As a child, Sam studied classical voice, cello, and flute, but by his teens, his new love was hip hop. Using turntables and an extensive record collection, Sam would combine his knowledge of different genres to create his own sound.
In addition to creating his own material, Spiegel has worked with prominent artists such as Ben Lee, Maroon 5, Del tha Funkee Homosapien, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. He has also scored commercials for companies including Converse, Levi's, Reebok, ESPN, T Mobile, Jose Cuervo, and Saturn, and his production company scored the video game Skate 2. Though he attempts to create music free of record label restraints, Spiegel also licenses his songs whenever possible so as to maximize exposure for his work.
Spiegel is brother of film director Spike Jonze. They collaborated on the Adidas TV commercial Hello Tomorrow, for which Sam Spiegel created the score sung by Jonze's then-girlfriend Karen O. The titular song briefly reached #1 on the iTunes singles chart and gained Spiegel substantial recognition.
Currently, he is working with Brazilian DJ Zegon under the name N.A.S.A. (North America/South America). Their debut album, The Spirit of Apollo, features a wide variety of artists, including Kanye West, Karen O and Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Lykke Li, Sean Lennon, John Frusciante of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Waits, Nina Persson of The Cardigans, George Clinton, David Byrne, Cee-Lo Green, Seu Jorge, M.I.A., and RZA, Method Man, Ghostface Killah, and Ol' Dirty Bastard of Wu-Tang Clan. Such collaborations earned Spiegel the title "Hot Star Magnet" on Rolling Stone's annual "Hot List" in 2008. The album was "a conscious effort by NASA to show how people can be brought together by music and art."
The Spirit of Apollo took over five years to create, and some songs required N.A.S.A. to wait up to three years for collaborators' schedules to match. It was finally released on February 17, 2009, and received generally favorable reviews. N.A.S.A.'s music will appear in the upcoming video game DJ Hero.