Stepping out on your own has always proved to be a difficult task, one that we all encounter as we grow older, but it becomes even more difficult when it involves stepping away from the visionary who helped to launch your career. Sammie also known as the “Prince of R&B” has done just that with the upcoming release of his third studio album, which also becomes his first independent release under his label Empire Entertainment — a feat he has achieved at the age of 21!
Singersroom: How does it feel to be on your third album?
Sammie: It’s a blessing. I think I’ve had time now to kind of find myself. I have a lot of creative control as far as which direction I want to go in and what I want to talk about, how I want to deliver it verbally, vocally and image wise so I’m having a blast putting it together.
Singersroom: With the pressure of your self-titled sophomore album out of the way, did you feel any further pressure when hitting the studio this time out?
Sammie: Going into the studio to me, it ain’t even work, it’s just fun for me to just come in and work and make the material. I think the pressure comes in as far as everything else being in line from the music, to the marketing and the promotion, just everything else. As far as going back in the studio and having fun, getting to sing and be passionate, being creative in the booth that in itself is not pressure; it’s just fun.
Singersroom: Now with this new album are you completely independent?
Sammie: Right now, myself and Malcolm Lee, my manager, we have a company called Empire Entertainment. We’re putting our own funds behind the project, I am no longer with Rowdy or Dallas Austin who I had been with prior to. Right now we’re just mainly independent putting our own money into the situation and that way we have more control over which direction we want to go, also making sure we’re hands on in every aspect there is.
Singersroom: What is your role beyond being an artist with Empire Entertainment?
Sammie: Malcolm is the CEO, but everything that we do, we do collectively. It’s a team effort, not just one person and that’s the thing that we kind of keep going is that Empire is a family. From ideas to signing writers, we’re able to bring in other people as well. So everything is a collective joint-type of decision. I definitely wanted to venture out to entrepreneurship and not just be one dimensional as an artist, but one day owning my own company and one day writing music for other artists as well. Having Empire is kind of that home, that source and that foundation for me to produce that.
Singersroom: As far as Dallas Austin and your relationship with Rowdy Records there was some confusion about you being released from the label. What happened with that?
Sammie: First let me start off saying, it’s no bad blood with Rowdy nor Dallas Austin but things weren’t right, for me to have been gone so long and to come back. I needed to find a home where everything was really focused on me and by any means necessary, we were going to do what we had to do to make that vision come true. You know Dallas is so gifted in so many other areas aside from music that I felt he didn’t have the time nor the energy to really put into me like I felt I should be, so I parted ways. No bad blood, but I just wanted to venture out and expand my horizon, and I commend him for even allowing me to leave because I know of some producers and a couple artists that are stuck in a situation that they aren’t happy in. I just wasn’t happy there, we stuck it out for two or three years and it just wasn’t working for me. I approached him like a man, not even on a business side, more so on personal and uh, he heard me, he understood and I guess he knew that it wasn’t the right place for me to be at that time.
Singersroom: With this new beginning, what should your fans expect from you this time out?
Sammie: It’s the most mature point of my career thus far. I’m twenty-one now, so I can say things that I couldn’t say before. I’m older and everything, it’s just more of me. I think sometimes when you come back to this industry, especially in my scenario people kind of tell you who you are and then they put you in this cubicle and that’s it. But with more freedom to be myself and time to marinate and learn, I think the fans can expect a great album and I think that’s what I’m going to develop and produce every time; an album you can listen to from cut one on out. I’m not just going to give you just two or three singles and that’s it, I’m going to make sure you have a complete album and it’s going to be passionate singing.
I think that what makes me relevant is that I am one of the few artists that still sings. I’m not using auto-tune and everyone is not sounding like a computer generated object but actually some soulful passionate singing. It’s just me being me and growing up. I think the fans are going to enjoy this album because its that stage of finding myself and trying to be that person that I one day hope to be and that man for some female later on in the future that I want to be. It’s been fun and I think they’ve seen different sides of me from when I was twelve to eighteen and to twenty one like I am today. It’s a learning experience for myself and for my fans.
Singersroom: With that being said, what has been the hardest thing you’ve had to deal with or overcome since stepping out on your own?
Sammie: Definitely, this is the story of my life and as far as my career. It’s not about what you’ve done or what you’ve done lately. That’s what I’ve learned in this industry.
You have to always prove yourself, there’s always another level. I had to realize that people aren’t complacent with you just being naturally gifted or you being talented or what you did in the past, it’s about what you’re doing now in today’s society.
Being independent you have to constantly grind and get your buzz out there and keep your buzz and keep your relevance in this industry. I think the toughest thing is to keep people convinced. You have to find ways within yourself to always re-body yourself and be new and to just be fresh to keep people interested.
Singersroom: You are one of the few artists who seem to keep in constant contact with your fans as far as Myspace and Youtube goes. What is the craziest thing a fan has asked or done in response to one of your videos?
Sammie: Some girls will say their crying right now, as they say their listening to me on the Youtube blog and I think that’s a powerful thing and it’s kind of mind boggling too. For some female fan across the nation, wherever she may be to look at you on the computer screen and be excited that you took the time out whether it was to answer her question or to even sing a song that she requested is a beautiful thing. To me I like that, it keeps me doing what I’m doing, to wake up and be encouraged to be better and just to stick around a little longer for my fans.
For all my fans out there I appreciate the love and I’m going to continue to produce and make good music.
Singersroom: What keeps you so grounded and so humble to do these things on a regular basis?
Sammie: I have a strong family, my foundation, my mother and my father they raised me right. They made it known that you can be here today and gone tomorrow so enjoy life, have fun, be respectful and just be humble. I don’t walk around like I’m better than the next man. I’m just blessed to be in the position that I am in to fulfill my dream and to share it with the world.
As far as my team, I don’t have people around me that allow me to do any and everything that Sammie decides to do. So if I get out of line, like I’m not doing this right or said something that’s disrespectful to someone, I got people in my camp to humble me and let me know “don’t do that” or “don’t say that.” I think you gotta keep those people around and if not you’ll lose yourself.
Singersroom: You recently participated in Rick Ross’ “Be Out” Day in Miami, how was that experience?
Sammie: You know I’m from Miami, so it’s always fun just to go back home. And you know Carol City, I lived there for almost four to five years of my childhood so just to see what Ross has done for the community was a good experience plus giving back to the kids.
I think a lot of rappers get a lot of backlash for their lyrical content or for how they degrade women sometimes by calling them out their name, but they don’t get a lot of praises for the good that they do. For Rick Ross to go back to the hood, and literally when I say the hood, it’s the hood. It was right there in the heart of Carol City and kids had a good time. Everybody had food out there, drinks out there, giving away backpacks and paper. With the way the economy is I think everybody can appreciate that. For him to come back and take time out to do it, not for money, not for recognition but for the love of the people means everything.
Singersroom: With Florida artists on the rise like Qwote, Rick Ross, T-Pain, and Jason Derulo should we be on the lookout for let’s say a Sammie and Jason Derulo or Sammie and Rick Ross collaboration in the future ?
Sammie: Definitely, for the first album I did, “From the Bottom To The Top,” I did a record with JT Money who was hot at the time.
I wanna do a record kind of dedicated to Florida, if not Florida, specifically Miami because that’s where I get my drive from and my heart from. I know L.A., New York, and Atlanta are the big meccas for music but finally for once Florida is on the uprise. Like you said with T-Pain, Rick Ross, Flo Rida and you got so many people that have migrated to Miami and their actually getting their shine. So be looking for a Florida collaboration, if not with everybody on one track, just a compilation to put out there for the people and show my appreciation. And I think I’m one of the few R&B acts to make it out of Florida and actually go worldwide with this so I definitely want to see something like that on this project.
Singersroom: Since we talked about T-Pain for a second there, he has been holding a tight grip on the charts with auto-tune technology. How do you feel about auto-tune, do you think it is more of an asset or is it killing true vocal talent ?
Sammie: In my opinion it’s killing it. My influences in this industry go back to Stevie Wonder, it goes back to Marvin Gaye to Al Green, two of which of those artists I didn’t grow up watching, I had to go back and do research and then Usher. Music is suppose to move people, certain notes are supposed to give you a feeling, certain falsetto and bravadoes or when you climax on a bridge is supposed to move people. I feel like this, everybody is using auto tone â it’s cool for T-Pain because I think he brought it back, back in the day I believe Roger Troutman used to do it â he brought it back and that was T-Pain’s sound, cool, but you got so many artists that sound alike because they’re using it. I think it’s more so of a clutch for them to hold onto if they aren’t vocally up to par. So I just feel like it takes away and it kind of throws the consumer off a little bit, because if that’s what they hear than that’s what they feel sounds right. I think more so, it’s not good for the industry to a certain degree but to each his own. It’s up to people like myself. I think Mario is a great vocalist, Tank, Usher to kind of stay away from that and continue to just sing and bring true R&B back and true singing back.
Singersroom: I agree with you there. Have you worked with any particular producers on this album thus far?
Sammie: I’ve worked with Adonis, which me and him have great chemistry. We did two records on my last project and he actually co-wrote “Come With Me,” which was big for me in 06′ and 07′. I’ve worked with Daron Jones of 112. I’ve worked with Tha Cornaboyz, Crown World, we’re still in the works. Kind of going back to some of those people that we had chemistry, like B.Cox (Bryan Michael Cox) is coming up and we’re trying to get in with Nitti and trying to get a record from JD (Jermaine Dupri) this time. I haven’t worked with Jermaine since 2001. As far as producer wise it is going to be a stacked house and I’m looking forward to the album and what their going to come up with next.
Singersroom: Do you have a title for the album?
Sammie: It’s untitled at this point, in it’s early stages, but I’m leaning towards “Coming Of Age.” I just know I want it to kind of coincide with me growing up and becoming a young man.
Singersroom: When should we expect this new album? Your new single “One Way Street” is burning up on Singersroom.
Sammie: If not the end of this year, first quarter of next year, top of 09′. Right now we got the single “One Way Street” that’s picking up. But you know the sooner the better, who knows. But right now we’re looking for fourth quarter if not the first quarter of next year.
Singersroom: Our motto at Singersroom is “I Love R&B”…..Why do you love R&B?
Sammie: It’s the soundtrack to everybody’s life. It’s some album or some artist that every person on this earth listens to and it defines them, and I think that’s a powerful thing in itself
It always made me feel better. Anytime I’m going through a rainy day or situation in my life and things aren’t going as planned, I can just pop in a cd or a record and it just takes me out of the problems that I’m having at that moment. I think it’s the soundtrack to everybody’s life in some shape, form or fashion and it’ll never go away. —— By: Interview By Njai Joszor