Sam Christensen was a mentor to many. He spent his life helping people to understand and fully embrace themselves. When I moved to LA, he had announced his retirement and having worked with him in Atlanta a year before, his was the first acting class I signed up for.
His studio was like a home. A place full of love and acceptance for one another because we had been shown the unique beauty inside ourselves, and therefore we could you see it in others.
His acting class was about incorporating more and more of yourself into your work. The only stipulation for choosing your piece was that you had to like it. I’ve never felt so free. It was one of those classes that you were just encouraged to be yourself. With the encouragement of my classmates who had found out my dirty little secret that I had been keeping on the DL from my acting community… that I’m a singer. I decided to do something that quite frankly terrified me….. sing in my acting class. On stage I have no problem, I have developed a “no biggie” kind of attitude toward entertainment. I often like that I could fall asleep on stage.
I have found such freedom and self in acting and realized I have never been myself while singing. Only in worship or glimpses in the middle of songs would I show my heart. It was the first time I ever walked to the stage as myself, and walked away as myself. No masks, no characters, no bandleader, or kooky lounge singer, A cappella girl, no standup comedian…. just me.
It was a confession. I wanted to be taken seriously as an actress, so I avoided the part of me that could sing. But Sam told me that I’m a storyteller and one of the ways that I do that is through the poetry of song.
“You’re an actress Kaleia, don’t worry about that.”– Sam Christensen
This was the song I sang for him the night before he died. The last acting class he ever taught.
It was an honor.