Samuel Augustus Newsome was born on April 28, 1965 in Salibury, MD. He is the youngest of three boys. He began playing music at 12 years old when his family relocated to Hampton, VA. By the time he was 15 years old he began playing professionally around town with local R & B bands along with his high school classmate bassist James Genus. It was during high school that he became serious about studying jazz and began taking lessons after school with saxophonist Steve Wilson. It was Steve who introduced him to recordings of jazz legends such as Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and Sonny Rollins.
In 1983, after graduating high school, Sam received the Kool Jazz Festival scholarship to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass