Cape Breton University is honoured to recognize the accomplishments and distinguished career of Gordon Francis Sampson, a brilliant writer, an innovative producer/director, and a dynamic performer, who has made a significant impact on the Canadian and international music scenes, while never forgetting his Cape Breton roots.
In an industry which is highly competitive, Mr. Sampson has achieved many outstanding accomplishments. At the relatively young age of 40, he has already won a Grammy Award, a Juno Award, and two American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Awards, a Nashville Songwriters’ Association Award, a Country Music Association Award, a Canadian Country Music Association Award and 14 East Coast Music Awards. These are just some of the accolades that Cape Breton’s own, Gordie Sampson has achieved through his great talent, dedication and love of music.
In addition to the four solo albums that Mr. Sampson has released, he has written and co-written songs for some of the biggest stars in the music industry such as Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes, Bon Jovi, Donnie and Marie Osmond, Randy Travis and Miley Cyrus. He has also produced albums for Natalie MacMaster and Damhnait Doyle.
While Mr. Sampson has won numerous professional awards, the work that he does in his home community of Cape Breton deserves special recognition and acknowledgement. Each year he hosts a Songcamp, which is designed to nurture young songwriters from across Nova Scotia, giving them access to industry and technical knowledge, and helping them to develop skills that will benefit their writing careers. The Songcamp not only inspires promising individuals; it also helps creates a vibrant and sustainable music industry in Nova Scotia.
Despite being removed from Cape Breton for most of the year, Mr. Sampson returns home every summer to spend time with friends and family. In addition to his work with the Songcamp, Mr. Sampson has also volunteered with a local Habitat for Humanity project.
People in the music industry respect and admire Mr. Sampson, his work and the delight that he brings to audiences, whether that is through his writing or artistic performances. The Daily News has described Mr. Sampson as “a soulful singer with major star charisma.” While 98.9 XFM has said that, “Gordie Sampson…already a classic …just waiting to age….the secret is out.”
Mr. Sampson currently resides in Nashville with his wife, Helen.
Today, Cape Breton University confers the degree Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, on a man who is a musician of international significance, a musical inspiration who is applauded by audiences and industry players alike and who has a passion for helping others and staying connected to his home community, Gordon Francis Sampson.