You might remember Atlanta-bred RnB artist, Sammie, as this sweet, innocent young singer with a mini-fro singing about his crushes, but now, the crooner is 30 and singing about his infidelities and the bedroom. After taking two hiatuses from the industry, the singer is back with brand new music and new sounds.
His third album, Coming of Age, is slated for release September 15th and tells the not always perfect story of a man who acknowledges his mistakes in his relationship(s) and his remorse.
With a new album on its way and prepping to tour with Tank for his, “The Savage Tour” in September, Sammie is about ready to show his growth and maturity as a pre-teen sensation to a man with a story filled with life’s hardest lessons to tell the world.
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Sammie: When I got my first deal I was 12-years-young; I was in seventh grade. My mom made it a priority to be able to balance both so what I would typically do is go to school Monday through Wednesday and I would tour the world Thursday through Sunday and of course, I had all summer to do what I wanted to do, but it was instilled in my young to just understand the importance to have a sense of normalcy and not getting wrapped up in the lights, camera, and action. I thank my mom and dad for that because I found significance outside of just being on stage and being musically inclined. I still had friendships from high school that’s very significant and important to my life today so it’s just something that we value. Don’t get wrapped up in stardom because it can be here today and gone tomorrow, but true friendships and love and family is forever so I was raised like that.
RnB: What made you want to begin singing anyways?
Sammie: At four-years-young I sung at this church I was going to, Lake Ida Church of Christ in Delray Beach (Florida). My entire family sings, my mother, my father, my sister. Just the feeling of the applause and touching people always meant something to me so at the age of 8, long story short, I was humming during a test and I got in trouble, had to share with the class, got sent to the office. The principal made me sing in front of her. They called my mom to the school and “said he has a talent. He doesn’t need to go to this school.” They transferred me to Charles Drew elementary in Miami, a magnet school, for the music program. The path just kept going. Rehearsal after rehearsal, choir rehearsal. I joined the band. I just knew that’s what came easy for me and then I wanted to pursue it. I did it at the age of 12.
RnB: What caused your hiatus from the industry?
Sammie: The first hiatus again was to go to school so like I had the number one record, “I Like,” at the age of 12. My debut album “From The Bottom To The Top” came out at 13, then I toured. It was just a lot trying to juggle both, being a normal kid as well as a superstar, so my mom felt it was best to take me out the limelight and if I wanted to go back, I had the freedom to do so after high school. So, I went to high school. I was homecoming king, played basketball two years, and got to live a normal life. It kept me humble. It kept me grounded. It kept me down to earth. It just taught me who I was outside of the entertainment business. But when I graduated, I knew I was going to return to music.
RnB: Do you feel that break from music helped you grow as a person and artist?
Sammie: For sure. It is hard to evolve as a child star to a teenage heartthrob and now here I am, 30-years-young, and be taken seriously. I think that because the world didn’t get to see me for spurts of a time, they had to accept me as I was. They had to accept me as the 19, 18-year-old kid that I was. The same thing now; I wasn’t on a hiatus this time. I just went through a bad departure with an ex-business partner. You hear stories about artists getting taken advantage of and manipulated and losing a lot of money because of certain things I didn’t handle on my business side, so that’s what the delay was this time, but those delays, in hindsight, helped me grow as an artist and it developed me to be the machine I am today.
RnB: Who were some of your influences growing up? It can be musically or just in general.
Sammie: I grew up on Stevie Wonder. I love him. I think he is the most amazing musician of all time. Michael Jackson. R. Kelly. Marvin Gaye. I did research on him. He was like the definition of swag. Also, he had this battle because he grew up in the church so the flesh and the spirit I can relate to that growing up in the church. Usher Raymond. Just to name a few. In my personal life, my mother, and I do everything for my dad and my sister but it’s like, my household, my immediate family is who I aspire to please and get that nod of approval from.
RnB: You just released latest single, “Bad Gal,” which gives us those dancehall vibes This is a different sound that we’re used to. What’s the concept behind this song and its afro-beats sound?
Sammie: It’s like a setup record. We put that out on the 28th of last month and it was just summertime, being that my album is coming out September 15th, I wanted to release a record that made the world dance and I knew I could get the viral campaign and #badgal challenge, like women creating all types of choreography and just having fun. That’s what’s music is all about and I knew it was something different too that I needed to show that I embodied as well. The next two singles we’re dropping Friday along with the pre-order of the album, are very Sammie oriented records; heartfelt records, ballads where I am showcasing my vocal ability.
RnB: How would you say your Coming of Age album is different from the project you put out last year?
Sammie: I’m Him was just an ep. It was an appetizer. You can’t really tell a whole story in six songs. This has 13 records. I have Rick Ross on the album. I have Eric Bellinger on the album. I have the time now allotted to really let them into my life. I’m Him took a life of its own. Theshaderoom took that post off Instagram and went viral. It had like 3 million views in one day. It kind of was like common sense to go in the studio and make that the official record and I kind of structured the records, “Impatient,” “The Wait,” and “I Want You,” better to sonically be cohesive to I’m Him. Coming of Age is something I knew I always had to get out. It’s an honest, open book about some of my shortcomings in relationships, some of my relationships that were amazing, my infidelities, my remorse for doing things and falling short. It’s real transparent so you didn’t get to get that deep into me with I’m Him, but you get all of me in Coming of Age.
RnB: So speaking of relationships, what would you say would be your ideal place to take a young lady on a date?
Sammie: Of course dinner. I like to do things where I actually get to converse and get to know her. So I would like to do dinner and drinks, if she is into that. I’m competitive, but I like to have fun and be silly, so bowling, pool, or anything we can get to show our personalities, I’m with. I try to stay away from movies on the first date because you gotta be quiet and enjoy the film so you don’t get to vibe. So anything where I can get to converse and exchange energies and vibe, that’s what I’m about.
RnB: For your potential girlfriend, or if you have one now, how would you assure her trust with you? I know musicians and athletes have this reputation of being unfaithful.
Sammie: Well I mean first of all, let me just admit. I admit in my music. I am guilty of infidelity, you know what I’m saying? Temptation is every day for all of us. Not just men, but women too. I’m sure every day a guy tries to talk to you. It’s up to you to be committed every day. It just comes with actually maturity level. I’m 30 now. I’ve done some amazing things in relationships and I’ve done some dumb things in relationships so it’s just a mindset. I’m not on trying to have every girl no more. I’m more so if I stumble upon a great woman and she understands my lifestyle in a sense of even though I am loyal, I belong to the people in a sense. I have to keep my fans happy. I have to stay in tune with them. I need her to be understanding of that. Even like making plans is tricky. I might be free Friday, but if I get a call to L.A. or New York then I got to catch the flight to L.A. or New York and I need her to be understanding of that also. But I think communication is key and actions speak louder than words. It’s one thing to say I’m being loyal, but it’s another thing to showcase this. Whatever you have to do to secure your woman, you take those necessary steps to do so.
RnB: So you’re releasing two new singles, Friday, August 18th?
Sammie: Yeah, this Friday, August 18th, along with the pre-order of the album.
RnB: And the album is due…?
Sammie: September 15th.
RnB: I know you mentioned this album has like Rick Ross and Eric Bellinger. Are there any other familiar names like producers?
Sammie: Yeah, I worked with my mentor, he’s like my industry dad, Troy Taylor. I worked with The StarCamp Family, Dohboy, kC1ty, Kangstunna, Composer, Major 88 Keys, Sean Marshall. I worked with people I’ve grown with other the years that I didn’t get just good songs from, but great records from and that were truly and emotionally invested in quote on quote the comeback album of my career. That’s when you get the best music; when you work with people that actually are invested, not just for a check and not just to get a placement, but they actually want to see you win, so I’m happy with everybody that worked with me on the album. It’s a beautiful project. 13 records top to bottom and it just takes you on an emotional rollercoaster.
RnB: What are your aspirations for next year and five years from now?
Sammie: A goal of mine this year is to be nominated for a Grammy. That’s really what I set out to do. That’s what I created the album for; not just to sell records and to touch people, but also to be in that elite caliber of excellence. Five years from now I’ll be 35, prayerfully with a family of some sort and married with some children, running my company, still doing music, of course, at an elite level. One of my ultimate dreams is to sign a mini-me and coach him and groom him and write music for him and guide him the right way and try to help him avoid some of the bumps and bruises that I had to learn the hard way, you know? That would be actually a dream come true. That’s the ultimate goal is just to give somebody the platform that I’ve been blessed with all my life; to get my art and my creative space out there to the world.
RnB: One last question. Have you ever considered movies or TV?
Sammie: Yeah. I’ve got that question a lot this week being in L.A. I respect the craft so much that I would definitely want to take acting classes and really, really, really master that. I don’t want to be in a film just because I’m Sammie or I have this cool personality and they can’t convey that in the character I’m trying to play, but I definitely don’t want to be one-dimensional either. Music is the gateway to open up other avenues and acting is one of them.
Interviewed By: Simone Grant
Photos By: Sterling Photography