An Interview with Samsara
Samsara’s life has seen her move from one country to another. When she was eleven, her parents moved from England, where she was born, to Ireland. Aged twenty, she was on the move again: this time to Chicago, in the United States.
‘When I was twenty, I moved to Chicago in the US with a backpack and two hundred dollars. Since then, I lived in Florida for ten years and I've been in the Washington DC area for the last eleven years.’
She started out as a jazz singer, did backing vocals and then walked away from music for a while, she says.
The last six years have been busy musically, with this year seeing her release most of her music.
When it comes to what good music is, she says she likes music that tell stories.
The singer, who’s forever writing new song, says that she’s finishing up an EP that will be released this week. That’s not the only stuff she’s working on: she has an LP that has song she’s done over the last few years.
In terms of her philosophy or approach to music, she says she doesn’t worry about worry about the audience. She’s worried about making music that pleases her.
L. SOJINI: Can you tell us about yourself? Where you’re from and what kind of musician you are.
SAMSARA: I was born in London, England. When I was eleven, my parents moved us to Ireland. When I was twenty, I moved to Chicago in the US with a backpack and two hundred dollars. Since then, I lived in Florida for ten years and I've been in the Washington DC area for the last eleven years.
I started out as a jazz singer. Then, I toured as a backing vocalist for a few years. I left the road and walked away from music for a while. But, I always went back to cover bands, wedding bands, etc. Over the past six years, I've written a great deal of my own music and I decided this year to release them. They range from pop, dance, rock, blues, jazz and even some Disney-esque sounds.
L. SOJINI: How did you get into music?
SAMSARA: My mother said I was singing before I could talk. I started writing songs when I was five. They weren't very good, but I just couldn't stop. I got into music theatre at school and was in my first cover band at fifteen.
L. SOJINI: What do you think makes good music?
SAMSARA: Music that evokes emotions in the listener. I need to feel the music I listen to. If there's a vocalist, I want to hear the raw emotion in his or her voice more than I want to hear perfect technical range or the stratospheric high note. I like music that tells a story.
L. SOJINI: What are your strengths and weaknesses as a musician?
SAMSARA: I'm an emotional singer and I've often been told that can be heard in my voice and the way I convey a song. I try to tell a story for those listening. As a songwriter, I do the same. I believe the bridge is the climax of the song and by the time I get there, the listener should really feel the song in their soul.
L. SOJINI: What are you currently working on?
SAMSARA: I'm finishing up an EP of six songs that will be released next week. It tells the complete arc of a love story that didn't work out. Some of the songs sound dreamy and Disney-esque.
There's a reggae island vibe in one. And then, a country blues song, and an acoustic guitar track with a country vibe. I'm also working on an LP of other songs written over the past several years.
And I'm working on an NFT project that will combine my art and my music, with a portion of the proceeds donated to a cat shelter – I'm passionate about saving cats. I'm creating some songs for a nonprofit in Australia and I'm adding vocals to a couple of songs written by other artists. I can't seem to stop writing new songs as I'm so inspired this year. So, there will be more projects. In other words, I'm busy.
L. SOJINI: How do you approach music? As in, what’s your philosophy when it comes to making music?
SAMSARA: To be as authentic as humanly possible and communicate what's going on with my feelings. I think everyone has similar feelings and someone will relate. I don't think about how the audience will receive it. I write what I feel from my heart.
L. SOJINI: What are you most proud of to have achieved as a musician?
SAMSARA: This year, I wrote, recorded vocals for, played keys on, produced other musicians and wrote my first song. I've done several others since then. These are new skills I've learned and I'm so proud that I was able to do them. I've also recorded the vocal takes in one sitting so they're essentially ‘live’. I'm very proud of that.
L. SOJINI: How do you promote your music?
SAMSARA: I probably don't promote as well as I should because I don't have enough time. I try to promote on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
L. SOJINI: Favourite musician? Why?
SAMSARA: Steve Perry, former lead singer of Journey. The emotion he conveys in every song is second to none. His incredible voice, combined with his diction and music sensibility gets right through to my heart.
L. SOJINI: What’s your advice or message to fellow musicians?
SAMSARA: Be who you are. Work hard. If you're a singer, sing every single day. Listen to yourself all the time and work on what you like and don't like. If you play an instrument, play it every single day. Never give up.
- L. Sojini
August 1, 2022