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Sam The Woo is a rising local singer and musician making her way into the indie pop/funk scene. After moving to NYC from California to attend Pace University, Sam dropped out with only one semester to go, which she discussed during our interview, and took the opportunity to follow her dreams and dive head first into creating music. Having just dropped her sophomore single “SKINSUIT”, Sam describes it as “bright, soul-based and expands as the song progresses”.

Read below to get to know Sam The Woo, hear advice, and a sneak peek at what's next to come!

What was your inspiration for your new single “SKINSUIT”?

I made up the word Skinsuit to label that artificial version of myself I carried around my whole adolescence. I never fit into the “it’s cool not to care” mentality because I’m such a passion project kind of person. But for a long time, I tried to (unsuccessfully) be cool. Skinsuit is a story of basically giving myself therapy - validating that there is a false persona I’m putting on, and then saying out loud “I want me back”. That line feels really powerful to me, speaking a change into existence.

How would you describe your sound?

My upcoming EP is overall very textured and genre-blending. I love the idea of a sonic universe: making a world that transports you like a fantasy novel. SKINSUIT is the most carefree-sounding track on the EP. It’s bright, soul-based, and expands as the song progresses. That’s another theme in my music, expansion as a product of storytelling. I come from the world of musical theater and listened to a lot of older country music as a kid, both of which base their songs on stories. So I guess it makes sense that I like my music to feel like an odyssey.

What sets you apart from other artists working their way up in the industry?

My musical “mission statement” is that I want to make music that truly sounds original and is experimental while still being comprehensible. As a result, my music is very genre-blending and unique. As more of my discography gets released you’ll hopefully see that “my sound” isn’t directly comparable to anyone else, while it does have moments of clear inspiration. SKINSUIT is actually the most “genre-aligned” track I have right now sitting comfortably in soul pop with influences from Lawrence and Sammy Rae. I’m also uniquely dedicated to creating the visual worlds for my music and really being involved at every stage. Historically I would have said being a female music producer, but the lovely thing is there are so many amazing female music producers making music right now, especially since the pandemic.

What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

I left college with one semester to go this year, and I think the advice people gave me in making that decision had such a huge impact on me. My dad, for example, who is a very accomplished academic, said to me “Don’t feel guilty about following your dreams, this is your life.” That still makes me emotional because that statement made me realize how guilty I felt for stepping off the traditional path. And it let me realize I didn’t have good enough justification for my guilt to hold onto it.

What artists do you look up to?

Everyone who knows me knows this: Remi Wolf. She is just so chaotic and good in her music, and on stage, she is absolutely feral. She’s not looking to be beautiful or refined, she’s being so authentic. It’s really inspirational as a female artist and someone who wants to build an electric live show. Other artists I love are Cody Fry (his orchestral approach!!) as well as Laufey, Sammy Rae, Lawrence, Billie Eilish, Norah Jones, and Earth Wind and Fire.

What is your process when creating music?

Usually, the lyrics come first because I have been into poetry far longer than I have been writing songs. Then the melody and then usually a bassline. Then I try to find the world around it…where is its sonic center? Does this sound add focus to that center or distract from it? Rinse and repeat.

Do you play any instruments?

I play many instruments at a passable level because as a producer I like understanding how the instruments practically function. That’s why I had my dad teach me drums. I knew it would improve my composing skills to know the mechanics of what a drummer is doing. I also play guitar, drums, uke, piano, and silver flute!

What is something people may not know about you?

I went to a technology-free Waldorf school for 5 years and didn’t use any devices at home during that time either.

When did you begin singing/creating music?

Music was already on in my house growing up, but outside of a couple theater camps, I didn’t sing a solo until my 8th-grade graduation. I didn’t start writing songs until the end of high school, and even then it was a slow start. I’d write a couple things and leave them for months and then circle back. Over time they became more and more complex and then I got Logic and now we’re here.

Besides the release of your new song, do you have anything else exciting in the works?

My friend Patrick and I are making a stop-motion music video for the next song and it’s been both challenging and fun to work in a medium that I know almost nothing about. I love learning new things even if I don’t master them. And I think that love is reflected in my dedication to the world of my songs. I want to be really involved in making the visuals and thinking about the details of what it takes to make this world.

Sam The Woo’s “SKINSUIT” music video drops on 6/28, so be sure to check it out and stream “SKINSUIT” now! You can stay updated with Sam’s social media with the link below so you know when another song drops.

Written by Grace Bugin

Photography by Domenick Fini

Styling and CD by Ka'enaaloha Watson

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