"A long project is like a secret houseguest, hidden in your study, waiting to be fed and visited."
So go the words of the writer John Hollander, an honored poet and a distinguished member of the faculty at Yale University who passed away in 2013. Aside from simply being a thoughtful line, its sentiments could also easily be applied to Hollander's nephew Sam, the pop songwriter who grew up with the same itch for creativity and self-expression as John, constructing a career by tending to many "secret houseguests" of his own.
"He was a rock star in the world of poetry and it really helped light a match," says Sam from his Los Angeles studio. "I came from an incredible creative stock; my dad was a dancer and my mom was an artist herself and a writer, among all of these other things. In my family, it was pretty much expected we stay weird at all costs. While my uncle's work was over my head, I did notice his wordplay was extremely sophisticated. I think both his writing and the early days of rap was what really shaped my voice as a lyricist."