I am a 36 year old woman who may not live in "The Big City" but I like the little city I live in and there is a lot that goes on around here too! This is a place where anything can happen..or be written about!!!!
Samantha Farrell is a true talent in every sense of the word. Not only is she one of my favorite artists (her CD is in constant rotation in my iPod), but I feel very lucky to also call her my friend. She writes as poetically as she sings. She is an inspiring woman on all accounts. She has raw talent, a beautiful soul, true charisma, and sincere kindness as well as one out of this world voice! I am so excited to do this interview, because if you haven't heard of her yet you sure will. I will be so ecstatic if I am the one that introduces her to YOU first! I love to share things that make me happy and listening to her music does just that! She reached #8 on the national iTunes chart this past year and I am sure she will be on there again in the near future!
I met Samantha through my wonderful brother Daniel. Daniel always spoke highly of his friend Samantha and her talent, at the time they both lived in L.A., so I never got to meet her before this night. My father and stepmother were having a party to celebrate their 60th birthdays in Cape Cod, and we were all lucky to have Samantha perform at the celebration. She literally brought the house down that night with her smooth groves and soulful songs. That evening I also realized that she was not only a beautiful singer, but a truly beautiful person as well.
I don't want to keep you waiting any longer for this truly inspirational, illuminating, witty, and lovely interview with a musician who will make you sing to a different tune..... Samantha Farrell!
S: When did you realize you had a passion/talent for music?
Samantha: Ever since I can remember, I have always been drawn to music. My family’s nickname for me is Lala, which apparently came to be when I started singing along with the Smurfs around age 3. Music has always seemed a natural extension of myself; starting in 4th grade with learning how to play the flute, so I could be in the elementary school band, and onwards from there. I didn’t sing publicly though until I was a senior in high school. I was incredibly self-conscious and shy, but I knew that I could sing from clandestinely practicing at home. When I finally got up the nerve to do a bluesy version of "God Bless the Child" at a high school concert my senior year, it fulfilled something deep within me, and I had a sense of purpose and fulfillment and excitement that I had never experienced. I knew then that it was time to get out of the orchestra pit! For years my father had been encouraging me to write my own music, as I had always been an avid reader and writer of poetry- he knew it would be a great fit, but I had had a bad first experience with the guitar (i.e- I was terrible). Luckily by sophomore year in college my pride had sufficiently recovered, and with much encouragement I decided to give it another try. The first day I picked up a guitar, I wrote a song, and it’s been a continuation of my arm ever since.
S: What is your favorite song you have written and why?
Samantha; Wow, this is a hard one. Every time I finish a song, I think, this one is the best! I have a habit of feeling like the most recent song I’ve written is always the best one, and I so easily forget about older songs. It drives my folks crazy. However the one tune that has continuously withstood my critical test of time is Fade Away. It really captured a sound and time in my life that was so beautiful. I think the best songs are the ones that seem to write themselves, like they are handed down through the ether complete, and you just happen to be the lucky one to pluck it from the air. Fade Away feels like that to me. I wrote it in about 10 minutes while driving through Oklahoma on my way to Virginia to meet up and record with Roi. When he heard it, he said, “We need to send you back to Oklahoma if this is what happens there”- I don’t think he was entirely joking either!
S: DMB I would say is my all time favorite band, and I know you were "discovered" by Dave Matthews founding member and saxophonist the late LeRoi Moore..How did that happen? What was it like to record in the studio with LeRoi Moore?
Samantha: Gosh, it’s still hard to talk about it without getting all emotional. Long story short, I was introduced to him in Los Angeles where I was living at the time and he really liked my music, which was a dream. He invited me to Charlottesville where DMB has their own studio called Haunted Hollow, to record some demos. The demos came out so great, and the magic was in the studio air, so he offered to produce my album. How did it feel? Incredible. It was the most enchanting and magical summer of my life that forever changed me a musician and person. He was an incredible, generous, hilarious and kind human being and friend who left us far too soon. I miss the hell out of him.
S:When your album Luminous (which I LOVE) peaked at #8 on the national pop iTunes charts..How did you feel at that moment?
Samantha: I was at a friends birthday party, and all of a sudden everyone came running over to me with their iphones with the apps that have the top ten albums on the iTunes store on them, and low and behold, my face was there next to Whitney Houston. Ridiculous! I think immediately I took a shot and sat dumbfounded in the corner, then started jumping around like a maniac. It was surreal, and amazing!!! I didn’t even think my album was ever going to get released due to legal complications. I spent a year of anguish trying to get it released, and to finally have an audience who actually cared, listen to my work, was the best feeling in the world. Speaking of which, thank you to everyone who purchased my music! You are wonderful people!!!!
S:Where would you like to see yourself in the future with your music?
Samantha: You know, I’ve been through the ringer with the music business. Many of the experiences were not good ones, but through the struggles and the strife, I’ve come out older and much wiser and with a much saner and healthy perspective. I had to ask myself many a time why I was doing this crazy thing of trying to be a professional musician; it’s so easy to forget why you do it, and get caught up in the franticness of trying to get signed by a label and wanting to be approved by some nebulous entity called the “business,” with it’s many faceless executives who judge you and decide your fate and if you’re good enough or not (or so it would seem). It’s very easy to feel powerless and NOTHING is worse than that. However, with a little time and perspective, I came back around and remembered the most important thing of all…you must do music because you LOVE it and can’t do without, not for approval, or for money, or record deals, or fame, or any of that nonsense. If you are an artist who wants to have a career, you’ve got to be in it for the long, long, long unglamorous and lonely haul. You’ve got to do it for the love and for the small victories of finding one more person who is moved by your art. If not, you will go nuts. That being said, in the future I want to be able to be a full time musician who can actually afford to eat and have an apartment and make music that lots of people listen to. I keep chugging along, one song, one fan, one show at a time!
S:What advice can you give to female singer/songwriters just starting out who want to get their music out there?
Samantha: If you believe you’ve got talent and you can’t live without it, go for it and don’t look back. And ignore everyone who tells you anything else! Don’t solicit other people’s opinions about your music or songs too much; it’s just depressing, and nobody knows you better than yourself (so why ask someone else?) - Watch out for sketchballs who say they are producers, but probably just want to sleep with you. Try to keep as much of your career in your control as possible at all times, don’t sign anything without a lawyer (EVER) and buy a basic home recording set up and learn how to record your own demos. Play out as much as possible, even if it’s just open mic’s and coffee-shops…you have to start somewhere! Be a decent human being, if you get free food at a club make sure you still tip the server, live life, and take good notes.
S:Who are the artists that inspire you and why?
Samantha: So many! I’m inspired by any artist that moves me, and pulls on my heartstrings. I don’t really ever read autobiographies about the lives of musicians, so I go by how they make me feel. Their music tells you so much about their lives. Off the top of my head I love Van Morrison, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Robi Draco Rosa, James Taylor, Jeff Buckley, Nina Simone, Ben Taylor, Cassandra Wilson, Eva Cassidy, Talk Talk, the Chieftans, and anything that’s bluesy, minor, and urgent.
S:How would you go about describing your music to people who have not heard your music yet?
Samantha: Ah! So hard to answer….I would say, it’s good music! I know I float between numerous genres at all times. I would say it’s a little bit of jazz, a little bit of folk, a little bit of pop and poetry all rolled up into alternately grooving and soothing melodies to hang your hat on. Is that concise enough?!
S: LOVE IT...perfect description... I couldn't have put it any better!