Interview with SAM I AM Montolla : a passionate R&B singer and songwriter based in Montreal

Samantha Hinds, also known as SAM I AM is one of the best Hip Hop dancers and Waackers of Montreal. I saw her dance in different contests and the woman is a BEAST ! Her talent doesn’t stop there because she is also an R&B singer and songwriter. What i feel the most in her songs is her sincerity and when i see all the passion and energy that SAM I AM Montolla is putting into her singing career , i truly wish her the best and hopefully you will soon hear a lot more about her music !

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Please describe yourself in 3 words

Multi-faceted: because there are many layers to myself in many respects, in my art and as a person

Honest: because I try to live in the moment

Unpredictable:  because I refused to be in a box

Tell me more about your passion for dance and music

I’ve been dancing since I was in my mother’s belly. True story! But my first dancing memory was « Playing Mas » (Carnival) with my dad at 3. I started Jazz Ballet at 5 years old. Hip Hop at age 8. I’m 31 now.  For the singing, in elementary school, I was in the school’s choir, also sang in the PSBGM children’s choir at 11. At age 15, I was part of the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir and was part of the Gospel Trio « Revelation III » at 18. At age 23 is when I decided to try song-writing and make music on my own.

 How  did you realize the potential of your second passion : music ?

Well, from the outside I guess it looks like this was a second passion but I always wanted to be a singer but didn’t have the confidence to pursue it. Dance was the first activity I was introduced to as a kid and because I love music in general, it was another way I could express my love for it. The challenge with singing was more to do with me and not having belief in myself. To me, music has always been for me a more vulnerable outlet, and sometimes that can be scary!

For those who don’t know you yet, what is your style of music ?

I’m an RnB artist but I like to dive into Funk, Hip Hop and Soul in my style.

Why « Sam I Am » ?

Sam I Am was my name when I started dancing in Hip Hop battles. In the Hip Hop dance scene, you don’t really use your government name. I may know of one person that uses his real name, and that’s a special case. My real name is Samantha so from Dr. Seuss (Green Eggs and Ham) and Will.I.Am, Sam I Am just made sense to me at the time, it rhymes, it’s quirky and I wanted a name that described me! I can only be me, no one else, « I am Sam »! That name has stayed with me since 2005. Now I go by « Sam I Am Montolla ».

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You write all of your songs and 95% of your features, what inspires you ?

Many things can get me brainstorming. Sometimes the words come first, a lot of the times the beats, (instrumentals) inspires me. I like to write about different topics, I want people to get something from the words as well as the melody. It is just as important to me.

« Women’s curse », that’s my favorite song from you. What inspired you to write this song and  what does  « the joy of being a woman » mean to you ?

Thank you! « Woman’s Curse » was inspired by a bad break up, straight up! The song was the reflection of what I was really feeling at the time, but again wanted to write it where everyone could relate, whether it’s a man or a woman, even though it’s a woman’s anthem. It’s all about the story-telling. The verse « Joy of being a woman » was placed there with a tinge of cynicism, inspired by the Bible verse Genesis 3:16 which was part of Eve’s punishment. In today’s terms, it represents the kind of « love » that is so strong it binds you to that person but you want to break free from it because it’s not healthy. Even though it might seem pessimistic, it’s a lesson we all learn and I think everyone can relate to that.

What are your musical influences?

I have many influences for different reasons. I say RnB as an overall description to what I do but I’m influenced by my Gospel roots, my soul, funk, and hip hop roots from dancing, even my West Indian roots from my parents that creeps up from time to time through my writing and rhythmic beats I choose. Hip Hop whether it be MCs/rappers and beat makers has played a solid part in my song-writing as well. Working with Shash’U who was the beat maker for the whole EP « Made Her », was great at capturing all of the unique sounds to go with my writing, and inspired me to go outside the box.

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Can you talk about your last EP ?

Yes, it is called « Made Her », and it is a 6-Track EP. I will say it holds an array of colours with different topics, for example, I go from talking about how to stay true to your art to empowerment or being a slave to the system. I wanted to talk about things that matter to me and what I think matters to people, that we all think about in our quiet moments. This was a very special project for me because it is my first ever project I’ve released, not just a single and from when it started to the finished product, I have grown and learned so much about myself, who I was artistically. « Made Her », if you see the cover its me drawing myself, a simple portrait, which was how I felt creating it. Towards the end of the EP’s creative process, I was able to see my face in it.

How do you think music influences our lives? How do you value the lyrics in your songs?

Definitely, if there was no music on Earth, I think we would be extremely sad and depressed! You have music that can relieve you after a stressed day or uplift you or bring back memories. Lyrics are important.  As a song-writer, I think I value my writing as much as my singing. Lyrics can be simple one liners or just one word but every word and note placed is there purposely. I like to inspire by speaking directly to the people, showing a side of myself that may not be always  pretty but is honest.

What is your top 3 most inspiring female singers?

I have many, but to name a few, Mary J. Blige, Aretha Franklin, and Jill Scott. They are all very different but so strong in many ways. But I got to add Erykah Badu, and Lauryn Hill too. All these women bring something so refreshing, authentic, honest; you can feel who they are in their music. And that’s special.

What are the rules you live by?

What I go by is: “Trust yourself. You are smarter than you think.”

And “If love is the core and in everything you do, you are in a good place.”

Thank you SAM I AM Montella !

For more infos about her click ==> HERE

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Photos credit : MANIKMATI PHOTOGRAPHY
Fama

Fama

Founder and Editor in Chief

I'm a thirty something years-old woman trying to inspire other women and get inspired myself.