Grade 12 musician Sam Olliffe hopes to give people a sense of catharsis when they listen to the songs on his new album released May 15.  

The Haliburton Highlands Secondary School student released ‘Only Pain’ online across all major streaming platforms.  

Olliffe said he wants to make an emotional connection with the people who listen to his music.  

“When I listen to music, I attach my own meaning onto it and it’s really cathartic. Crying and stuff, music’s good to listen to for that,” he said. “Hopefully, if I can do that at some point with my career, I’d be happy.”  

The album is 29 minutes and features eight original songs.


Olliffe has developed the tracks for the album over the past year by turning his room into a recording studio while learning. 

 “It’s a relatively short album,” Olliffe said. “It’s about my experience with teenage unhappiness … there’s been a theme with all my songs so I can put them together in a way that will make sense.”  

Olliffe said he always wanted to do something creative but took time to find something that worked for him.

He started playing guitar in Grade 8 and expanded to learn piano and song writing.  

“This is the one thing I feel good about and I’m super passionate. There was no real other world for me that would make me feel good,” he said.  

Stan Russell has taught Olliffe since the year the student picked up guitar. Russell said it is rewarding to see Olliffe grow and mature musically.  

“He’s got great potential and he’s pretty driven. He’s very open to anything that I suggest,” Russell said. “He’s worked hard and he’s quite intuitive.” 

After years developing his talent and performing in school productions, he got a premier post-secondary opportunity.

Metalworks Institute of Sound and Music Production in Mississauga has accepted him into a music and performance course and provided a $1,000 bursary.  

But with his days before graduation numbered, Olliffe said working on an album while balancing school work is challenging.  

“A lot of late assignments,” he admitted. “The assignments don’t feel necessary … some of the teachers give me some slack, which is nice.”  

He is releasing his album for free on Spotify, Youtube, Soundcloud, Apple Music and Google Play. It will also be available on iTunes for $10.

Olliffe said having opportunities and support in the community was vital to him reaching this point.  

“Please, support young, creative kids in the community.”   Olliffe hopes years of study at MetalWorks will enable him to go professional with his art.  

“I just want to establish myself as an artist. I want to make albums,” Olliffe said. “I want to perform with a band behind me.”

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