INTERVIEW: Sammie Speaks on the Process of Growing Up - Coming of Age

Sammie has been on the music scene for over a decade, being signed at 12 years old and being certified gold at age 13 for his debut album, From the Bottom to the Top as well as his hit single I Like It.  He charted a few more times before he took a hiatus to concentrate on being a kid; going to school, playing sports and becoming Homecoming King.  He came back in 2006 with his sophomore album, Sammie which charted again as well as several singles, You Should Be My Girl and Come with Me.  In 2009, he got a break when he was featured on Soulja Boy's hit Kiss Me Thru The Phone which afforded Sammie the opportunity to travel all over the world but to hit the charts once again.  In 2012, Sammie co-wrote Tank's single Next Breath which peaked at #1 on the charts.  Sammie has gone through ups and downs in the business but has maintained to be tried and true when it comes to his craft. While on The Savage tour with Tank, we got an opportunity to discuss his new album Coming of Age, what he would pen in an open letter to the young Sammie and his unbridled faith in God.

From the OH: You have a brand new album, Coming of Age.  What are your 2 favorite tracks on this album and why?

Sammie: First, Daddy - It's about God actually and although I sing secular music and I'm in the industry, I'm still aware of where my blessings come from. I know I've done things that’s not pleasing nor acceptable in thy sight but it's like a gospel, r&b record. In a cool little way, it's just my cry out to God saying I know He sees me and I hope He forgives me for some of the things that I've done that I may have fallen short of His will.

Secondly, I'd probably say Coming of Age (the title track) just because it sets the tone for the album. It’s the first record that comes on but it tugs on your emotions.  It’s about a man who has committed infidelity but eventually got his shit together.  Due to his past transgressions, she can't see him outside of the demon or the dark side that he once showed.

From the OH: You've been in this industry for a long time and have seen the best parts of it as well as the bad sides.  If the 30 year old Sammie could speak to the teenage Sammie, what advice would you give him? 

Sammie: I would just tell him to stay on his business, don’t be so solely focused on just the creative side of things being the singer, songwriter and performer. Once you're programmed to just worry about that, your defense is down for the business to protect yourself.  To always be thorough in your paperwork, always ask questions if you don’t understand.  I would tell him just to also be the business, boss man that I've grown to be now but back then, to save myself from a lot of agony, bumps and bruises.

So now we just have a radio that’s full of one long song that’s bashing women when r&b guys used to be advocates of love, compassion and passion.”

From the OH: I've been following you for awhile on IG and I can say you have evolved into a man of unbridled faith and it's a beautiful thing to see.  How did you get to that point? 

Sammie: Thank you. I was raised in the church first and foremost so I'm never, ever afraid to speak on my belief in God and just how awesome He is, how merciful and gracious He is.  I've been making a living doing music, just my entire life.  A lot of people can’t say they’ve done their passion their entire life. I never had to clock in to anybody and it’s not even about the money it's just about doing something that I genuinely love to do and touching and changing lives.  And then like I said, I lost everything 8 years ago in 2009 and I'm getting it all back 10-fold.  That's not due to me, I'm just the vessel.  That’s a higher power that gave me that grace and that mercy.

From the OH: Why do you think that in r&b music that is more popular nowadays, it's almost impossible to hear a man speak about needing, loving and wanting a woman without berating her?

Sammie: I think autotune, first of all.  It’s no shade because a lot of people are using autotune but I think that messed the game up because rappers now are able to sing (so to speak). Their content has always been like degrading women, popping bottles and the lifestyle and then the radio is over saturated with it.  You know hip-hop is the largest and the most influential genre in music and it forced kinda, sorta r&b artists to go create that same content.  So now we just have a radio full of one long song that's bashing women when r&b guys used to be advocates of love, compassion and passion.  Even in infidelity, having remorse about it. That’s where the “take me back” songs came from, its rhythm and blues.  I think that now that auto tune has become so dominant and hip-hop is the most dominant genre we have in music it forced or tricked my r&b peers into making them think they had to create that for radio play and commercial appeal.

From the OH: Dead or Alive.  If you would work with 5 artists (any genre), who would it be?

Sammie: Usher Raymond, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Brandy and no doubt Whitney Houston.

From the OH: After listening to your album, Coming of Age. What do you hope fans (old and new) can take from it?

Sammie: I want them to realize how honest I am. On social media, I give you glimpses of my life but I don’t really dabble into my love life so much but on my album I tell you everything about my love life; my wrongs, my rights and my lessons.  I think that’s the time to be honest so I want them to just realize that I opened up to them.  I've been gone for awhile so I want them to get a gist of who I am and then bigger then that, how serious I take the craft of music. I've been in the business 14 years and you don’t make it from being 12 years old to 30 years old without having to really, really master your craft and your gift. I vocal arrange myself, I write all of my music, I choose where to take out and choose when to put in like there's no one directing me to do this. I'm confident enough in my gift that I know I'm right, and I feel it in my soul and it resonates with the people so those are the two most important things I want them to take from from the project.

From the OH: Thank you Sammie

Sammie: No thank you sweetheart, my pleasure.