“Sam Ock is an introspective, introverted, sensitive creative who seeks to take the best from his favorite genres of music and combine it into something that expresses who he is.”
Sam Ock’s grandfathers were both pastors. His parents were heavily involved in their church, and got Sam involved at a young age. “I associated my identity, who I was, with the things of the church. Going to church and praying, reading the bible, knowing all the bible study answers, lifting your hands up in worship.”
In 2002, his family moved to a new town and a new church. Ock says when that happened, he lost his status and he also lost his friends. “I lost who I was because who I was was so surrounded with church stuff and church relationships.” At that point, he understood the gospel more clearly than he ever had before. “When I lost my identity, who I was, I gained my true identity as a beloved son of God in Christ.”
“I grew up in a very musical home so I’ve sang since I was pretty much born.” Ock’s mother was an opera singer and his father a choir director. “I didn’t know I could particularly sing until high school when my friends forced me to join them in auditioning for a musical.” In the auditions, they lined up all the guys and had them sing a piece one by one. “It kind of blew my mind that other people just didn’t get certain musical concepts such as rhythm, pitch, tone, that kind of thing. It all came very naturally to me.”
When Ock was a freshman in high school, his friend was making remixes and beats. “I asked him, ‘How do you do that stuff,’ and he said ‘Hey, here, I’ll give you some of these programs [so you can] play around with them.’ I started to play around with them and realized that making original music was really fun.” Ock begged his parents to buy him recording equipment. Eventually they did, and at age fifteen he started making his own music.
“Its about the internal journey of knowing who you are and allowing yourself to be vulnerable with other people. When people think of style, they think of someone who looks really cool on the outside, someone who is very trendy; usually it has a lot to do with looks.”
With his new album Style Book, Ock wants to show people that they can be stylish not by wearing the newest clothes, but rather by knowing who they are and allowing others to know you closely, “and allowing that to reflect how you are to everybody else. Those are the people who I believe are truly stylish.”
“I try to challenge the borders and boundaries of genre because I feel like a lot of times people are too bound into one genre and that actually is a barrier to people knowing more of who they are and who they could be.”
The introductory song on Style Book is called “Samba Dream” and includes samba, jazz, and hip-hop. “I’m saying welcome to my world. Welcome to the world of someone who is trying to explore who they are and to not be afraid of all the barriers they might come to.” Ock wants to challenge people to break down the walls they may have to explore their true identity.
“Choose 2 Love” describes love as a commitment rather than a feeling. “This is the self-expression of what it means to choose to love someone, like a family member. For me, I got married a year ago so it’s me choosing to love my wife, even when my feelings for her have changed since the beginning of our relationship.”
Ock worked with longtime collaborator Ruth Cho on his song “Cool.” “The whole concept of cool is like ‘I wanna be cool, but I don’t wanna be cool if that means I lose you.’ That you could be a relationship with someone or that you could also be someone’s relationship with God.”
“Rest Of Me” is about “that moment before you decide to fully trust someone with who you are.” Ock said that often we try to hide our feelings, thinking that we need to protect ourselves, but to share with someone your true identity is a wonderful thing. “If you see all this messed up stuff in me, if you see my sin, will you still love the rest of me?”
“Sugar Love” speaks on addictions to things that harm us. “It could be a toxic person. It could be junk food. It could be candy. It could be clothing, any kind of thing that’s bad for us, but we still want it.” In the song, he explores why he desires what is not good for him.
The following song, “Idyll,” is sourced from a rarely used word that describes a peaceful, relaxing place. Ock believes that this is a very challenging song to the listener. “People want to and I want to put up a façade that we’re doing all the right things, that we know what we’re doing, and that we’re strong people. We’ve got it all together…”
He encourages people to reject being dishonest when they don’t feel like they have it all together. “It is okay to be emotional? Is it okay that I’m living in faith thinking that its not what I do that gives me success at the end of the day? Its literally all at the mercy of God.”
He believes that many people are ultimately afraid of the reality that success in the eyes of others does not compare to success in the eyes of God. “You’ve just gotta sit still like a lamb in a pasture, or beside still waters, and you’ve gotta let go of control of literally everything to God.”
“The beautiful lie that we all choose to believe is that God is holding out for me, that I know what’s better for me than God does.” The final song, “Beautiful Lie,” reiterates that for the sake of our identity, we cannot control our lives the way God will. “Its asking God to help me give up these lies that I so easily believe.”
In his free time, Ock likes to connect with people, get to know them, and challenge them on how they may be limiting their life. “I’m like a philosopher kind of person. I’m like an existentialist. For me, the question is always ‘Why?’”