Samuel Hankins was born into a musical family. His maternal grandmother played the piano and was a tremendous gospel singer. His father played harmonica and vocals in various R & B bands. His brother plays the piano, majors in voice and teaches elementary school music. So it was inevitable that Sam's musical education would begin at an early age. Encouraged by his father, Samuel Hankins Sr., young "Hank" began with the guitar. In middle school he switched to the trumpet. Again, encouraged by his father, Sam began playing in churches, professional bands and orchestras.
As a trumpet player, Sam has performed and recorded with many bands: such as Glenn Miller big band, Clark Terry, circus bands, funk bands, on cruise ships, combos, and commercial recording sessions. He has performed with pop artist groups such as The O'Jays, Aretha Franklin, Al Jarreau, The Temptations, The Impressions, and The Dells.