Sam Payne is a Mormon musician and storyteller. His original stories and what is referred to as his “jazz-inflected folk” music has garnered the attention of critics and audiences in the west. He also performs with his band, The Sam Payne Project, and with his jazz quartet, Savoy. He not only performs in the Intermountain West, but he is also recognized as a national and international performer.
As a veteran of the Timpanogos and Weber storytelling festivals, Payne has entertained audiences with his interesting stories and jazz-inflected folk tunes in such places as Canada, Bulgaria, Tokyo, and across the nation, including the Will Rogers Auditorium in Dallas, Texas, and the Kennedy Center in the nation’s capital. He has also been featured on the Exchange Place stage at the National Storytelling Festival. Per BYU Radio.org, “Payne’s arresting stage presence, his craft as a poet/storyteller, and his soaring tenor voice have established him as an enduring and engaging performer; the songwriter’s songwriter.”
Payne serves on the board of the National Storytelling Network. He also writes and produces for radio, and his clients have included Glenn Beck, the popular syndicated radio, and television host. He is the host of “The Apple Seed: Tellers and Stories,” a daily radio show on the art of storytelling for BYU Radio. He also conceived and directed the nation’s most listened-to inspirational internet radio station, YLDSR.com, and created and syndicated “The Radio Family Journal,” a popular weekly storytelling radio feature for families.
Besides maintaining a career as a performing artist, he serves as the school director of Pioneer High School for the Performing Arts in American Fork, Utah. He has authored educational publications for children, and his work has been adopted as standard curriculum by state boards of education in Florida and Arkansas. He has also taught at Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts in St. George, Utah.
An author, a songwriter, a teller, and a teacher, Payne blends all four disciplines together and creates a unique form of entertainment all his own. He has said, “I’m a musical teller, sharing stories about church dances, first kisses, kid songwriters, Butch Cassidy, Stephen Foster, and growing up in the American West. The stories are surrounded by dynamic, emotionally stirring songs, both original and standard.” Tim Jones of Deseret Book.com has declared, “The songwriting is fun, sublime, and masterful. The lyrics are poetic and profound. There are life lessons hidden in his songs, and when found they are more powerful than just stating the truth. Truer than truth. Highly, highly recommended.” And, The Spectrum reported, “Payne is one of those few musicians who can successfully combine both songwriting and stage performing. He can write poignant and meaningful lyrics, combine them with a melodic hook, and perform them in a voice that makes you want to close your eyes and drift away.”
Sam Payne is the son of folk singer and actor Marvin Payne. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served a mission for the Church in Argentina. He and first wife, Kristie Lott, are the parents of four boys.
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