Sam Sims Band
Sam Sims began his musical journey at age seven, learning piano from his mother, and was writing original songs by age fourteen. His songs have been licensed and featured on prime-time television shows (CBS’ Hawaii 5-0 aired Sam’s Hawaiian Christmas Song in 2013 and 2014). With four full-length albums and a Christmas single to date, Sam's music encompasses melodically-voiced acoustic guitar, ukulele, exquisite lyrics, and soulful vocals.
Missions: encouraging positivity; writing and performing high-quality music; providing music education through performance and charitable outreach.
Sam has shared stages with well-respected acts such as Willie Nile (who frequently plays with Bruce Springsteen), Steve Forbert, and Rob Machado (surfer extraordinaire). Sam Sims Band opened large shows for Bob Marley’s legendary band, The Wailers (in 2014 and again in 2015). Sam has performed in a variety of locations to include: New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Hawaii, Utah, Washington DC, Texas, Nicaragua, Tobago, and Costa Rica.
Sam also works with Springsteen’s engineer, had his music featured on CBS’ Hawaii 5-0, showcased at venues during the Sundance Film Festival, and played on The Mountain Morning Show, Park City Television, Park City, UT.
Outreach: Sam has volunteered in the United States and Nicaragua for charitable organizations such as Shining-Through-Shadows, Waves-For-Water, The Light-of-Day Foundation, Campership of Monmouth County, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Waves-of-Hope, Change a Life Uganda, Global Camps Africa, Family Promise of Monmouth County, Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation, NAMI, Mary's Place, CFC Loud N Clear Foundation, Surfrider Foundation, Joan Dancy & PALS (People with ALS) Foundation, Marine Resources Council, Monmouth Cultural Center, Sandy Hook Concert Series, Film One Festival, Highlands Clam Festival, and Monmouth University Fundraiser For Humane Society of Tinton Falls.
Sam performs on guitar, ukulele, and harmonica. His eclectic style incorporates Folk-Rock, Hawaiian/Reggae, and Acoustic Soul/Pop. Many of his original compositions have an island flavor inspired by nature. Some of Sam’s musical influences include Van Morrison, David Gray, Jim Croce, Ray LaMontagne, and Jack Johnson. Sam’s personal interests include surfing, SUP, yoga, swimming, and meditation. The currently released catalog of songs includes:
2013 EP "Christmas Songs" - Both tracks on this beautifully orchestrated album indefinitely provide a reminder of the holiday season's true purpose.
2013 Album "Into the Blue" - A highly organic album, reflects musical growth through a diverse compilation of heartfelt, lighthearted, and soulful songs.
2011 Album "Moments" - Embraces the concept of being present in the living moment as we are often distracted by the future and the past. Fully living, we are in the here and now.
2009 Album "Neon Signs" - It’s full of heart-warming, evocative lyrics and melodies, and features popular live songs such as “Hula Girl”.
Songs are available worldwide from iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and other distributors…
Follow Sam’s music here…
Dimitris Kulaga (Percussion & BVs)
NAME: W. Dimitris Kulaga, (“Dimitris”)
MUSICIAN: Percussionist, Drummer, Vocalist. Dimitris creates a signature sound by integrating hand percussion instruments with a traditional drum kit.
INSTRUMENTS: Congas, Tumba, Bongos, Djembe, Timbales, Clave, Cabasa, Tambourine, Cow Bells, Shakers, Chimes, Kalimbas, Cajon, Turkish Drum, Guiro, Full Drum Kit
GENRES: Blues, Classic Rock, Folk, Funk, Hard Rock, Island, Latin, R&B, Reggae, Latin Jazz, Smooth Jazz, Soul
CAREER: Dimitris began his musical journey at age twelve, learning to play drums inspired by teen friend Tico Torres of Bonjovi. His passion to play hand percussion came later in life inspired by Shelia E. of Prince. Dimitris has performed with musicians of multiple genres, and has performed internationally with colleges, cruise ships and land excursions. His performances have sailed him through the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Aegean, and Ionian Seas.
Dimitris has also worked as a studio percussionist. He has recorded drums and hand percussion with multiple artists:
Darren Panelli, CD “Repossess My Bones”
Artie Ross, CD “Wanderlist and Friends"
Sam Sims upcoming CD (2017)
Dimitris has performed with over 400+ musicians and bands. He has become a well-respected musician at two New Jersey Open Mics (one run by Rob Dye, George Ott and Mike Ghegan, and the other with Carol Barbieri, Bobby Donofrio, and Mike Penny). He is the percussion player and backing singer for the Sam Sims Band (which includes the multi-instrumentalist/singer-songwriter Sam Sims and guitar virtuoso Kyle Ward). He also plays in the group, Square Head with Thor Tollefsen and Mark Jones; and Timekeypers with Bill Sapienza.
OUTREACH: Dimitris, is a member of various non profit organizations; the Count Basie Theater, and Musicians on a Mission. Furthermore, he has helped the Monmouth County Arts Council, Joan Dancy & PALS (People with ALS) Foundation, Light-of-Day Foundation, Mary's Place, CFC Loud N Clear Foundation, Monmouth Cultural Center, Sandy Hook Concert Series, Film One Festival, Highlands Clam Festival, and Monmouth University Fundraiser For Humane Society of Tinton Falls.
MUSICAL INFLUENCES: Acoustic Alchemy, Arturo Fuerte, Bonjovi, Bruce Springstein, Crosby Stills and Nash, The Eagles, Four Play, Gypsy King, James Taylor, Joe Cocker, Journey, Kenny G, Neil Young, Rod Stewart, Rodriquez, Santana, Shelia E, Spiro Gyro, Stevie Wonder, Train, Yanni, Jack Johnson, David Gray and ZZ Top.
PERSONAL LIFE: Dimitris enjoys weight lifting, biking, and traveling to places where he finds inspiration (such as the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Italia and the Greek isles). He enjoys spending time with his girlfriend Michele Camille, family and friends. While playing music, Dimitris was a banker for decades. His love for music and percussion spans a lifetime.
Kyle Ward (Lead Guitar & BVs)
Kyle Ward is a multi-talented instrumentalist who specializes in music production and guitar performance. He currently attends Berklee College of Music, and has made numerous accomplishments at age 21. He started playing guitar at age eight and learned the drums shortly thereafter. Kyle was the lead guitarist of Ardvark Smile (an award winning Jersey Shore band). The band won the ‘Rock-to-the-Top’ Contest at the legendary Stone Pony in Asbury Park after beating out 100 other groups and selling out their headlining show at the venue. Kyle is now the lead guitarist for the ‘Sam Sims Band’, and also performs with other respected musicians such as Doug Wimbash and Scott Elk.
Kyle graduated from Rumson Fair Haven High School where he received the Performing Arts Society Award as well as the John Philip Sousa Award for Musical Excellence. In the summer of 2014, Kyle was an honoree at the Rockin’ Music Academy of Middletown and was recognized as one of the best guitarists in the history of the Academy. He was welcomed into the Holiday Express family of musicians in November 2014 as their youngest instrumentalist and logged-in close to twenty shows that season with some of New Jersey’s best musicians.
In High School Kyle participated in many prestigious music programs including Summer programs at the Berklee College of Music, the Grammy Foundation’s Grammy Camp, University of the Arts Summer Jazz Performance Program, NYU Future Music Moguls at the Clive Davis School of Music, The Jazz Arts Program and Rockit at the Count Basie Theatre, School of Rock All Stars, Rockin' Music Academy Band and Summer Programs, Musicians Studio, and the RFHRHS Jazz and Percussion Ensembles. He was also a finalist for best under twenty-one instrumentalist at the Asbury Park JAM Awards.
Kyle has taught private guitar lessons for over five years and worked in the Rockin' Music Academy Summer Camps as a musical counselor. He has also worked as an Intern at the Lake House Music and Recording Studio and completed an internship with Eventide Audio & Communications company as a result of his musical talent and electronics expertise. And as a direct result of his guitar talents, he was also invited to attend the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) convention in Anaheim, California.
In addition to Holiday Express, Kyle has helped numerous non-profit organizations to include: Musicians on a Mission, The Light of Day Foundation, Campership of Monmouth County, the Monmouth Museum, Lunch Break, Asbury Park Music Foundation, Film One Fest, Sandy Hook Concert Series, TedX Navesink, VH1 Save the Music Foundation, the Monmouth County Arts Council, and Big Brothers Big Sisters among others. He has performed at Rock to Prevent for Prevention First for the past four years where he composed the music and appeared in a PSA music video for Prevention First. His video aired on television for six months and was also featured at the 2015 Asbury Park Music in Film Festival.
Kyle has also studied with well respected musicians such as Matt O’Ree, Brent Bergholm, Bob Grieco, Jon Rotman, Dave Miller, and Jody Joseph Bongiovi. Kyle's instructors at the Berklee College of Music, who are some of the best in the world, continue to challenge and push him to the next level.
Aaron Manzo (Bass Guitar & BVs)
Aaron plays bass guitar, regular guitar, drums, and also sings vocals. He specializes in 80's and 90's music, but is extremely versatile in most all genres.
"Bass is my first love." (Aaron Manzo)
- Genres: Grunge, Psychedelic Rock, Club Rock, Acoustic
- Influences: The Doors, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Days of the New, Faith No More, Gaslight Anthem, Alice in Chains, Prince, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Who, Chris Cornell, Victor Wooten
- Musical Groups & Experience: Bassist of Omega Train, EMW. Lead singer of Woodfish. Also a guest performer with Moroccan Sheepherders and Carnival Dogs.
Aaron has also appeared on the First Downtown All Stars of Red Bank album "Bright Lights on Broad Street" and is being featured on the upcoming album "Magic on the Navesink".