Sammie, the R&B artist behind hits like “I Like It,” “You Should Be My Girl,” and “Come With Me,” is at a turning point in his illustrious career where he identifies it as “Coming of Age.” To get to this point, he had to overcome a severe career setback, which saw he broke and without the rights to his brand. Now, it a great place musically, mentally, and spiritually, the Miami-born, Atlanta-based singer/songwriter is doing his part to push R&B back into the limelight. Singersroom recently chatted with Sammie about his new project, ‘Coming of Age,’ being independent, touring with Tank, working with Rick Ross, artists that stop being humble after money, and more. Check it out!
I know hurricane Irma just hit Florida, Is your family OK?
Yeah, my Mom is doing well, my Pops is doing well, my siblings are good — They weathered the storm.
You’ve been doing this independent thing for a while now: Aside from controlling your creative path, how does it continue to be a better move than being on a major label?
I’ve been in the business for a long time, so I’m very attentive to what my fans want from me and what they don’t want from me. I know my strengths, I know my weaknesses, so I’m able to maximize, my strength and suppress my weaknesses my surrounding myself with a camp of individuals that are far more gifted in different realms than I am. It’s hard to really stray away from the creative control part because that’s the best part about being independent. It’s not just creative sonically; it’s also about who you decide to align yourself with. I think that’s key; I learned a long time ago that I can’t do it by myself. I need a conglomerate of people that are passionate and just as efficient in executing the vision that I am about myself. This new stride of success that I’ve reached is because of my team, not just myself. That’s what I really like; I get to choose who to work with. I make it more of a family-oriented ordeal oppose to just business. I think when everyone is passionate around you, it shows.
You’ve always been a God-fearing person, does that play a huge role in keeping you motivated as an artist?
Oh for sure! If you follow me on social media, you’ll see that I have no problem expressing my faith in God. I’m very intact with my spiritual realm. I don’t care how much money or how much things you have; there’s another source you need to pray to. We all have our ups and downs and our bumps and bruises; I’ve had a plethora, but I’ve always been able to bounce back because of my spiritual alliance with God. He shows up, and he shows out for me time and time again.
I get frustrated with the music industry, so I can only imagine how you feel at times as an artist. How do you deal with the ups and downs of this fickle industry?
I think it’s understanding that your current situation doesn’t last always. A lot of things are just temporary. I remember in 2009 when I lost everything, I got to talk to my idle Usher, and I told him my situation. He gave me advice at the time; he said, “The journey is the destination.” At that time, I didn’t really understand the quote, but now, 7-8 years later, I know that you just gotta keep going, keep pressing forward, and you’ll run into your blessing. The key is to remain faithful to your craft, to the ones that love you and support you, and I think believing in karma too is essential. I never became bitter from what I went through; I never stole from anybody because people stole from me. I never bad mouthed anybody even though people threw dirt on my name; I always stayed my humble King like self. That energy is contagious, and it starts to bring in the right people and the right spirits in your life and in your career. Just keeping a positive mindset, even through the hard times.
Aside from the industry, you’ve had some struggles in your career, including money issues, any regrets or did it make you a smarter individual?
Absolutely not! Had my ex-manager not have taken everything from me and strip me of my brand, my creativity, and my freedom, I wouldn’t appreciate everything that’s happening for me right now where that I am. I’m actually enjoying the process; I’m on tour. Everything means so much more to me now. Seven years ago I didn’t know if I actually would be here, so I’m thankful that I went through that hard time because it made me a better person, it made me more business oriented, and it made me a machine creatively. I had to become self-sufficient because I didn’t have a deal, I didn’t have management, I didn’t have a system, I didn’t have producers and writers to facilitate hit records. I was forced to write everything by myself, learn how to vocal arrange by myself, learn how to sequence a project; these are things that I wasn’t doing before because I always had a system. Now, I feel like nothing can rattle me because I’ve overcome the tough times since 2009.
I’ve been in this business for a long time, and I’ve seen a lot of artists come and go. Some of the artists that made it big started off humble and ended up being completely different people. Do you think the industry and the people around them are the ones that change these artists or do you think that’s their true identity coming to light?
It’s a concoction of both, but I don’t like to point fingers at any anybody so that I would say you gotta look at yourself. If you’re a charitable person, and you start to get riches, you’ll give more. If you’re an asshole and you get some type of power or clout, you’ll be a bigger asshole because it was always in you. So, I always like to look at self; I don’t like to blame the entourage for when people change after success. Money allows you to magnify who you already were internally; you just didn’t have the accolades or the dollar amount in your account to let that out fully. So, you had to wait until you got to the top to show that side of you. Again, I don’t believe in excuses.
I always wanted to work with Rick Ross because he stayed like 20 minutes from me in Atlanta. I’m from Miami, so it always made sense. I have a great deal of respect for him; he took nothing and made an empire, and that’s something that’s admirable. As far as the record goes, my manager reached out to his people, we connected and I went to his mansion, and I approached Rick Ross personally and got to talking. He gave me really like a love favor instead of it just being business. He told me he was happy to be apart of the project, especially since I was from Miami. It went from just being a feature on the album to him wanting to know when it’s time to shoot the visual too. I have nothing but love for him for doing that for me.
We’re happy life is good, so tell us about some of the amazing things happening in your life as of late (personal and professional).
I’m in the greatest place I’ve been in since 2009. Financially, spiritually, mentally, I’m happy… I’m on tour with Tank, city to city, night after night, and the love has been crazy. I couldn’t ask for a better alignment in timing. It’s just my season, and I’m just really enjoying each and every moment of it.
So, how has it been touring with Tank?
Tank is a big brother to me, and I don’t use that term loosely. I’ve known Tank for quite some time, and I had the pleasure of writing “Next Breath” for him back in 2012. It was No. 1 urban AC, so that’s how our business relationship started. But, he would always reach out, and about three years ago, he told me anything you ever need from me just reach out. He said, “I believe you’re one of the most talented R&B sensations in the business,” and that really meant a lot to me because he’s one of my idols. When it came down for him to go on tour, he reached out and said I want you on the road with me. The timing made perfect sense because of when my album came out, and his comes on on Sept 29th. He’s like an older me, and he’s said that he looks at me a sees a younger version of himself.
So, why drop a project now in your career called ‘Coming of Age’?
“The world has seen me grow up, but not in its entirety. From the ages of 12-14, that’s when I did “I Like It,” “Crazy Things I Do,” “From The Bottom To The Top,” “Hardball,” but then I went to high school for four years. There was no public service announcement in me doing so, so there was a four-year gap,” Sammie told Singersroom. “Then when I came back from like the ages of 14-22 with “You Should Be My Girl,” “Come With Me,” “Let It Ride,” The Sammie album, “Kiss Me Through The Way;” I ran into a business ordeal that kind of forced me underground. This album connects all the dots: How I got my start, all the things I’ve gone through to become the 30-year-old man I am today, so “Coming of Age” just made sense. I’ve matured so much, not just in age, but also through experiences that this industry actually puts you through.”
Tells about the creative process behind this LP and what kind of message you are trying to convey.
I’m bringing love back to music. I feel like R&B has become too Hip Hop oriented or influenced. I’ve made sure to stray away from auto-tune; I’m actually a vocalist so I don’t rely on anything to make me sound good. I don’t think you can feel passion or conviction or love or sex or hate with auto-tune, it sounds like a robot; robots have no feelings. So, I wanted to bring back passionate, vulnerability, and transparency to R&B. R&B has been in a dark, weird realm for about ten years now, so I just wanted to bring back something that’s honest, that 90’s feel that people tweet about every day or early 2000s. You get that in ‘Coming of Age’ but in a fresh way.
Purchase Sammie’s new album ‘Coming of Age’ HERE.