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An Exclusive interview with Rising Music Star, I Used To Be Sam

I Used To Be Sam

We came across an acclaimed singer, songwriter and vocal powerhouse best known as I Used To Be Sam (aka Annie Goodchild. The singer and songwriter return with a brand new single “Mountains”, out on all digital streaming platforms like Spotify. The track is the latest installment taken from their upcoming debut EP, I Used to be Sam, set for release this summer.

In an interview with “I Used To Be Sam”, she shared what inspired her to start making music, and how she manage to stand out in the music industry with her unique music “Mountains”. I Used To Be Sam also shares her plan for the future and what she hopes to achieve with her music.

I Used To Be Sam

The conversation we had was as follows:

Can you tell our readers about what really inspired you to write music?

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I wish I had this cartoon lightbulb moment to share with you, but the truth is – I somehow found myself always drawn and always coming back to music, even from a young age.  As a little kid, I would listen to all these soul songs about love and heartbreak. I had no idea what the artists were talking about, but I could feel their voices in my bones. I could feel their pain, and I could feel their joy, and that sensation was just as much physical as it was emotional. I just kinda knew music was gonna be my tool and my companion to get a hold on life as much as any of us can.

When did you realize you were going to make music professionally?

I had always wanted to be a singer but was too scared to sing in front of anyone.  Not even my friends or family. It wasn’t until one night in a small tequila bar in Guatemala where a new friend forced me to get up and sing at an open mic that the opportunity arose.  I was terrified and literally shaking, and while staring at the floor, played a three-chord Tracey Chapman song.  I remember the bar getting so, so quiet. When I was done the owner came up to me and offered me my first gig.  So I guess it was then that I knew I could at least try to do this professionally and I haven’t stopped since.

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Tell us what is so unique about you and your music?

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The I Used To Be Sam project is telling a story I haven’t heard in music before.  For the first time, and out loud, I’m conveying my initial thoughts and emotions about being a transracial adoptee (TRA).  In some ways, I’m writing the music I wish I had heard as a TRA growing up.  Or maybe it’s the music I need right now.  I also think growing up listening to RnB, gospel, and classical music, spending my teen years hitchhiking around America, and falling in love with classic rock and folk, I get to play a little boundlessly with the genre.  But I do hope that it is my voice that ties it all together in the way my favorite singers have done for me.

Can you tell us about your latest release ‘Mountains’ and what inspired you to create it?

As I started to educate myself about my own experiences of adoption and the experiences of other TRAs, I could see some common threads laced throughout so many of our stories.  In Mountains, I am referencing parts of my own experience when I would disassociate as a small child, as well as representing parts of my anger and the anger of other adoptees.  For a very long time, I didn’t know I was allowed to be angry.  My community has validated that for me.  It has been a huge part of my personal growth and a large part of how I have been able to make this music now.

Adoptees are often told that we should be grateful, for how lucky we are, or that we could have been aborted, so thank goodness you were saved.  This narrative that has dominated all aspects of adoption, from movies to talks around the dinner table, has been incredibly harmful to all the adoptees I have spoken with.  What this narrative does is take up all the room until there is no more space for any other feelings.  We have learned as adoptees to become so small that we never offend our adoptive family or make them feel uncomfortable in any way.  I can’t do this anymore and I don’t want anyone else to have to either.  So I guess the need for a shift in the conversation inspired me to write Mountains.

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Can you give us a brief insight into your upcoming project?

On the day I was adopted my name was changed.  It was the first step in erasing who I was and where I came from.  I Used To Be Sam is a look into my experiences as a transracial adoptee through music. Each song touches on a different theme including the re-rejection I experienced from my birth mother, and how that event kind of lit the fire which started all of this. This project has five songs and five videos. In each video, you will hear the interview clips from ten other TRAs who graciously contributed their stories and experiences to this project. They are a huge part of I Used to Be Sam, and this project wouldn’t be what it is without them. I’m so excited to share these songs with you, even if the subject of adoption is not personal to you in any way, or even to someone you love. It is an EP wrapped in cinematic folk, soulful vocals, and the telling of my story – as honestly as I can – which hopefully speaks to you.

What do you wish you were told when you first started making music that you think would help artists just starting out?

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To just finish writing the song, even if it’s shit. And to make music because you are in love with it.  Numbers, followers, streams, and downloads have no place in the art of creation.  Music is for you, and for you alone. The second that focus starts to shift, and the outside world gets its hands on you, your art can’t genuinely be you anymore. And you are the thing that makes it so special.

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What do you do when you don’t do music (creative or otherwise) that you are passionate about?

I like to make a lot of art.  I had bronchitis a while back and couldn’t sing for almost three months.  During this time, I really needed to find another creative outlet and that’s when I fell into watercolor.  In the way you can get lost in sounds and droning piano, you can do the same with watercolor.  Watching pigment bleed into water and paper is incredibly beautiful and meditative.  Other than that, I like to read, watch too many movies, and have adult sleepovers with my lovely group of friends.

Any last piece of advice for those artists who just started making music?

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Find the music and artists that inspire you.  Try and figure out what it is you like about it.  Make it tangible and apply that knowledge to your own art.  Even if you don’t end up liking what you made and it never sees the light of day you are growing your craft.  And absolutely play with other people who are better than you, who’ve done it longer and put in more time.  You can learn so much more about yourself as an artist and what you’re made of when you’re in awe of the people you’re collaborating with.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can find me on all social platforms as I Used To Be Sam.  I look forward to meeting you there.

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Artist Spotlight

MEET THE ARTIST MEL THE PROPHET

Hello Mel The Prophet, Thanks for coming to Honk Magazine to talk about your career.

Tell us a little more about when you first got into music?

Mel the Prophet- I first got into music in 2016. I used to freestyle with my friends and I was becoming really good and around that time I went to a NIpsey Hussle concert and an epiphany and was inspired to speak about my truth over music to inspire people how I was inspired by Nipsey  

If you could describe your sound/style in one word, what would it be and why?

Mel the Prophet- If I could describe my music in one word it would be, [ UNIQUE ] because , my music comes from real experiences while being witty and aggressive with intention to motivate the listener to view themselves and the world in a different perspective. 

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What would you say to any aspiring recording artists who look up to your work?

Mel the Prophet- What I would say to aspiring artists who look up to my work is always be a learner and humble but always be honest with who you are before doing music, no matter what!

What quote or mantra do you live by?

Mel the Prophet- The mantra I live by is, if no one existed on the earth but you, how would you feel and what would you do and who would you be? ,,, now feel, do and be that with everyone existing on earth! 

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What is your hobby outside of music?

Mel the Prophet- My hobby outside of music is working out, reading and learning new ways to help others become more self aware.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Mel the Prophet- Where I see myself in 5 years is living on a ranch with multiple acres being a household name in music and the mental health industry providing value in creative ways to those who need help.

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Do you have anything new or upcoming we can expect to see from you?

Mel the Prophet- What I have upcoming is a musical project, “SELF HELP” the self awareness guide and I’m also working on a RnB album 

What is the inspiration behind your latest song?

Mel the Prophet- The inspiration behind my latest song, “Help 1 Self” (Mental Health Anthem) was experiencing the pandemic when a lot of people became afraid and aware of the fact their mental health was at stake.

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What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Mel the Prophet- The 5 things I wish someone told me when I first started: 

Expect no support from the people you want or expect support from. I was always a good person and a person who was “friends” with many people, not just around me or in my community but all around and thought I was going to get support from them because I was doing something good.

INVEST IN YOURSELF: Even though I did invest in myself, I was expecting others to invest in me because of the ideas I had and how beneficial they would be for others.

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FOCUS ON THE BIGGER PICTURE: As much as I thought I was focusing on the bigger picture, I actually wasn’t. I was rushing the process to become what I knew I am and I would attempt to force myself and my vision onto people without trusting the process of just doing the work day in and day out.

KNOW WHEN TO SAY NO!: Being a good person can be tiring when you’re attempting to help anyone and everyone. Some people do not align with your mission or purpose. I would give my hand out to anyone who asked for it and then be in a situation where the person or people would just attempt to take advantage of my kindness.

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FULFILL YOUR PURPOSE and not your ego 

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

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Mel the Prophet- Some tips for my colleagues not to burn out: 

1: SOLITUDE (spend time with yourself and your own thoughts).

2: Spend time in nature without technology . Nature is the essence of our being, being able to breathe in the air and listen to the natural habit of nature is a key element to self awareness to redirect your energy. 

3: SLEEP WELL + REST.

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4: Spend time with family and people you love doing things that are fun and not just work all the time .. finding the balance.

How can our readers follow you online?

Mel the Prophet- Readers can find me on ALL social media platforms, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube,Tik Tok under @meltheprophet or Mel the Prophet my direct website is www.help1self.com

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Artist Spotlight

Exclusive Interview: Rising Artist Rasta Man Jay

Hello Rasta Man Jay, Thanks for coming to Honk Magazine to talk about your career.

What 3 things does anyone starting in your industry need to know?

Always stay focused and consistent on your goals,never give up no matter how hard life gets,also never let people bring you down.

What would you do differently if you were starting in your industry now?

I Would be dropping music constantly and making my fans happy with new music every week so my audience is always listening.

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Which people or books have had the most influence on your growth and why?

When I was younger I always listened to great music from Juicy J, Wiz Khalifa,Young Jeezy and many other artists from the early 2000s.

What would you say is the #1 key to success in your music career?

I would say dropping different tracks constantly spitting lyrics from my struggle and pain in my life that is why I came a long way in the music industry.

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Talk about the biggest failure you’ve had. What did you learn from it?

Getting criticized about my rap flow and will people accept it which eventually my fans started supporting me from out of town.

What has been your biggest success story and why do you think it was a success?

When I hit News Weekly, that was the best moment in my life. I started building my confidence again with my music.

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What keeps you going when things get tough in the music industry?

Having 2 Daughters that count on me to win and I won’t let them down so they won’t have to struggle like I did.

What made you pursue being an artist full-time?

Wanting to prove people wrong that didn’t believe in me having a lot of non supporters and hate back in my hometown.

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Would you sign to a label?

Yes but it has to be a label that lets me own my music and doesn’t control my music and all my royalties.

What projects are you working on for the rest of 2022?

I just dropped my album with Distro Kid called Don’t Try to Be No One You Not and also has multiple songs and projects dropping this year so stay tuned.

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How can our readers follow you online?

Anyone can follow me from my instagram account @jholder051817 which already has an impressive following already from joining instagram within 1 year.

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