Based in Chicago, IL, Samei is a singer/songwriter who consistently displays her strength and vulnerability through her music. The indie artist flawlessly blends genres that are hallmarked by edgy takes on classic theories. Independently written and performed, Samei’s 8-song album “Waystation” is officially out now!
Beginning with an anthem to empower and energize, “Up Down” is an indie-pop single with a mighty build-up to a drop that ultimately rains down with strength and secure intention. Also, the resolve of that title, that hook, resounds and satisfies beautifully at the end of each progression. Samei takes every moment to tell a detailed and clear-cut story, before rising and building anticipation towards the final moments of optimism and possibility. The leading voice reaches impeccable peaks during the final moments.
“Revolving Doors” one of the best and most memorable indie songs 2019 has seen so far. A stunning performance from Samei compliments superbly poetic and thoughtful writing flawlessly. Such a simple yet beautiful and powerful hook, more and more uplifting with each reappearance. The soundscape builds subtly too, reinforcing that rising brightness and self-discovery. The beautifully colorful and heartfelt “One Stop, Shot” immediately reignites the strength of Samei’s voice and her ability to craft a melody and story-line that balances poetry and emotional relevance to a stunning degree. The song is instantly uplifting and powerful and pours through with a retro-electro pop strength that’s easily worthy of a broader audience. As the album progresses, eclecticism roams free to a fitting level. The title track, “Waystation” emerges with a piano-led groove and a more breathy, intimate vocal-line. There’s variation already, yet still, the mix and the style suit this project and playlist perfectly well. And like the hook strikes, Samei showcases mighty songwriting once again.
Things mellow out for “San Bernandino”, subtle flickers of instrumentation appear and throughout the album, furthering that sense of freedom from the genre and helping keep things interesting and refreshing at every step. Things swiftly intensify throughout “San Bernandino” and Samei’s full vocal range and ability are brilliantly showcased. Towards the end, “Walk This Way” adopts a vintage classical jazz vibe, a smooth vocal, and a gorgeous melody add another moment of versatility and change. The piano-led purity and calm bring through that truthful, deeply personal writing style genuinely and intimately. Magnificent vocals carry the weight of this rising melody and the vulnerability and openness of the lyrics in a captivating manner. Towards the end of the project, Samei leads with softly expressive vocals on the considerate and intriguing “No Shame in That”. The versatility and vibe of this song help remind you that a live show is ultimately where these songs would really come alive.
The album comes to a close with another hit of seductive rhythm, “Broken Bolts” features a simple, sweeping wash of optimism. Samei tells one final story, setting the scene and balancing details with emotional reflections. A wonderful, shoulder-swaying moment of uplifting progression and resolve, a great way to finish an incredible album. “Waystation” is perfectly juxtaposed and absolutely worth the time it takes to experience. From the powerful vocals to the expressive lyricism, “Waystation” was a treat to review. This is a spectacular release from Samei and we look forward to hearing more! Listen Samei’s new album "Waystation" here!
Hi Samei! We thoroughly enjoyed your album “Waystation”. What do you hope your listeners take away from this project? How long has this been in the works?
Thank you so much! I have two things that I really hope my listeners take away from the album. The first is that I really hope they have some emotional connection and it causes them to reflect on their mental health and relationships. A goal in writing this album was to stay authentic and vulnerable and I think it’s really beautiful to be able to give someone else a sense that they’re not alone in their emotions.
The second thing I want my listeners to take away is that it doesn’t fit into a specific genre box. I think trying to “self brand” can limit who you are as a person so the songs on Waystation are purposely different from each other.
A lot of the songs on the album are ideas that I started several years ago that I finished in the past year. When I started most of these songs I actually didn’t have the intention of creating an album so it’s actually representative of how I’ve evolved as a person and a songwriter.
What song would you say forced the most emotion out of you? Can you tell us the inspiration behind this particular track?
San Bernandino hands down. I really hesitated to include this one on the album because it’s so emotional for me. This song has a lot of layers that surround my experiences with eating disorders. I was undiagnosed but behaviorally anorexic for the first two years of my undergraduate degree and that turned into bulimic behavior that lasted for years. I became really anxious, depressed and at one point suicidal because I didn’t really see any way out of it.
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand why I ever had any of those behaviors and this song came out of that time. The idea of “trying to find Joan Didion’s San Bernandino” is synonymous to me trying to chase this “golden dream” of being thin and successful only to never reach a point when I thought I was either of those things.
If someone could only listen to one track off of “Waystation” to get a sense of who you are as an artist, which track would you suggest and why?
Broken Bolts. It’s definitely not the most flashy track but I’m not the most flashy person either. I was actually trying to think of different mottos and phrases and I came up with this idea of “bold but understated” which one of my friends questioned if I wanted to use the word “understated” because the connotations usually aren’t helpful if you’re trying to make it in music. But I really am bold but understated and I like staying true to that.
Anyways, Broken Bolts is a lyrical and musical metaphor about broken boundaries. Something I really love in music in general is dissonance and how it’s resolved. So, the seventh chords in the song are representative of the discomfort of someone breaking your boundaries. Something I’ve really struggled with is setting boundaries so it’s basically an anthem for me of this dissonance in knowing that I’m being taken advantage of but also not really being comfortable with pushing back.
What are some challenges you faced when creating this album? How did you overcome those challenges?
The biggest challenge for me was asking for help in mixing and mastering. I was really nervous about sharing the fact that I wanted to share my music because I was terrified of someone telling me it was trash. I’m so so so lucky to know someone I trust and went to highschool with that I was able to reach out to and work with (shoutout to Thomas Massarany).
In general, for me, a lot of challenges have to do with asking other people to help or support me. I don’t think anyone owes me anything but at the same time I didn’t realize how many people I had in my corner until I started asking.
Thank you so much for chatting with us! What’s one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned as an independent artist over time?
Thanks for chatting with me! I think the biggest thing I’ve learned so far is that things happen slower than you want them to but it’s so worth it to me to make sure that I’m making the highest quality, most authentic art that I can. Other than that, it’s really just me saying something along the lines of “be afraid and do it anyways” to myself.