Gary Pinto, Carla Cooke Discuss Sam Cooke’s Powerful Legacy

1 July 2022 | 8:00 am | Gary Pinto

To celebrate the release of his ‘Sam Cooke - The Music’ album (out now through Sony Music), Australian singer-songwriter Gary Pinto, who will tour the timeless songs in August and September, reflects on the music legend's important legacy alongside Cooke’s daughter, Carla.

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I have been a songwriter and recording artist for the past 30 years and have made many records over that time. I haven’t been prouder of a record more than my new album, Sam Cooke - The Music.

Throughout my career, I have written and produced records for myself and others and in making this record of Sam Cooke songs, found a friendship in a man and his music that was released well before my birth.

Sam Cooke was and always will be a liberator, an uplifter, a man who supported those who struggled. He was also a supreme musician, songwriter and businessman. These are qualities that I have pursued throughout my life and to be a messenger of hope and healing is the underlying mission for me as a musician. This is what drew me and connected me deeply to Sam Cooke, his life and music. 

The foundation of Sam’s character was steeped in his Christian faith and determination to help those who were overlooked and mistreated. In his music, Sam often gave his best songs to those who couldn’t get signed. In my life, as a mentor to many young and aspiring musicians, I have endeavoured to do the same in trying to impart what I have learned as a professional musician over the past few decades.

"My hope for my life is the same, to affect change through the gifts that I have been given to better the lives of those around me."

In working with many Australian and international unsigned and signed artists, I understand the importance of supporting one another and growing together in our music and livelihoods. Sam always looked out for others and sought to bring those around him up with him in his success. This is a wonderful legacy that I hope to leave through my life and career also.

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In his push for African American Civil Rights, Sam was instrumental in advancing the rights of the African American people in the United States and paved the way for many of his contemporaries to have a life of freedom and liberty.

As someone who has grown up listening to Sam Cooke and his music, I feel honoured and humbled to play and make a record that includes songs that shaped the landscape of music and our world. In recording each song on the album, producer Justin Stanley, the band and I found a new life and meaning to each song, drawing upon our own shared experiences of the topics that imbue each track. 

All Of My Life was my Wedding Waltz, sung by Guy Sebastian when I married my wonderful wife Natasha. Jesus Gave Me Water, was a track that Jimmy Barnes played to me on his couch at his home in Vaucluse almost 20 years ago. Jimmy’s track on the album, Somebody Have Mercy, reaches into the mind of Sam who questions what drives him to do the things he does. I couldn’t ask for better friends to sing these tracks on this album, who both have been equally influenced by Sam Cooke and his music.

As a man who has been born of parents from India, I have always revered and appreciated the life and work of the Great Liberator, Mahatma Gandhi. Sam Cooke’s life echoed, through the discipline and art form of music, an existence that was intent upon changing society around him for the betterment of his brothers and sisters, in service and love of his Creator.

My hope for my life is the same, to affect change through the gifts that I have been given to better the lives of those around me and lead them to liberation.


The effect of Sam Cooke’s music is still going strong in today’s musical culture.

My father has touched so many lives around the world. One person, in particular, is Gary Pinto. Gary and I connected via Instagram. I came across him one day while going through my Instagram feed. I saw that he was doing the same thing that I was doing; paying tribute to my father by performing his music, except he was performing overseas in Australia.

Now when you perform a Sam Cooke song, you have to do it justice. When I listened to his vocals, I said to myself, “Okay he’s got it.” I thanked him for keeping my father’s music alive and that Australia was one place on my bucket list to visit.

Artists today can learn so much from the history of Sam Cooke. He was not only an artist, he was an astute businessman and one who valued helping others and treating everyone with respect. He was a genuine, good-hearted person who stepped out on faith in so many areas of the music business when the odds were against him. That faith pushed him to become a legend in a short period of time. 58 years later my father’s music is still going strong, resonating in the hearts of millions around the world. Gary Pinto has definitely contributed to that!



Thurs 4 Aug – Brisbane - Brisbane Powerhouse

Fri 5 Aug – Melbourne - The Palms At Crown

Sat 6 Aug – Newcastle - Lizottes

Fri 2 Sept - Sydney - Sydney Opera House

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