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Tsui Live At Legends

| Thursday, April 10, 2014

tsui graphic WEBKeri O'Mara

If you’ve been paying any attention to pop culture in the last couple months, you’ve almost certainly heard the Oscar-winning song “Let It Go” from “Frozen.” If you follow BuzzFeed, you’ve almost certainly seen numerous adaptations and versions of the songs. One of the most popular is Sam Tsui’s mash-up of the hit with Passenger’s “Let Her Go.”

On Friday, Notre Dame students will have the opportunity to see the YouTube celebrity live at Legends. The Asian American Association and Legends are hosting Tsui as part of the “Springboard Music Fest,” which featured YelaWolf on Thursday and will feature Vicetone on Saturday night.

Tsui is known particularly for his covers, most recently of Bastille’s “Pompeii” and Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty.” Tsui started posting his top-40 covers to YouTube while studying at Yale. Some of his most popular creations are mash-ups like the “Let It Go/Let Her Go” video, which has over eight million hits.

Recently, Tsui has released his first album, titled “Make It Up.” The album was financed through a Kickstarter campaign he ran with his producer and longtime classmate, Kurt Schneider. In an interview with “The Wrap, Tsui said he chose not to work with record labels in order to maintain creative control on the album.

“I’m not opposed to working with other writers in the future, but what has drawn people to me is that when they watch a video, whether it’s a cover or an original, they know there is no middle man. It’s a direct to audience kind of thing,” Tsui said.

Though his original intent was to get involved with musical theatre, his YouTube covers and mash-ups led him down the path of pop music that is now bringing him to perform at Notre Dame.

The songs from his original album are available on his YouTube channel (TheSamTsui). Three of them feature original music videos. Tsui said in the interview with The Wrap that his time doing covers has helped find what works for him as an artist.

“My writing voice is a little quirkier, more singer-songwriter-y than the top-40 stuff I cover. It was still heavily influenced by the fact that I’ve spent three years doing covers; it gave me exposure to songs from diverse genres and I learned what worked for me in songs.”

His mash-ups of popular songs include ones of “Timber” and “Counting Stars,” and another of “Payphone” and “Telephone.” In conjunction with Schneider, Tsui has become known for his annual medleys of popular songs from the year. The 2013 medley features songs like “We Can’t Stop,” “What Does the Fox Say,” and “Mirrors.”

Sam Tsui’s show is sure to feature a fun mix of his covers, mash-ups and original work. For those familiar with his work, it will be fun to see some of his most popular hits live and for those who aren’t, I suggest roaming his YouTube channel for a couple minutes. You’re sure to find something you like.

Tsui will be performing at Legends  at 10 p.m. Friday. Admission is free for Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students with an ID.

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About Caelin Miltko

I am a senior English and Irish language major, with a minor in Journalism. I spent the last year abroad in Dublin, Ireland and am currently a Walsh RA living in Pangborn.

Contact Caelin