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Oklahoma-born Sam Harris left home at age 15, moving from St. Louis to Nashville and finally to Los Angeles, where he attended U.C.L.A. It was in Los Angeles that Harris found fame, becoming the grand champion of television talent show Star Search during its 1984 inaugural season. The attention led to a record deal with Motown and the release of a self-titled debut in late 1984, including songs by Rita Coolidge and Bruce Roberts. Still drawing on the momentum of his Star Search win, Harris saw the record reach gold status in the U.S., climbing to number 35 on the album charts and producing a spunky hit with "Sugar Don't Bite," which equaled the peak position of the album on the Hot 100 singles chart. Sam-I-Am followed in late 1985 and found Harris earning production credits (with some assistance, including Glen Ballard) and writing a bulk of the material. It failed to garner the same interest as his debut, although "I'd Do It All Again" was a mid-chart hit, reaching number 52. The versatile Harris went on to showcase his talents in other areas, earning acclaim for his work on Broadway as well as writing and producing shows, including Down to Earth, which aired for four years on cable television. He would also continue to record, including a set of standards entitled Standard Time in 1997. His work for Motown received compilation treatment with The Best of the Motown Sessions in 1994.