Samia is every indie music lover’s dream.
Releasing her debut album, The Baby, in 2020, Samia immediately made a name for herself within the music industry, with tracks like “Big Wheel” and “Triptych” exemplifying Samia’s vocal talent, songwriting capabilities, and unique storytelling. Since her grand introduction, she has continued to showcase phenomenal lyricism, vulnerability, and a clear love of music with every new release.
This year, Samia has been nothing short of busy and hardworking. After dropping her sophomore album, Honey, at the end of January, Samia jumped into a headlining tour just a week later. She’s performed 22 shows since the release of her latest album, and many more are still to come as she finishes up the last third of her tour starting on April 13 in Charleston, SC.
Pop Crave spoke with Samia after her show at the Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix, AZ, to learn more about her new album, Honey, and how her ongoing tour has been treating her so far. Keep reading for the full interview + exclusive photos from Samia’s show in Phoenix!
Hi Samia! First of all, congratulations on your ongoing tour and the release of your latest album, Honey. How would you say 2023’s been treating you so far?
It’s been good! It’s been really overwhelming. Some of the best moments of my life and the craziest times. The release was really a lot for me, and then we went on tour a week later. It’s just been truly, actually, a whirlwind. I’ve been getting a little break and I’ve just been writing, so that’s good!
Honey released less than two months ago, but it’s already received so much love from your fans. What has the reception to the record been like for you?
It’s been good! It’s been good, it’s been really overwhelming, and it’s more people than I am used to that are responding to it. That was something to grapple with. I learned to get off my phone which is good [laughs]. Seeing the people in the crowds singing songs that were released just a couple weeks earlier was one of the most special experiences, I feel like.
As someone who just released an album and who’s also currently touring, I wanted to ask which is more difficult for you: ordering an album’s track list or ordering a tour’s setlist?
Oh… Oh my gosh. That’s such a good question. Ordering an album’s track list is harder because it’s so permanent, but ordering a setlist is an artform, especially with my music because you have to not put people to sleep [laughs]. There really aren’t that many ways not to do that, so yeah. It’s definitely kind of an art.
There’s so many songs I could talk to you about, but I want to start off with “Sea Lions.” It’s such a cool track! I know you only wrote it in 15 minutes, which is insane. Could you describe the process of writing that song?
I had spent so long writing this other song called “Pink Balloon” that is sort of the same story, and so that one came really quickly because I was trying not to be bitter and angry on “Pink Balloon,” and I sort of just let myself be more subjective on “Sea Lions.” It came out really fast, and then I sent it to Caleb [Wright] who had produced the record. He made it sound like running off a feeling which I think made the song infinitely more special to me.
What inspired the ending of “Sea Lions” with those computer generated words?
So, we had that beat and that part was done, and I thought it needed a sermon. We couldn’t find a sermon that felt right, so [Caleb] found this sample which is just a guy learning English by doing a word association game. The original is 25 minutes long, so we had to really whittle it down. There’s something really spiritual and meditative about it to me for some reason. There’s a lot of overlap with the sentiment of the song.
“Honey” is also one of my favorites. It’s such a great single off the project. What inspired you to name the album off of that track?
That song in particular is about the feeling of drunkenness and the euphoric, ephemeral nature of that. I wanted the album to be a quest to find that in my day-to-day life more permanently, and how you can do that without just being drunk all the time. Sort of exploring how to achieve that feeling in different facets of my life, how I’ve achieved it, and it’s also just a really slow sort of feeling. Also, honey never expires, and I thought that was really cool [laughs].
Do you have a favorite song of your own from Honey?
“Dream Song” is my favorite, I think. It’s the thesis of the whole record to me.
Is that also the song that’s your favorite to perform live on tour, or do you have a different song that’s your favorite to perform live?
I think either “Sea Lions” or “Is There Something in the Movies?” is my favorite to play.
You’ve been on this current tour for quite a while now, since February 6 in Asheville, NC. What’s your favorite memory from touring so far that comes to mind as a moment you’ll never forget?
Oh my God, that’s a good question. We got to play in Minneapolis, and I made a lot of this record with people from Minneapolis. They all got to be on stage. My friend Caleb, who produced it, got to come on stage and sing “Honey.” It was a really emotional experience for both of us, because that song sort of carried us through this time. The collaboration on that song was pretty representative of the record, so that was pretty triumphant. And then every time I get to play New York, it’s crazy because I remember playing there for 10 people [laughs].
For the entire tour so far, Tommy Lefroy have been one of your openers. How fun was it getting to hang out with them for the past month and a half, and what’s something you were able to learn about them while on tour?
They are so driven and so smart, and I’m always hovering around their greenroom trying to hang out with them [laughs]. They’re the coolest people, and I love their music. I felt really honored to be part of their first North American touring experience, because they both got stuck on the other side of the world during the pandemic, but they’re from North America. It was really special to see them get to do this for friends and family. It’s just an honor to be there at this point in their career.
Now, I want to make a slight detour and just say that you are such an amazing songwriter! Like, your lyrics are just incredible. Who were some of your musical inspirations growing up that you’d say inspired your style of songwriting?
The first band I got really, really into was Nirvana. At that time, I really loved Elliott Smith, Daniel Johnston, and The National. As I got older, I was really into Angel Olsen, Father John Misty, and Sky Ferreira. I think those are honestly the most formative influences, and Brittany Howard too. I love her.
I love Brittany Howard! Her solo work needs more appreciation.
Her solo album is one of my favorite records ever. It’s so good.
One of my all-time favorite songs is “Is There Something in the Movies?” Seeing that performed live literally slayed me. It’s one of those songs that always gets me so emotional. As a more fun question in relation to this, what’s the last song you listened to that made you cry?
Oh, shit! That’s good. Hold on, I have to look… I think it was probably yesterday… Oh, okay! The last song that made me cry-cry, do you know RAYE? The My 21st Century Blues album, that song “Ice Cream Man,” I listened to it on a plane casually and sobbed. She’s so amazing! I love that whole record too.
Final question! What can Samia fans expect to see from you for the rest of 2023?
I really wanna make another record for some reason, so I’m doing that. I’m trying really hard to get that together this year, and then we’re just touring as much as we can on this one. We’ll hopefully get to hit as many cities as possible for this record. Definitely new music this year for sure.
Samia’s new album, Honey, is out now.
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