Beast of the Week: Sam Studer

"Responsibility is the essence of manhood - owning up to your words and actions."


Sam Studer (aka Timberlion) is a Nashville musician and model. His passion for music led him to produce his debut EP with just his laptop, guitar and voice. He has an undeniable work ethic and well-tamed hair. We asked him more about his music, style, and thoughts on life:


What inspires your music?

It can be almost anything - a sound, instrument, or sample I've altered. Maybe even something I thought I'd heard way off in the distance or coming through walls in the next room. My brain will fill in pieces of melodies and harmonies like a jigsaw and create music out of thin air. Sometimes I just start something to see where it goes, not having a particular aim for it, but rather almost discovering the music that's hidden there. It's as if the music were waiting for someone to stumble across its pattern.


What famous musician do you admire and why?

Jeff Buckley. Not only did he have the voice of an angel and guitar chops of a demon, but the depth and variety in his music was staggering. He could go from the hard rock of Led Zeppelin to the ecstatic chanting of Qwaali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and stop off for a sultry Nina Simone cover along the way. The emotion he breathed into the lyrics was only made more poignant by his tragically short life. If I could attain even a fraction of his sheer musicality, it would be a dream come true. 


When did you start writing songs?

I started when I was about 16. I had been listening to a lot of the Beatles and Bob Dylan at the time, so that was excellent inspiration with which to begin songwriting. It took a while to understand myself and what I wanted to express, as well as how to go about expressing it. I'm very fortunate that I eventually learned how to produce my own music via a laptop - it has given me the freedom, time, and nearly infinite palette of sounds to make my music come to life.


What do you value the most?

I've found myself taking a very long time to try to answer this question. I think the best answer would be something like a four-way tie between love, truth, sacrifice, and responsibility. I think I could add more to that list, but those are pretty essential. Love makes life worth living and reduces the suffering in the world. Truth shows you exactly who and where you are, and it provides the best means of navigating your life. Sacrifice puts something worthy above yourself and your ever-changing desires. Responsibility is the essence of manhood - owning up to your words and actions. 


What’s your favorite part about your job?

I have several jobs at the moment! In addition to being a musician, I work in music publishing, teach English to immigrants, model around town, and have started a podcast. I think there's a great value in being able to have multiple interests and pursue different disciplines. My favorite part in all of them is being able to help someone, however that may manifest.


What do you do to maintain your appearance?

I keep a pretty strict diet of no sugar, no grain. That results in me eating a lot of nuts, cheese, eggs, meat, and vegetables. I also try to work out twice per week - a mix of cardio and weight training. As far as grooming goes, I'm always in long cycles of growing out my hair or beard, so products are a must. I usually use a paste for my hair and beard oil for my facial hair. I spend a little extra money on shaving creams because my skin is sensitive around my throat, and I need something with quality ingredients to counteract that.


How would you describe your style?

My style could probably be best described as modern street style. I wear a lot of simple colors (mostly blue, grey, and black) without any patterns. It makes mixing and matching outfits easy in the morning. I almost always have a jacket on - something light when the weather's warm and heavier layers when it's cold. I usually wear boots regardless of the season. And then I might add a hat or sunglasses to finish the outfit. 


What are you most passionate about?

Music. Every moment of free time I get, I spend it on music. The process of exploration and creation is beyond addictive. Melodies, harmonies, rhythms, textures... there's so much to discover. What happens to me might be described as a flow state - hours pass by unnoticed, and I don't eat or drink or sleep because I'm so engaged with what I'm creating. It feels almost like a drug. I'm sure if I didn't have music, I'd find a way to get this fix in some other field or art form. Nonetheless, music gets into my bloodstream the quickest.