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This is the Seahawks Gameday Magazine feature story for Week 11 of the 2020 season, presented by Bud Light. Visit our Game Center for more information related to our Thursday Night Football game vs. the Arizona Cardinals.

Before becoming the Seattle Seahawks' official in-game DJ, Shaun Samuels served in the U.S. Army from 1996 through 1999. Placed in the 2nd Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade of the U.S. Army, Samuels was located at Fort Lewis just outside of Tacoma for the duration of his tenure.

Samuels spent the first 18 years of his life in the small city of Marion, S.C., so his move across the country was a massive change. He went to military school just after graduating high school with the intention of using his military money to pay for college. After a few months of basic training in Lawton, Okla., Samuels was sent to Fort Lewis – and he hasn't left Washington since.

Supa's musical journey began long before he became the Seahawks' DJ. Growing up, he recalled his mother hosting parties at the house and begging her to let him play the music. Samuels didn't care about the party – he just wanted to have a say in the sounds.

The passion for music and sports was always there, but he didn't know how to connect them and create a career path.

"It's just one of those things where music and sports were my passions," Samuels said. "Everybody that I knew wanted to grow up to either do two things – be a professional athlete or be a rapper, and I wanted to do both. I didn't grow too much as far as an athlete is concerned, so music was my second love."

Standing at just 5-foot-6 and 140 pounds, his dreams of becoming a professional athlete quickly vanished. While serving at Fort Lewis, Samuels realized it was time to start thinking about his post-military life.

"I really started honing my DJ stuff (while in the military)," Samuels said. "My brother in law at the time got me into it, and then once I got the equipment, I was a sponge, soaking up the craft rapidly – practicing every day, 12 hours a day."

Still, the transition to "regular" life after the military was a challenge, especially with his career.

"It was really tough, and I say tough in the sense of, there's no real path for it," Samuels said. "If you want to be a doctor, you major in science and go to med school. Same if you want to be a dentist or a psychiatrist. There's a path for every different career.

"I always knew I didn't want to do the traditional stuff – didn't want to be a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, a fireman – but I never knew what I really wanted to do because, again, there was no direct path to where I wanted to get to. I fell back on, 'What do I love to do? Like what can I do that I would be able to do for free?' It just kept falling back to sports and music."

Samuels began to DJ at small parties after being discharged from the military. He attended Clover Park Technical College in Lakewood for radio broadcasting and became a DJ on their college radio station.

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Follow the Seahawks Gameday Playlist on Spotify

Hear the same music Seahawks players will be listening to as they prepare to take on the Giants on Sunday, December 6 at 1:05 p.m. Curated by DJ Supa Sam, the official DJ of the Seahawks.

As he neared the end of his time in college, Supa expected to head back home to South Carolina to try and land a radio gig there. Before he could leave, he saw that KUBE 93.3 FM in Seattle was looking for an intern.

Samuels went through the interview process and was discouraged to not hear back after his interview. Then, the man who interviewed him called and asked if Supa could DJ a party he was hosting because his DJ backed out on short notice. Throughout the course of the night, Supa was told that he got the internship, and his career was about to take off.

"From there I just took it into a whole other level, just overdrive," Samuels said. "I was doing overnights, weekends. I started doing sports radio stuff because it was the same parent company. I started doing bigger parties, partnering with athletes. It just kind of blew up from there."

While working as an on-air talent and mixer for KUBE, Supa became the official DJ for the Seattle Storm and Sonics from 2003 through 2008. He served in the same role for the Mariners from 2011 through 2014. Then, the Seahawks came calling in 2015.

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"I've always had a rapport with some of the guys that work for the Seahawks," Samuels said. "It was kind of like, 'Oh man, I'd love to work with you if the opportunity ever arises.' It was kind of a mutual respect – I loved what they were doing and I had equity in the market by then because I had been on the radio.

"One day they gave me a call out of the blue and said 'We'd like to bring you down and have a meeting with you.' I went down, and it was in the middle of the season, so I'm sitting at the VMAC and they're like 'Hey, we'd like you to be our full-time DJ.' I thought it was a joke at the time, I thought I was getting punked."

Supa started that weekend after the meeting and his first game was against his hometown team, the Carolina Panthers. He's worked every home game since then and he often attends different community events the Seahawks are involved in.

Having been with the organization for over five years now, Samuels is proud of the military appreciation the Seahawks and the NFL constantly display.

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"They realize the veterans and service members and the military, things like that are important, and they don't cut any corners when it comes to that stance," Samuels said. "To work for an organization that gets it and for myself to be a veteran, it's just a match made in heaven. I'm just forever grateful.

"To put it plainly – the Seahawks are top-notch. From the top level down, everybody is invested in what I'm doing. That doesn't mean that it's micromanaged, it just means that's how important it is. Even with COVID, they could've easily said 'You know what Supa Sam, this year with us not having fans, let's reevaluate and look at it next year.' But they realized the importance of it, and that's just a testament to the organization."

Supa still performs for each home game at CenturyLink Field, even though fans are not permitted at games due to the pandemic. He misses the energy that 12s bring, and truly can't wait to start playing his music for them again.

"It's definitely an adjustment, you know only playing for the players. They're digging it, but you're used to that extra element (with fans) and they're not there. I wish they were because I think with some of these games we would've had some more mini-earthquakes."

The Seahawks' annual Salute to Service game is set for Thursday night against the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field, where Specialist Samuels will perform from the Toyota Fan Deck as the Seahawks look to grab a critical victory.

The Seahawks DJ has been spinning tunes for players and fans since 2015, but did you know his career started in the military? Learn more about the veteran » https://shwks.com/8tpd5

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