Anytime we get to chat with an artist we are enamored by, it’s a good day! Recently we got to pick the brain of I Used To Be Sam as well as get an exclusive live session, and we couldn’t be more excited to share both of these things with you guys! We are fully convinced you’re about to become full-on I Used To Be Sam stans!
Stream I Used To Be Sam here!
We want to talk about all things EP related! What are you hoping anyone that listens takes from this record? Hey, Honey Pop, thanks for having me! I would love for anyone who listens to this EP to be swept up in the music itself – To get lost and let go, or to find something in it that they can relate to, in the same way I do with the music I love. And If you’re not connected to adoption in any way, then maybe this will slowly start to challenge the narrative you’ve been fed and even open you up to another perspective.
Obviously, this EP is chalked full of extremely personal material, does getting all of these emotions out into words help heal in a way? I’ve felt really vulnerable sharing these songs and lyrics to the public. Most of my life, personally, and as an artist, I hadn’t talked about my experience as a TRA (transracial adoptee). I still feel a lot of shame and that I’m not enough of one thing when it comes to my sense of self, like, I’m a fraud no matter what or who I claim to be. And that might be there forever, but writing this EP has absolutely helped me change that mindset. It has been a cathartic experience and I hope I can continue moving through it all as it comes.
On the same wavelength, with the EP’s contents being so personal, does that make for an easier writing session? Or does the complexity of the emotions make it harder? In some ways, having such consuming emotions can feel like an abundant pool to pull from creatively. My challenge was more in honing in on the one, or finding a more focused voice to write about. I just knew I wanted to prioritise communicating the emotion itself as honestly as possible, which was a different method of songwriting for me.
Which song on the EP have you been most looking forward to sharing with listeners? Ooh, that’s tough. Is it cheating if I say all of them? Each song touches on a different topic or experience I’ve had through this process which feels equally important. I mostly look forward to each listener connecting with at least one of the tracks because it touches something in their own life.
What was it about ‘Gentle’ that was perfect to be the lead single from this EP? ‘Gentle’ was the first song I wrote for this EP. The song really became a vow to myself. I knew this process would be hard. I knew it would make people in my life react a certain way, as well as the public. So this time around, I was going to be gentle, loving, and kind to myself. This time I was going to hold boundaries with others where I hadn’t in the past. It was really more of an emotional choice on how I needed to start this journey, rather than a, “I think this is the right single to drop” decision.
Changing the name you go by when you’re a musician is always a big decision. What was that process like? Do you feel as though this is a whole new beginning? Changing my artist name was a really big decision. It was super scary after I worked on one thing for so long, to suddenly switch gears. To add to that, it definitely wasn’t advised as a business decision. But I was feeling stagnant, and I needed to confront that aspect of myself to keep growing and evolving. So although it was a scary decision, it was also an easy decision.
Why did it feel so important to you to make music that other TRAs could relate to? How would the representation you’re giving to others have helped you when growing up? Everyone deserves to have their feelings validated. A huge aspect of this project is seeing your story and perspective told through art. Getting to write music for adoptees and TRA’s out there who haven’t had music to mirror their experiences is maybe the most meaningful aspect of this whole project for me. Unfortunately, for me, I only had “Little Orphan Annie” the musical, so, it would have made such a difference to my younger self to have had this music to hold on to because adoption can be such a lonely experience.
What has it been like seeing the response so far to songs like ‘Gentle?’ It’s been really beautiful. If what I’m making is resonating with anyone, then I feel super grateful. And hearing back from the TRAs who lent their voices to this project, and how they got emotional listening to each song as it came out, has been really touching. It’s something I’ll definitely take with me.
Is there a particular song off the EP you’re most looking forward to performing live? One that you think was really made for that environment? I think Mountains will be a really fun song to perform live, but I’m honestly really looking forward to playing all the tracks with a full band. If I ever get the chance to perform ‘Seamstress’ with a big choir, I think that would be a really incredible live music experience.
What is next for I Used To Be Sam? What can we expect out of the rest of 2022? I have a new live video that will be coming out in a few weeks that I’m really excited about, and an upcoming collaboration with RedMoon, a beautiful artist from Norway. We both create pretty lush musical worlds in different ways, so I’m really looking forward to combining our sounds and voices.
Even though we didn’t think it was possible, we think we love I Used To Be Sam even more than before we talked to them. We would love to hear from you! What did you think of our chat with I Used To Be Sam? Let us know by commenting down below or by tweeting us @TheHoneyPOP! We are also on Facebook or Instagram!
Check out more of our exclusive interviews here!