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Artist Spotlight: How Samia Became My Favorite Indie Darling

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at McMaster chapter.

One could say there’s currently an oversaturation of sad indie girls who are derivative of the overly descriptive Swiftian songwriting style. Whether it was intentional or not, the likes of Phoebe Bridgers, Maggie Rogers, Leith Ross, and any other name you could think of, have settled into the sad indie girl bubble. Recommending another artist that could be categorized as such feels unnecessary but when I tell you that Samia could hold her own against other indie giants, I mean it.

New York-based artist Samia has been my favourite best-kept secret for a couple of years now. Her debut album “The Baby” infiltrated my Spotify wrapped last year. I have chaste memories of listening to the record on lonely bus rides and gruelling study sessions that ended in a pool of tears. “The Baby” is an experimental indie rock project filled with unforgettable vocal moments and gut-wrenching lyrics, tied up in a neat nostalgic bow. The record has a ton of replay value due to the intricate production choices that you find throughout every new listen. So, I immediately got tickets when the tour dates came out even though I was sure I’d be seeing her alone. Unfortunately, she cancelled her Toronto date and I had to wait a whole calendar year to see her.

I was ecstatic when she announced her sophomore album “Honey” and the new tour that came with it. This was my first concert of 2023 and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Duo Tommy Lefroy opened the show with awkward apologizing for the overwhelming sad songs in their discography, followed by an endearing set filled with emotion. From their harmonies to their delightful rock shredding, it was a perfect start to a great night. By the end of their set, they reassured the crowd they’d be back. I mentally note that I’d see them the next time they cross the border.

Under a shimmering disco ball, Samia delivers a devastating blow with her opening Kill Her Freak Out. The silenced crowd took in the lines “I’ve never felt so unworthy of loving” with a mixture of poise and shock. The minimal instrumental and the focus on her harrowing vocals hit me like a ton of bricks. A dreadful “oh shit” moment settled into me, scared of what was ahead for me. Before I had time to comprehend what was happening, she jumps right into her indie-rock staple Fit N Full and the anguish I felt merely a few seconds ago had disappeared. What I learned throughout the show was how well Samia commanded the crowd. She was the puppeteer and we were all perfectly under her spell. She showed personality, even between tracks, making conversation with the elated crowd. (“You guys are too nice!” “Can we take you on the rest of the tour?”)

She gave us a warning before Breathing Song and I had a vivid memory of the crowd groaning. Not because we didn’t like the song, we were just aware of what was about to unfold in front of us. I’ve only listened to Breathing Song twice before the show despite it being a pre-album release, purely because of how much it ruins me. So, seeing it live, I knew that a few tears would inevitably shed. The final “No No No”s sent me into a spiral. She wails it out like she was reliving her memories in front of us. Other women in the room, including me, mirrored the pained “No”s feeling our own stories of trauma through her. What I didn’t expect was a guttural ugly cry from me – so much that the girl next to me had to ask if I was okay. I was in the front and if Samia saw the brief mental breakdown, I lie to myself and pretend that she didn’t.

She shakes off Breathing Song and gets into the bittersweet melody, Honey. She continued to mess with our feelings the only way she knows how – through theatrics, unorthodox dancing, and emotion.

By the end of the show, I had been convinced without an ounce of doubt, that Samia had become one of my favourite artists of all time. Categorizing these women into “sad indie girl” music removes their identity as artists, writers, and most importantly, as people. Samia is more than just a sad indie girl – the same way Phoebe Bridgers and all the other artists I previously listed are. If these generalizations stop you from diving into new artists, fearing that they’re simply rip-offs of each other, don’t. There is plenty of gold in this bubble that deserves to be found and cherished.

Krissie Cruz is a part of the Her Campus at McMaster chapter, writing at least two articles a month as a full-time writer. She writes a slew of topics but primarily focuses on all things culture, wellness and life. Aside from Her Campus, Krissie is currently a fourth-year political science student with a specialization in public law and judicial studies. She also has a minor in philosophy and an interest in applied social sciences research. Although her initial dream was to pursue law, her passion for writing has led her to a future in the publishing industry. She previously wrote political pieces for other McMaster clubs such as Multipolar Marauder. Despite a shift in interests, politics and social justice hold a special place in her heart. In her free time, she spends hours binge-reading, taking film photography, and curating oddly specific Spotify playlists. She’s an active participant in the queer Toronto space by attending events and if her schedule allows it, volunteering for Pride Toronto.