Interview with Sami Wolf

Recently I was asked to check out the song ‘Driving 90’ from Sami Wolf. I really liked this acoustic driven song supported with rap style vocals and lyrical content about a break up that Sami went through. There was something about her writing style and vocals that had me eager to check out more. I found out that she had released her debut album ‘See you on the Moon’ which is a wonderful mix of musical styles that ensures that she could not be put into one genre box and I loved that. Also, her lyrical content shared a personal journey with her words that had me hooked, but I’ll talk more about that later in the review.

Sami Wolf has been through a lot and she has seen her fair share of rocky roads. She is open about her childhood which was filled with neglect and abuse which led her to drugs and alcohol. During her rehabilitation she discovered the power of music which led her to the road to recovery. Sami is thankful for what this has done for her and she has said “If my music helps anyone even a fraction of what it has done for me, I’d consider that the highest acclaim. Writing music saved my life. It doesn’t have to save yours, but I hope it makes you smile if you haven’t for a while.”

I wanted to get to know more about Sami and her art so I reached out to her. She was more than happy to talk about her world of music and this is what she had to say:

What was it that inspired you to become a musician and who helped to shape your sound?

I feel like becoming a musician snuck up on me. It was never my intention although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t fantasize about being a rockstar when I was in preschool. I’ve been singing since 5th grade choir and I took voice lessons all throughout high school. I have always loved singing. When I went to college, I was an acting major. It was there that I met my best friend from Emerson, Matt. He was playing music with some of his roommates in the common room on our floor and I found it weird that they were playing “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton without a girl so I walked in and just started singing. From then on we were a little musical duo but whenever he wasn’t available to play, we couldn’t jam because I didn’t play guitar. The summer between freshman and sophomore year I came home and paid for four months of guitar lessons. Matt taught me a lot more over the years but really I just played every day. Later on, I started teaching myself piano. I started writing music because I finally had music to put to the words I’d been writing since I was twelve. I always considered it poetry, which I suppose is what lyrics are. I’d been writing from such a young age because that was how I journaled and processed from the very get-go. A lot of female powerhouses influenced and inspired me like Amy Winehouse, Adele, Gin Wigmore, and Paloma Faith. Rap has also had a huge effect on my music, most notably Eminem, Yelawolf, Atmosphere, Angel Haze and Kat Dahlia. Growing up, there was a lot of yelling and door slamming in my house. For that reason, I played music constantly and loudly. Drowning out the bad noises that way I think helped me learn I could apply the same tactic to the bad noises in my head. I never did it with the goal of pursuing it, I did it to survive. It became evident to me though that I couldn’t survive in this world by pursuing anything else. So here I am.

Your album has such a variation in its style of sound. Is this something you focus on when creating new music or do you go with the flow?

I really just go with the flow. Honestly, when I play music sometimes I don’t even know what chords I’m playing. I literally just move my hands around until something that sounds good emerges. I have never been able to sit down and just write a song. For that reason, there are a lot of empty notebooks and a lot of scraps of paper, receipts, and parking tickets with lyrics scribbled on them. I always feel like the last song I write is going to be the last song I ever write because I don’t know how I do it. It’s like an out-of-body experience and once I’m finished I have no recollection of how I just produced what I did.

Talking about the new album, do you have a favourite song from it and why?

My favorite song is probably Haunted House. Lyrically, thematically, and compositionally, it’s the most complex song I’ve written to date. When it all came together I was really impressed with the finished product. It underwent many rounds of lyrical edits to flow correctly. I also had very clear ideas of what I wanted it to sound like when it has been hard with other songs to “hear” that sound. I wanted some electronic/dubstep vibes, I wanted it to have some of the spooky qualities of Thriller, like the laugh at the very end of the song, and I wanted to use some quotes that I could pepper in to add some extra depth. The harmonies also built on each other well with each chorus and it was very vocally challenging for me which all made the end result something I’m extremely proud of.

For a bit of fun. If you could hang out with two musicians (alive or dead) who would you choose and why?

Amy Winehouse and Janis Joplin for sure. They were both such sweet and troubled souls. I relate to them in a lot of ways and I would just like to laugh and sing with them and give them both a big hug.

Finally, what are your future plans and goals for your music?

My plan is to make the mecca to LA in another year or so because I think that’s the next step that makes sense for where I hope to be. I’d love to get on the road and tour of course. My ultimate goal though is to sign with a label. That’s the dream, right there.

‘See you on the Moon’ is a personal journey from Sami Wolf and the way she shares these stories shines a light on her songwriting talents. The album is a little rough around the edges, but for me this helps to make her music feel so genuine and captivating. This authenticity can also be felt by her vocals throughout the release. It is like a tale of two cities with the style of vocals that she can deliver. One side is this soft beautiful tone which my personal highlight ‘The Shovel Song’ perfectly demonstrates. The way her voice mirrors the emotional tone of the lyrics is stunning.

The other side to her sound and vocal style is her acoustic rap game which is the reason why her music caught my attention. The flow that she shares her lyrics is just right for me as it’s not too fast to lose the lyrical content. I keep mentioning Sami’s words but the depth and personal content is hard not to stop and pay attention. The way she is open about the difficult times of her life shows how much she wants to inspire other people to learn from her experiences. Listen to ‘Heart in Tennessee’ and the sublime ‘Haunted House’ to fully grasp her story telling qualities.

I really hope you take the time to listen to ‘See you on the Moon’ in full and appreciate the songwriting talent of Sami Wolf. I must quickly mentioned that this release also features a cool cover of the Shirelles classic ‘Will you still love me tonight’ which is well worth a listen. Take a trip over to Bandcamp to listen to this album in full (click HERE) and if you like what you hear then you can purchase a copy while you are there.

I love how listening to her album feels like this is the start of something. I predict that her music will continue to grow and will result in something special. Whether this is with a label or staying independent, Sami’s future is looking bright. To find out about her journey including upcoming shows then visit Samiwolf.com or her social media sites at Facebook or Twitter. Show her some love and tell the world all about her through your own social media sites and while you do so, why not say hello to Sami. Together, we can help for the music of Sami Wolf grow, so go spread the word TODAY!