Samia Flaunts a Marked Evolution on 'Scout' [Q&A]
Like the majority of us, Samia's pretty over 2020. One spring day, we were all living our lives until everything was brought to a halt. Jobs were paused, nightlife was turned off, social distancing was enforced, and songwriters lost inspiration. I mean, how much can one write about staying in on a Friday night and binging Tiger King? Because difficult times were so omnipresent, it was especially exciting when good news came around. Scout is one such piece of good news - a demonstration of how Samia used this time of uncertainty to search out positivity in unlikely places and show gratitude to her loved ones, peers, and themselves.
Scout is comprised of four songs that were written by Samia during a "period of growth and reflection," showcasing "a less desperate" version of her debut album, The Baby. If her intimate lyrics weren't enough, you will be blown away by her powerful vocals that will simultaneously bring both tears to your eyes and a smile to your face.
In the first single, "Show Up," Samia's lyrics can be taken quite literally. She reminisces on pastimes with friends and family and sings, "Nothing could ever stop my ass from showing up / to sing another song for the people I love." This upbeat indie-rock single gives you a sneak peek into Samia's mind. In the official music video, we see Samia rocking her wired headphones while dancing, like no one’s watching, behind a flashing montage of her with her loved ones.
We had the pleasure of sitting down (virtually) with Samia to discuss her new EP, how she spent this past year, some insightful life advice, and what to expect from live shows.
Ones To Watch: For those who may not know, who is Samia?
Samia: Pathetic enneagram type 2, loves to dance, very excited about bodies of water, learning to coexist with bugs.
Being a New York native, how has the environment affected your music?
I got a lot of experience almost immediately when I moved to New York. There were so many opportunities to perform and learn from other songwriters. That community taught me everything and scared me into some level of confidence.
You stated that your new EP Scout is the older sister version of your debut, The Baby. What has changed from this EP compared to your debut and what messages do you want your listeners to take away from this new chapter?
I wrote Scout during a real period of growth and reflection. It's definitely less desperate than The Baby because there was so much turmoil all around us last year that it felt senseless to dramatize my own pain. I was working on/thinking a lot about gratitude and trying to believe in positive ideas. I hope Scout can help support anyone who's in a similar position.
Why did you choose "Show Up" as the first single?
It's the most fun!!
What does your writing process look like and how did it differ during quarantine?
Songs came slowly last year. The songs on the EP are pretty much the only ones I wrote during 2020. It just felt like so much was happening immediately and no one had time to make sense of our reactions to it all, so I had to write differently. I generally write about my own experience and most often in periods of transition, so I had to work a little harder being stuck in the same place for so long.
Is there a piece of advice that has stuck with you?
My favorite quote/mantra is something Jim Carrey said in Jim & Andy. I used to get so nervous on stage about what people would think of me, but it was so liberating to start considering that being up there was my greatest opportunity to have a positive effect on someone else's life. He said, "The purpose of my life has always been to free other people from concern." If you appear to be accepting yourself at that moment, you're liberating your audience and encouraging them to enjoy their time and accept whatever they're feeling.
Are there any artists (or people in general) that have inspired your unique sound?
Angel Olsen, Father John Misty, Okay Kaya, Liz Phair, Wilco, Elliott Smith, Nirvana, Brittany Howard, my friends!
What was the funniest or craziest fan interaction you've encountered?
Someone came up to me the other day and just lifted up their sleeve to reveal the most beautiful triptych tattoo of vignettes from the whole album. It was so cool.
I see that you have acted in the past. Have you taken what you've learned from acting and incorporated it into your music?
The best thing I learned from acting was using sense memory exercises. It really helps bring me back to the feeling when I'm performing the same songs over and over again.
I love that you covered "The Promise" by When In Rome... is there a backstory on how you landed on that song?
It's one of my favorite songs and I've always loved playing it for myself on piano, but I thought it would be funny to try and keep it as close to the original as possible. Selfishly, I also just wanted to hear Jelani sing it because I'm such a big fan.
You have a busy touring season coming up, how excited are you to get on the road after a year without live music? What can your fans expect from your live performances?
I'm so excited!!! I'm just so happy to be playing these songs for the first time and seeing faces! It's gonna be fun!
Who are your Ones to Watch?
Gabe Goodman, Charlie Hickey, Jelani Aryeh, Jackie Hayes, Grace Ives, Rachael Jenkins, Annie DiRusso, and Miloe :)
Listen to Scout below: