WORDS BY
Jacqui James

THERE’S AN EIGHTEEN year-old singer/songwriter you should hear about. Sami T is a mind-blowing artist who has made the Aussie music industry’s ears and eyes keenly awoke.

Completing HSC with high marks in humanities, would be enough to pride yourself on. However, Sami received acknowledgement from the 2013 Music Oz Awardsand theAustralian Songwriter’s Association for her debut single Radiate from her upcoming EP.

Her sound is definitely her own and with her video for Paradise Lost, which is her latest single, Sami prides herself with having creative input to make something that reflects her beliefs on society.

It was a real pleasure to interview Sami who is so profound and percipient. I hope you enjoy reading Sami T’s interview.

 

Thanks Sami T for speaking to Gigs ‘n Interviews at the start of your promising career! Your debut single Paradise Lost is great! It’s hard to believe you’ve just completed high school because the lyrics are so mature! You must have been great in English and Literature?

Thank you so much! I definitely preferred the humanities subjects (English/History) to the Maths and Science subjects at school – that’s for sure. In terms of my lyrical writing style, this stems from my passion for reading and writing, whether it is poetry, short fiction or articles. As long as the subject matter is of interest to me {laughs}. But yes, my song “Paradise Lost” was inspired by Milton’s epic canonical poem as well as Ridley Scott’s film “Prometheus” as I’ve found surprisingly many comparisons between the film and the text (but that’s another interview in itself) {laughs}. I’m really interested in unique concepts that explore the human condition and are able to transcend contexts.

Radiate received acknowledgement from the 2013 Music Oz Awards and the Australian Songwriter’s Association. How did you find out and what was your reaction to the news?

I think I was in the thick of my HSC exams when I found out the news, so it was really hard for me to process what had happened, as it was my first song ever to enter into a songwriting competition. However, it was certainly a humbling experience to receive such positive feedback on “Radiate” from fans, friends and industry people.

I’m so impressed with this following quote of yours:
“For this song I was inspired by one of the greatest English poets of all time, John Milton and his epic 17th century canonical poem “Paradise Lost.” The poem is reflective of the “Fall of Man” and the fallen angel Lucifer who becomes Satan and as you know tempts Adam and Eve with the ‘fruit of knowledge’ leading to their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. The story also has a contemporary take, in which I am questioning not only our society’s ability to surpass the laws of nature, but also the trap of losing one’s individuality.”
WOWZERS! You’ve got a thoughtful insight into society! Where did this come from?

Thank you! Well, I don’t really know where it comes from this perceptive outlook into society but I guess it has always been innate and a reflection of what I immerse myself with. People tend to coin the term ‘old soul,’ so I think I may have unintentionally skipped being the stereotypical teenager (in some aspects)… {laughs}. I mean, I enjoy philosophy and metaphysics but at the same time I don’t want to take life too seriously and I think life is all about living on the edge and having lots of fun along the way! I love cool and quirky things. I definitely appreciate a good sense of humour and sharp wit. I love shows like The Chasers, Thank God You’re Here, Whose Line Is It Anyway?” and Big Bang Theory. I’ve always been the type to question established structures and my own reality. I like to think laterally and innovatively in order to keep the mind engaged rather than blindly following the status quo. Sometimes being a little left of centre can be liberating. {smiles}

What else do you draw from to write about?

I love reading (whether it’s poetry, mythology, novels, short fiction, academic articles) and watching movies. Some of my favourite directors of all time are Ridley Scott, Baz Luhrmann, Alex Proyas, James Cameron and Tim Burton for their unique cinematic style. They are all great sources of inspiration. People in my life also trigger the songwriting process but sometimes I like to merely be the ‘fly on the wall’ or the omniscient narrator so to speak. It just depends on what kind of song I’m trying to write. I just aim to impart my world-view and reflect my own truth and reality.

The video for Paradise Lost is very artsy. I know you had a hand is this. How did you come up with these creative ideas?

These creative ideas came very organically as I was aiming to match the deep-seated symbolism from the song itself. For example, the falling apple at the end of the music video represents the ‘fruit of knowledge’ and the power of temptation in the Garden of Eden. What was cool was that all this symbolism was juxtaposed with a contemporary/modern vibe running throughout the video with the use of a black/white colour scheme on an infinity white studio backdrop with studio lights. The video was designed to be very raw and honest. There’s no hiding.

You say “good music doesn’t have an expiration date”. This is so true! What do you define as good music?

Good music is when it locks with the emotions of the soul. It is honest and authentic. Good music, in my opinion, is able to transcend contexts – it has this timeless appeal! Music is a very subjective art form, but good music is when it is able to reach out and connect to the masses whereby it is not only gratifying to the artist, but society in general. Good music is able to move people, connect with them on a personal level and inspire change (as cliché as that sounds). It breaks the stalemate and trenches of homogeneity and encourages individualism.

What type of music do you listen to?

I listen to a variety of music. I appreciate a whole lot of different genres as it provides a greater pool of inspiration to draw from when songwriting. Besides pop and EDM, I love R&B, alternative hip-hop, soul, Motown and rock. I love Sia Furler, Imogen Heap, Son Lux, Lady Gaga, the Weeknd, London Grammar and Alison Wonderland just to name a few.

 

How are you going with writing for your upcoming EP?

Despite the songs on the EP being quite different and unique, it is pretty cool how concept wise they all interrelate and interconnect both lyrically and sonically. Every song on the EP captures different moments in my life and my reflection of the world around me at the time. I like to call them auditory vignettes. I have experienced a lot since the first song I ever did for the EP and the last song, so it is really cool how the EP follows my personal journey (or odyssey) so to speak. I think what connects and strings all my songs together on the EP are that they have an element of revelation in them in which I reveal or realise something about myself or someone else. It follows my search for the inner moral compass or ‘Holy Grail’. I aim to explore and challenge not only the microcosm of my immediate social circle but the macrocosmic universe in which we all live in. Like an internal monologue, the songs on my EP showcase the clockworks of my mind and how despite coming a bit left field, they are still 100% relatable and gratifying to the listener as the overarching genre at the end of the day is pop. It aims to sublimely capture the zeitgeist of our contemporary world. No matter what, I know that my EP is truthful to myself, perhaps cut from a different cloth, but nevertheless giving a voice with purpose, potency and integrity.

Thanks Sami T again for taking the time out to answering these questions. I’m really looking forward to watching your future as I think you’re wise beyond your years! Also a big thankyou to http://jadensocial.com/ for making this interview happen.

If you would like to find out more about Sami T, here’s her sites:

http://www.samitauber.com/
https://www.facebook.com/samitaubermusic
https://twitter.com/samitauber

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