RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW AMERICAN GRIME ARTIST SAMMY SMACK
Hiya folks, thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today. Grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
My mum is an artist, and my manager (Nnennaya Kelly, real name: Nnenna Okoturo) has always been involved in music in one form or another. She inspired me. At about 7 years old in my school, I was in music trial classes and I decided to pick up the tuba. It was history from there.
Introduce us to you and your musical history.
Well, I kept playing the tuba, voice and then picked up the sax. I went all the way to grade 6 exams and on each, I scored either merit or distinction. I was awarded the music scholarship in my school in Year 8. I made the local newspapers a gold medallist in my category playing for the Ascot music festival.
Name your 3 favourite albums.
Nemzz type beat by Nemzz
To hell with it – Pink Pantheress
Yellow peril – Jianbo
What was the first song you heard that steered you into a musical path?
The first-ever song that led me to my musical path was “Black Beatles” by Rae Sremmurd. I heard it when I was 8 years old.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in. How do you feel you are doing?
Well, I’ve just started in the real deal, the mainstream. As mentioned, my mum and manager are artists themselves, and she has featured me in her music. About 3 singles have already been released – “My Funny Valentine”, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”, and “No Wori” (her recent release). She is taking me along her journey and now she wants me to start building my journey alongside hers. I am very excited about it all. I think that together, our efforts will lead to big success!
I’m seeing a lot of debate about women not feeling safe at music gigs. Any thoughts on what we need to do to help?
Well, I am a guy, and I do not feel this way at all. However, I am yet to do solo gigs, as I am just at the beginning.
As you develop as an artist and use social media, in what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?
Well, I think a lot of influencers are available to jump on a good track. Press releases and blogs also help!
Tell us two truths and a lie about you.
I am 16 years old. I live in both the US & UK. I have done bungee jumping twice at 9 & 12 years old.
What are your thoughts on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?
Wow, I listen on various platforms: SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple – anyone that can give me some ad-free and free subscription time. Spotify is the most popular, I guess, but loads of my friends use Apple and Audiomack, etc., too.
Do you subscribe to any conspiracy theories?
To be honest, not really a conspiracy-type person. I’m more of a deep thinker, or at least that’s how I think of myself.
Did you buy anything you didn’t need during the pandemic?
When I was in the pandemic, I didn’t really buy anything I didn’t need. Mainly essentials and practical stuff like toilet roll, food, necessity stuff, and that’s really it.
What was the worst experience on stage?
At school, when my music teacher used the wrong music book to play for my singing performance of ‘Fly Me To The Moon’. But I quickly got the crowd laughing when I said ‘OK, from the top’! I was 10 years old.
Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about.
My mum wasn’t at that performance; my dad recorded it. She was actually very impressed by how I owned the stage, even though it started out all wrong; it finished with excellence. She has it on her YouTube page.
What makes you stand out as an artist? I think my willingness at such a young age to do something different. I sing with my mum all the time, I like all kinds of music: rap, afrobeat, etc. I love to use a plug&B beat on my next song with a mix of Afrobeat.
I hear you have new music; what can you tell us about it?
Yes, the song is called ‘Coast to Coast’. It is inspired by my life. I was born in the USA, raised in the UK, and now back in the USA to complete high school! I feel privileged, thanks to my parents who work so hard to give me and my baby sister the best of both worlds.
Talk me through the thought process of the new tune.
My manager/mum asked what I would like to sing, and I said I would like a drill beat with boastful lyrics. I worked with her and a producer to create this song. She added the amapiano-type fast tempo drums to the original drill beat to make it more unique.
What was the recording process like?
Wow, I was on a weekend school break, and my mum picked me up and said your song is ready to record. I adjusted the lyrics, and off we went. We recorded this in Rockville, Maryland. My manager/mum, as an afrobeat artist, added her touch to my rap. She chants ‘Do you know who I am’.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tune?
So the biggest learning curve for writing my music is mainly thinking deeply about the type of beat I want and the lyrics.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
Would I change anything? No, not really. I like how everything is going so far, and I’ll just keep it the same. But I have been considering a YouTube/streaming channel, so that may come around at some point.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
I am excited about my future in music and life as a whole! I really want to make my fans proud and hope they enjoy all the songs I put out. I say thank you to them in advance!”