Sami "Mei" Lofman, in many ways, is like most 11-year-old girls: she likes ice cream, listening to Taylor Swift, and thinks sunflowers are pretty. Then, she opens her mouth and begins singing.
Watching some of the videos she's posted to her YouTube account, "SamiMei21," you might wonder how the voice you hear connects to the little girl singing to the camera. Dancing on the roof, rocking on a swing, or standing on the stage, Sami is relaxed when she is singing or playing guitar, allowing the little girl behind the big voice to show through in her songs and her lyrics.
"I don't really have stage freight," Sami said. "I get nervous before I get on stage, but then it all goes away."
Sami has already had considerable stage experience. Starting at about age seven at theatre camp at The Roeper School in Birmingham, she has performed songs of her own and others at many places, including Birmingham's Farmers Market and Shain Park and the Majestic Theater in Detroit. And don't worry too much about Sami falling off the roof in her YouTube video – she's a competitive rock climber.
"She loves performing, she loves making people excited through her music," said Sami's mom, Elana Lofman.
Lofman said Sami started taking piano lessons when she was about seven years old. When she was eight, she wrote a book, "Some Bugs Are," which was published online at mypublisher.com. She later started writing her own songs; her first, called "Pieces of the Puzzle, she did with the help of her piano instructor. In 2012, Sami started taking lessons at Axis Music Academy in Birmingham. Lofman said she makes sure Sami gets the classes she wants and encourages her passion for music, but she's careful not to push her daughter.
"I'm a big believer that you have to follow your heart, no matter what you do," Lofman said. "If you aren't following your dreams, then nothing is going to feel accomplished. I don't help her with songs and music. I get the lessons she needs and get her to the places she needs to go, but she kind of figures it out on her own, and she keeps her own schedule."
Last year, Sami learned how to play the guitar, something she uses when making up her own songs.
"It's always hard at first when you are learning a new instrument," Sami said. "But if you enjoy it, it doesn't matter how you are because it's fun and that's the point."
While the summer is coming to a close and Sami will head back to classes at Hillel Day School, in Farmington Hills, looks forward to performing at the Farmers Market again. Another favorite show, she said, was the special performance she did with Axis Music Academy for Kids Kicking Cancer....continued on page 2