Samuel Decker relaxes in the dim bedroom of his apartment, strumming away song ideas on his electric bass guitar and singing out potential melodies, nevermind the fact that it’s 12:45 a.m. and he shares the apartment with three other guys.
Decker, 20, sits in a casual green t-shirt and khakis, his light brown hair messy and his eyes tired after a long day of work, school and extracurriculars.
Born in Houston, Decker grew up the oldest of three siblings. He said that he has always felt overwhelming support from his family.
When he made the decision to go to school for film, he said his family was just glad he was going to college at a school they could afford.
Decker is a sophomore Media Arts major studying film at the University of North Texas and works as a videographer and media assistant at Design Works in the University Union. He also pursues his love of music through his band, Nakamara, and other side projects.
“I’ve loved films ever since I got a laptop when I was 13 and would watch movies under the covers until my mom would yell at me,” Decker said. “It’s something to believe in. For an hour and a half, it’s a good story to get invested into.”
Now Decker has made his own short films and produced music videos since high school. One of his films, about a group of friends who accidentally summon Satan while playing with magical jelly beans, was entered into the Long Beach Indie International Film Festival earlier this year and his band released their self-titled debut album last Saturday.
Despite finding his passion at a young age, Decker doesn’t feel the same drive to make films as he used to. He credits this to the fact that what used to be an escape is now his his main subject in school and the focus of his job.
“Now that I’ve made films I don’t care as much anymore if I make a lot more,” Decker said. “Film is way harder to make a living in and you get bombarded by so much of it you lose your passion for it when you’re studying it so much. It doesn’t fulfil me as much as music does in ways I can’t really describe.”
Decker produced his first album at 16 and is currently working on around 30 other projects including a solo album and a folk EP.
“Musically, I think I’m still at the top of my game, even if I’m not where I want to be,” Decker said. “I have a lot of things to say, creatively, that are pretty unique to me and I think that’s what people want to hear.”
With all of this on his plate, Decker acknowledges this as his most intense semester yet. He is in class and at work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every weekday and follows this with studying, club meetings and late night band practices. Thursdays are his self-proclaimed “fun days” as he adds the recording of an improv podcast he founded with four friends to his long list of responsibilities.
Though he has years of experience under his belt in both the film and music worlds, all of his hard work has led him to one conclusion: people, not fame or success, are the most important part of his life.
“What’s important to me is friends and creating things that other people can enjoy whether that’s making films or recording albums,” Decker said. “Money only means so much…but making something for somebody, even if it’s just a meal, that’s pretty priceless to me.”