Origins, a recurring feature, provides artists with an opportunity to dissect the various inspirations behind their latest release.
Despite being only 22, Samia has a self-awareness beyond her years. The indie singer-songwriter is masterful in her sharp lyrics, which capture common anxieties and frustrations with a poet’s charm. She finds painful moments and leans into their messy, ugly details, transforming them into defiant common touchstones speckled throughout life. One breakup song ends mid-sentence, evoking the discomfort and anticipation of separation, while another is inspired by a high-school memory of boys groping her breasts, using the experience to inspect the politics and power of women’s desirability.
But, the New York singer offers more than poignant confessional lyrics. She also crafts striking compositions, which range from dramatic, wailing folk ballads backed by simple piano or acoustic guitar accompaniments to gritty and grungy rock anthems. Always at the forefront is her crystalline voice, carrying each number with its deft transitions between ranges and its emotional power.
Now, Samia has released a new single, “Ode to Artifice”, that carries forward her thoughtful examinations, turning the lens inward. She explained, “‘Ode to Artifice’ is a desperate plea; my authentic self is lusting after my stage/party persona and begging her to merge.” Using this idea of two distinct selves as framework, the indie rocker teamed with director Nick D’agostino to craft a music video that illustrates the disparity. She adds, “Nick D’agostino and I decided to tell the story of a girl who spends weeks obsessing over the way she’ll present herself at prom, only to discover that she is grossly underdressed compared to the more colorful and popular version of herself who is thriving at the event.”
“While it’s super fun and up-tempo, the song resonates with me for a much darker reason. It seems that everyone is constantly projecting, curating, and uploading different versions of themselves to the world. Be it who they hope to be or to hide something they are, we’re relying on these personas to carry a part of our personalities for us. What better place is there to explore an encounter with a performed version of oneself than a high school prom?”
Watch the video, which features a cameo from Mary-Louise Parker, below.
Samia spoke to us about the Origins of “Ode to Artifice,” more clearly delineating the inspirations that contributed to the number. Read on below.
Everyday Self vs. Stage Persona:
The primary inspiration for this song came from being in social situations and wishing I could perform the way I do on stage. We conceptualized, based on that feeling, a fictional narrative in which my everyday self is desperately in love with and pursuing my stage persona.
I was listening to a lot of Wanda Jackson at the time, and Kit had been sitting on this amazing chord progression that was reminiscent of her period/sound.
I spent that week watching videos of The Supremes and fantasizing about writing a song that I could totally over-perform on stage with my friends.
“Voguing like I don’t know how” was our way of articulating the feeling of witnessing some grand cultural phenomenon that I know I could never quite mimic. I remember watching kids vogueing at a drag club my first year in college and just being totally astounded and intimidated by their self-certainty and talent.
We spent a whole day trying to figure out a last piece of imagery to culminate the story and thoroughly represent the chaotic nature of my everyday self. We landed on the idea of the banshee inside of me, ghastly white, towering over myself and screaming at the top of its lungs so that the artifice self can take over and guide us back into the script.