Samira is a force to be reckoned with, without a doubt. You may or may not know her from the popular reality TV series, Love Island, or from the West End where she performed in high-profile musicals such as Mamma Mia and Dreamgirls. However, she has since shifted her focus back to her true passion: creating and sharing her pop music with the world.
For the past year, the artist has been tirelessly working in the studio alongside top pop producers and writers and has been honing her craft and perfecting her sound to create music that truly represents her artistic vision.
Only last summer, Samira gained recognition with her uplifting rendition of the 90s hit “I Love Your Smile” which peaked at the Top 5 on the UK Club charts and has amassed over 4 million streams to date. Earlier this year she then followed up with her highly anticipated debut solo single “Like This, Like That,” which she co-wrote with the renowned Cutfather. Now, just in time for warmer weather, Samira has released her second, DJ Welshy-produced single, “That’s Not What My Friends Say” – inspired by her conversations with girlfriends about deceitful men, this high-energy dance-pop banger is destined to become a summer hit.
EUPHORIA. spoke to the rising star about all things songwriting, Hannah Montana, and what the future holds.
You started your career in the performing arts initially, how has that experience prepared you for your solo singer career?
Yeah, I think one thing I’m so grateful for is my musical theatre background and training because it really puts you in your place and shows you how hard you actually have to work to get something and a lot of discipline. You get a lot of no’s but also get some great yes’ and hopefully you have a long career, but you have to almost be prepared for that things might not go your way. The kind of mentality we had in training was you need to keep going, you need to keep working for it. And I think going into my own solo career, I’ve worked so hard and I am continuing to work so hard. And I think it’s a great discipline to have, and not to give up, if that makes sense.
So would you ever return to the West End or is that chapter closed for now?
I miss it sometimes but I think that chapter is closed for now. I’m just really concentrating on the music side of things, but never say never, to be honest.
You never know, right? But speaking about your music, let’s talk about your brand new single, “That’s Not What My Friends Say,” which is out now!
Well, it’s one of those really fun songs that are like a pre-drinks song you listen to when getting ready to go out. And I think it’s got those messages that everyone can relate to. You’re just questioning all these things, but it’s done in a tongue-in-cheek way – You don’t need anyone else apart from your mates, your mates are your back. But I absolutely love it, and I think it’s such a good difference from my first single, “Like This, Like That.” I love it. It gets you in the mood.
Yeah, I totally agree. It is the perfect anthem for that. It was produced by DJ Welshy, how did that collaboration come about?
I actually can’t even remember how we met now, but honestly, I love Welshy. We’re actually really good friends now as well, which is just what I love coming out of sessions and actually gaining a friendship. He’s so great and he’s got such a good ear for that kind of fresh new young beat, you know? Those hooky kinds of sounds. I love working with him. I actually bumped into him on my road the other day, so that was fun. I love that when you go into the studio and you actually come out with a friend because there is nothing worse than going into a space where you’re trying to be quite vulnerable and write a song and put your ideas out and people feeling awkward or you don’t actually make any connections from it. It’s so good that I’ve actually gained a mate from it.
I love that! So, when you write a new song, do you generally prefer collaborating with others in terms of songwriting?
I think it depends on the producer and what kind of song I want to go for. I do love a collaborative kind of thing. Sometimes in the room, even the producer will get involved in writing because it’s almost like a safe space. It depends on what kind of song you’re writing, but I’ve written some deeper songs before and everyone was talking about their experience with the situation the song’s about. So you take things from everyone and it’s nice to be like, ‘Oh yeah, okay, I completely see it from that side as well.’ I don’t really like too many people in the room to be honest, so it’s kind of nice to have maybe a producer and a co-writer or something like that, someone that can bounce ideas off you, especially if you wake up feeling like ‘gosh I’m not sure if I can write my own song today’.
Last year you released a cover of “I Love Your Smile,” which gained major attention and then you followed it up with your debut single earlier this year. Did it feel daunting to release your own music?
It was daunting because it’s like, is anyone actually gonna be interested, you know? You do a cover and it’s so successful, and then you do your own song and you’re a bit worried, but I honestly was so thrilled to have it even out there because I’ve been working on so many different tracks for so long and I’ve got such a library and a backlog of all these amazing songs and I just want to show them to the world. Because there’s no point sitting on things when you’re proud of them. So, ‘Like This, Like That’ was just such a perfect song for me to show who I am as an artist and just be like, this is me now.
I bet! Are you working on a longer project at the moment as well, considering you have such a backlog of songs?
Yeah, I think an EP. Just at the minute, I’m dripping off the singles, seeing how they react. Oh gosh, if you see my library of music, it’s just crazy. They’re just about different parts of my life. I’m not going to bring out a really, really sad song right now because summer’s coming up. I’ve got loads of diversity in there.
Sounds exciting, I look forward to what you’re releasing next! What artists influence you the most when it comes to your own music?
That’s such a hard question and I have to always think. I was even thinking the other day, what is even in the charts? Because I always listened to Rihanna back in the day and Britney Spears. I just admired her performance skills. She was a dancer, she was a singer, she was an actress, she was everything. And growing up, I was literally obsessed with Disney Channel, that was my era. And I was obsessed with Hannah Montana. I was actually a borderline stalker. Like, I was literally so obsessed. It was all I wanted to be as well, a pop star and a normal person. That era was so huge and I just don’t think kids today understand. I mean I don’t listen to Hannah Montana now, but those kinds of pop stars were always huge for me.
I can totally relate. I love a bit of a throwback. Music back then was amazing! So who would be your dream collaborator right now?
My absolute dream would be Dua Lipa. She’s so cool and she’s from London. Imagine that vibe of two British girls just coming out with an absolute banger. And then obviously a lot of DJs would be so cool to do, like maybe Tiesto or Calvin Harris.
That would be incredible, and it can definitely happen. Let’s manifest it! So in terms of this year, have you got any performances planned or anything else you can unveil already?
I definitely should have live gigs coming up in the summer. I think summer is really key for me and for my career. I feel like I was born to be on stage. My first-ever steps were on a stage, actually. Fun fact. I just want to be performing and that’s where I feel most comfortable and seeing people dancing to my songs will be like another level feeling. It’s still scary though but that’s why I want to get into it now so that by the time I’m Rihanna level, I won’t even feel like I’m even on the stage.
That’s the spirit! Thanks so much for your time and congratulations on your single release!