 Regent Street.

Whitehouse recently hired two instructors, Sandra Hewson and Zach Nightingale, to take on more students, and she hired Groff to help with administrative duties while he continues his singing lessons.  Other types of music classes could be offered in the future, she said.

From The Schenectady Gazette

Schenectady Gazette

Sam Whitehouse finds time to teach, study and perform

Date: July 17, 2010
Author: BRIAN McELHINEY, Gazette Reporter
Edition: Schenectady/Albany; Final Section: D: Life & Arts Page: D4

If you’re a singer who doesn’t play an instrument, booking a gig can be tough.

And if you teach vocal lessons and still attend college, as Sam Whitehouse does, just finding the time to get a musical project going can be challenging.

Since moving to Saratoga Springs in October 2008, the singer and teacher has worked briefly with a local cover band and performed a few shows last summer with guitarist Eric Hauenstein.

Things have been quiet on Whitehouse’s live performance schedule for a while though. Hoping to change this, in February she began playing in a duo with guitarist James Edward, who she met through www.craigslist.com when she moved to the area.

Making a plan

“I was trying to figure out how to do more shows as a singer who doesn’t play an instrument,” Whitehouse said from her home in Saratoga Springs. “I was at [Edward’s] house one day, and I asked him that question, and he said, ‘Why don’t you pull a book together of songs that you do, book a gig and then find somebody to play it for you?’”

That’s exactly what she did, booking a performance at Caffe Lena’s Emerging Artist Breakout series that takes place Wednesday evening.” The next time I went over to his house I said, ‘So I got it booked, I got a gig; you want to play?’” Whitehouse said. “He was like, ‘Yeah, sure.’”

The duo have since booked another gig for tonight at The Cupcake Factory, also in Saratoga Springs, and have worked up a set list that includes jazzy versions of songs by Anna Nalick, Norah Jones and The Police, among others. While the two are hoping to continue playing shows throughout the summer, they’re in no hurry to make the project their No. 1 concern.

“Because it’s so low-key, and because we have other commitments, we’re both kind of like, this is not the time to get this going and going and going to the point where we can’t keep up anymore,” Whitehouse said. “We play mellow songs in a mellow way, so it makes sense to get gigs that are mellow — we don’t want anything to be frantic.”

While Whitehouse, 32, is just getting started on the Capital Region music scene, she’s no stranger to performing. While living in the Boston area, she sang with three bands — the top-40 cover group Verdict, and classic rock groups The Mighty Bad Habits and Built for Comfort.

Whitehouse would sing around the house at a young age, but it wasn’t until she was 19 that she began to take singing more seriously.

Friendly advice

“I had two friends — they didn’t know each other, but whenever I would hang out with either of them, and I would turn around and sing, both of them nagged me about it,” she said. “Finally I just did something — I decided to take voice lessons. I opened up the yellow pages, found a voice studio and I never looked back.”

Whitehouse has been in and out of bands since she was 23. But things slowed down in 2007, when she had to take a year off from singing to recuperate from a motorcycle accident. Before the accident, she had just begun teaching voice lessons, and after moving to Saratoga Springs and being unable to find work, her husband suggested she try teaching again.

Despite a rough start, she was eventually able to open up her own studio.

“I was really rusty [at first] — I tried to demonstrate things and I couldn’t,” she said. “Then I got super motivated to really get back into the swing of things. I really started doing more practices. Things have evolved pretty quickly since I moved here, which is pretty interesting — I wouldn’t have anticipated it.”

Student recitals

Whitehouse has organized two student recitals at Caffe Lena, most recently on June 9. She mostly teaches adults who are new to singing and performing.

“It’s just been awesome,” she said. “I have some of the most wonderful students — they work so hard and are so patient. Most of them are adults that always wanted to do this, but for one reason or another never gave it the time or thought they had permission to explore voice.”

And because she needs to stay ahead of the curve for her students, teaching has helped Whitehouse become a better performer as well.  “I’m much better than I was even a few months ago,” she said.

Reach Gazette reporter Brian McElhiney at 395-3111 or mcelhiney@dailygazette.net.
Memo:Sam Whitehouse and James Edward
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Caffe Lena, 47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs
How Much: $5
More Info: 583-0022, www.caffelena.org

Copyright (c) 2010 The Daily Gazette Co. All Rights Reserved.Record Number: 130678B12573CC90