INTERVIEW: Rising star Samia "I'm just trying to be as honest as possible"
Brooklyn based singer-songwriter Samia first appeared on the music scene in 2017 with her debut single ‘Welcome To Eden’, drawing comparisons with Amy Winehouse, Patti Smith and Liz Phair with her eclectic mix of rock, blues, folk and pop with sharp, smart lyrics. Her career took off after her second single ‘Someone Tell The Boys’, a powerful feminist anthem (“Someone tell the boys they're not important anymore”) was included on the Badass Women playlist on Spotify, helping the song to over 450,000 streams with Samia gaining close to 10,000 followers. She recently released the gorgeous single ‘Ode To Artifice’, which was accompanied by a compelling video telling the story of an anxious teenager at her school prom, featuring an appearance by award-winning actress Mary-Louise Parker. Samia has just announced her first EP, also called Ode To Artifice will be released on August 2 and we recently caught with her to find out more about her music.
Hi Samia! So good to chat with you, how is everything in the world of Samia?
Everything’s going pretty well over here! Rain is giving me an excuse to listen to the new Faye Webster record and sit in bed all day.
What music did you grow up listening to?
At first it was a constant rotation of Sondheim and Alanis [Morrissette] and Jonas Brothers, probably until I heard ‘Needle in the Hay’ in The Royal Tenenbaums one sad 13-year-old summer and started listening to Elliot Smith. Then I became obsessed with Nirvana at band camp and haven’t looked back.
Was there a particular point when you decided you wanted to make music your career?
I’ve only ever wanted to perform! I spent most of my weekends as a kid singing for my parents’ friends in the living room. Couldn’t have really imagined doing anything else.
How did you get from dreaming about a music career to where you are today?
I played out a lot! Started going to every open mic night I could find and singing in as many bands as possible. Met so many people in the band circuit in college and we grew together in our little pocket of “scene”. My life really changed when Grand Jury reached out and we started working together; I’m so lucky to have been in good hands from the start.
Your new single ‘Ode To Artifice’ is a brilliant track, what was your inspiration for this track?
My friend Kit was sitting on that chord progression and I freaked out when I heard it because I’d been listening to so much Wanda Jackson and The Supremes. We wanted to write a fictional narrative in which my everyday self is desperately in love with and pursuing my stage persona.
It is accompanied by a fantastic video, what was it like to shoot?
It was so much fun! Nick D’agostino is an incredibly patient and clever director. Still can’t believe we convinced all our friends to let me paint their faces and gyrate on each other in a sweaty bar all day.
Is there a particular message or theme you like to get across with your music?
I’m really just trying to be as honest as possible! I realise there’s a really potent feminist theme and that’s not necessarily intentional but seems to be what naturally comes out of me.
Your breakthrough moment was probably when your song ‘Someone Tell the Boys’ was added to the Badass Women Spotify playlist. What was it like to gain a whole new audience for your music like that?
That song feels like an outlier compared to the rest of my body of work, and I’m really grateful that so many fans of ‘Someone Tell the Boys’ are still listening to my music despite its variability. I’ll never forget the day I found out I was on that playlist - it came before any knowledge of the politics/algorithmic dependence of the music industry and was just purely exciting.
You have released a number of singles and your debut EP will be out on August 2 - can we expect a full-length album from you?
Yes! Early next year, I hope!
What is up next for Samia?
I’m playing a few festivals this summer and a show in LA at Bootleg on June 26 with Charlie Hickey!