Samia: the singer-songwriter with violent hooks, famous parents and a sensational second album – The Guardian

Now living in Nashville, the 26-year-old is back with a raw but poised second album, Honey. She talks being a nepo baby, disenchantment with the industry and why optimism is the saddest thing in the world
From Nashville, US
Recommended if you like Blake Mills, Julia Jacklin, Phoebe Bridgers
Up next New album Honey released 27 January via Grand Jury
Honey, the rich, raw second album by Samia, opens with an explosion of mild-mannered rage. Over organ and shimmering autoharp, the Nashville-based songwriter sings in a placid deadpan: “I hope you marry the girl from your home town / And I’ll fucking kill her / And I’ll fucking freak out.” Kill Her Freak Out is one of the better translations of internet-speak into song – the “screaming crying throwing up” meme in ballad form. “People who grew up the way I did immediately understood that line,” the 26-year-old says. “Obviously I don’t want to kill anyone – it’s just what you end up feeling when you repress other feelings for too long.”
Samia broke out with her 2020 debut album The Baby, but Honey is the kind of poised follow-up that could see her follow in the footsteps of breakout cult stars Phoebe Bridgers and Mitski. A classic but unusually textured indie-rock record – one song crackles and peaks as Samia breaks into a howl; another features a coda of garbled text-to-voice recordings – it’s a nakedly sad account of the grind that is trying to better your life in your 20s. “Optimism is the saddest thing in the world to me and I have a lot of it,” she says. “There are a couple of happier songs and those are the saddest ones to me because there’s something so pathetic and devastating about someone aiming for optimism in between songs that wallow in pain.”
Samia was raised in Los Angeles, the daughter of actors Kathy Najimy and Dan Finnerty, and feels “lucky” to have witnessed the entertainment industry from an early age. “I was super disenchanted with it because I saw how it ruined people’s lives and their happiness, and it was so image-oriented,” she says. She’s also aware of the scepticism surrounding nepo babies: “There’s no part of me that doesn’t want people to know where I came from because that’s such a huge part of the reason I am the way I am.”
Samia grew up around musical theatre and gravitated towards indie-rock. Feeling that a career in the arts was her only viable option, she began singing in other people’s bands and eventually started writing songs, inspired by the poets Maya Angelou and Anne Sexton. Although she got her start after moving to New York and falling in with the DIY scene, she escaped the city’s pandemic “wasteland” in early 2021 for Nashville.
After releasing The Baby on small indie label Grand Jury, she quickly began work on Honey. Now, Samia’s goal is to “prioritise honesty” in her music. It seems to be paying off: at a recent London show, fans roared Kill Her Freak Out’s violent hook back to her. She’s inspired by artists such as Lana Del Rey and FKA twigs, who “lean all the way into” their projects. “That’s something I’m working on as a person, too – trying to commit to who I am,” she says. “I think that’s the coolest thing you can do.”

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