Melbourne’s Sami unveils his debut EP & proves his versatility across different sounds
On a clear starry night driving through the glittering lights of the city, you’ll find yourself saying “Hey Siri, play Sami’s ‘What’s It Gonna Be?’” and turning up the car speakers.
This week we welcomed the release of Melbourne-based singer, songwriter, and producer Sami’s debut EP. ‘What’s It Gonna Be?’ is an eclectic and connected collection of three songs, each tailor-made to demonstrate Sami’s talent and potential as a budding artist. The release of this EP follows shortly after the drop of his ambient single ‘Rolling’ in December. The passionate feedback provided by Sami’s listeners in response to this beautifully produced and ethereal track only further confirms the love this talented up-and-coming artist will receive for ‘What’s It Gonna Be?’.
The cover for the EP features a photograph of Sami from his youth which has been edited with visual effects. The original photo was captured at his first attendance to a live music performance, saying “I think it was at WOMADelaide”, a four-day festival held at Adelaide’s botanical park Tainmuntilla. “My mate Eric took the old original photo and added the effects on,” Sami explains. “That festival created some of my earliest memories of really connecting with music, so I thought it’d be perfect for a debut project.”
Late Night Swirl
‘Late Night Swirl’ is a slow tempo R&B song that provokes an instant feeling of reminiscence and nostalgia. The first track on the EP begins with a high-pitched entrancing tune accompanied by delicate piano chords. Sami’s voice glides over the soft sounds, utilising vocals as an additional instrument by dragging out the sounds of select words. The rhythmic drums and gentle bass line are introduced as Sami dives into rapping: “She’s running her hand through my curls”. The drums are stripped away again to draw deeper focus on the vocals and the sweet piano chords before returning with the steady beat. Just past the 1:18 mark, the bridge cuts through and Sami’s voice shifts to a higher pitch with slower lyrics. The song concludes with a few bars of the piano, drums, and the high-pitched reissuing of a tune from earlier in the track, the trio of sounds then slowing down together, becoming muffled before fading out.
Like ‘Late Night Swirl’, ‘Greasem’ was also produced by the multifaceted Sami. This track is upbeat and too irresistible to not nod your head along to, scattered with strong 808s and catchy rhythmic synthesised sounds. The production is of high quality and makes this song so pleasing to listen to, and will easily put you in a good mood if you play it. Sami’s carefully written lyrics are engaging, and the rhymes laid out are undeniably perfect for the genre of the song, as he raps: “I do for a season / A couple of reasons / Meaning / Greasem / I guess we’re even”. Some of his words are echoed in the background filling in the gaps between each rap lyric, acting almost as adlibs.
‘Chaka Khan’, produced by a US-based producer named Zuri, is a vibey track that reaches out and touches the soul of its listeners. The song’s opening possesses a balance of gentle bass notes and soft keys that interconnect to create an ethereal and dreamy quality. Different sounds are added to the track, creating layers that are introduced at different intervals, ultimately assisting to build the song up over multiple bars to a gentle peak. It reaches the first peak before all is stripped back to the original soft bass and keyboard chords, before repeating the layering of sounds to peak.
Zuri’s production of the song in this way is very clever as he keeps listeners in a peaceful state of mind due to the gentleness of the sounds, whilst simultaneously keeping them on their toes in anticipation as the sounds build up together. ‘Chaka Khan’ is a summery song and Sami’s lyricism adds to this, his choice of words working beautifully with this vibe and the quality of his voice dancing hand and hand with the beat. “‘Chaka Khan’ is a nod to the 80’s singer of the same name who my mum always had playing in the house,” Sami says. “The hook of ‘Chaka Khan’ came to me when I was driving home one night. I voice memo’d it, got back and recorded it, and it was instantly one of the favourite hooks I’ve made.”
Sami explains that his primary goal with ‘What’s It Gonna Be?’ is to put his talents to the test and to essentially share his multifaceted abilities as a musician.
“My main goal was to show my versatility as an artist,” the rapper, singer and producer states. “That’s why there’s an R&B song, a rap song and an afrobeat song in there. I think each of the three songs has incorporated elements of the different music I grew up hearing at both my parents’ places.”
With his debut EP, Sami has given his listeners a small taste of the styles and genres he is capable of creating.
“I’m really happy with the EP,” Sami says. “I’m hoping it shows everyone how serious I’m taking this and the ambitions I have with it.” There is no doubt that Sami will be making waves with his cleverly written and produced music, contributing to the R&B, rap and trap sounds coming out of Australia.
Words by Liv Declerck
'Late Night Swirl' & 'Greasem' produced by @samiregague
'Chaka Khan' produced by @beatsbyzuri
Art effects for cover art by @eric._.nguyen