New Jersey native Sam Houston moved to Austin, Texas to join his brother’s endeavors in the entertainment industry. “When I moved to Texas from New Jersey, we realized we were the new kids on the scene. We had a different style nobody else had really been exposed to and we wanted to leverage our differences to create a buzz.” Houston and his band Sam Houston & BLK Odyssy consider themselves a rock band with elements of soul.
In addition to music, Houston always had a passion for the restaurant scene having worked in a variety of kitchens before quitting to pursue music full time. “I always enjoyed making something for someone that gave them joy. Music and food are intertwined in that they are both things people consume, they both make people feel some sort of way, especially soul food.”
Over the past few years, Houston and his band would go on trips to Nashville and Los Angeles to meet with record labels, managers, producers. “We wanted to give ourselves an edge, so, we would rent out an AirBnb and invite these managers and producers over for a home cooked dinner. It was a connecting point and a great networking tool for us,” Houston explained.
Houston uses this same concept in The Soul House, his new and upcoming restaurant born from the ashes of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We want our brick and mortar to be a place where people can come together and enjoy and celebrate similarities. If we do not pinpoint the things that bring us together, we are going to continue to pull apart. We will serve soul food, something people from all walks of life enjoy. Our goal is to have people congregate over good food, and focus more on their similarities rather than their differences.”
Houston lost his own brother to police brutality in New Jersey back in 2010. Perhaps the biggest lesson he learned from this experience was learning how to let go of the grasp of negativity and fully forgive from the inside out. “When you have that negativity stored up within you, you have nowhere to put any positive emotion. Luckily I had healthy ways to channel that emotion through music and food. I learned people react differently when they have anger, fear, discouragement stored up inside them,” Houston explained. “Our mission is to take the social power and talents we have been given to empower the community through music and food.”