Samantha's passion for music shines through in every performance, and she loves nothing more than sharing her music with people. After reading this interview you can find out more about Samantha and her music on her website at samanthagrimesmusic.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram at @samanthagrimesmusic. Enjoy this Twin Cities behind-the-scenes interview!
Samantha: I suppose I never have considered there to a be an approach to my songwriting. I generally hear something clever or catchy as I am noodling around on guitar or piano, and it elicits an emotion. From that feeling, I know I am on to a great song if it writes itself rather quickly. I have been chastised by some people for being too "wordy" in my songs - but sometimes a story or feeling needs more explanation.
You've won several awards for your music, including "Best of the Valley" and nominations for International Singer/Songwriter awards. How do you feel about this recognition, and how has it impacted your work?
Samantha: I absolutely love it. It is not because the recognition brings more listeners or more attention. I love it because it validates what I feel about the music I write and perform.
Collaboration is often an important aspect of creativity. Have you collaborated with any other artists in the past, and if so, how did that influence your music?
Samantha: I consider most any music I make with other people to be a collaboration. For instance, Jon Larson who has played bass for me, was instrumental in the writing of "Red String Theory." I started writing that song when I was 11 years old. I had only created the guitar riff, and could never find words that went well with it. One day, Jon comes around and has the perfect bass line and I wrote the entire song that evening. After twenty-odd years of toying with it. I also feel the relationship I have with my producer, J. Christopher Vaught, has influenced my music heavily. More often than not, I have the song 99% done. I'll send him my demo that I create at home, and he takes it, listens, advises, sometimes adds or detracts items from the score, and then mixes and masters it. If that isn't a collaboration, I don't know what could possibly define it!
What can audiences expect from your upcoming performance at Arts+ Rec with special guest Allison Dyg?
Samantha: I'm fortunate to know my audience very well. People love a good plethora of different musical themes. People know that I dabble in pop, country, rock, alternative, singer/songwriter, etc. The beauty of the upcoming show at Arts + Rec Uptown is that I'll be playing all of my music solo. Audiences will get to hear each song as I wrote them - which is a special experience all its own. And Allison Dyg - let me tell you. She has pipes. She is a fantastic singer, and her original music aligns very well with what I am doing. She reminds me a little of Tori Amos - and she holds this tremendous soul-monster inside her that can envelop an entire room.
How has your involvement with organizations like the MN Music Coalition and the Midwest Country Music Organization impacted your career as a musician?
Samantha: I often credit both organizations, and also the International Singer/Songwriters Association, with my growth these past few years. The MN Music Coalition is an organization I joined when I was looking for an entertainment lawyer. Someone recommended them because they network and have affiliations with law firms and could negotiate a discount. Not only was that 100% true, they also have facilitated numerous bookings for me and provided opportunities I can never thank them properly for. I was playing guitar in the heart of the Mall of America thinking HOW COOL IS THIS. The MN Music Coalition did that for me.
I'm relatively new to the Midwest Country Music Organization. I always thought of myself leaning towards the rock/pop side of the genre spectrum. Then I saw Sarah Morris (another singer/songwriter) had a deep connection to them. I have listened to a great number of her songs, and I never thought they were entirely country. I'd say, at the heart, they are singer/songwriter mixed with some Americana, a little country twang here and there. But after seeing her grow her music with that affiliation, I thought well heck - I can be a part of it too then! So I became a member. The people I have met so far through the Midwest CMO have been the salt of the earth - the most wonderful people. I am so excited to attend the Midwest CMO Awards April 22nd down in Iowa. I can't wait to see my music family!
Your website and social media pages feature a lot of original music. What inspires you to keep creating new songs and sharing them with others?
Samantha: I just can't stop I suppose! Music has been with me since I was five years old. I was writing songs about my pet albino rat Skippy and sending them to National Geographic. My set, unless announced otherwise, is 100% original music. I love that I've been able to cultivate this passion of mine into a full-blown side hustle. I can share my own soul-monster with the world and have it received in a positive light. I will continue to create and share music until I can no longer physically do so.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians who are just starting out in their careers?
Samantha: This is tough - because I know so many incredibly gifted musicians that are just getting going that do not do the original music thing. To them, I always say to play with folks that are better than you and keep growing.
However, to the original music singer/songwriters - I have some different advice. Grit your teeth, dig in, and know your demographics. I know, for a fact, that my music would not be well received at a Primus concert. So, I won't reach for a booking that doesn't resonate with my style (like opening for Primus). If your set is 45 minutes of original music, and you do not want to rely on covers (a lot of places won't let you play covers anymore regardless) don't book a four-hour gig. Be smart about who and when you approach people for bookings, and then, put your all into it. Be tenacious. Show every venue that you are as invested as they are in putting on a great show.
Sat, April 8 @ 6:30PM
Yellowbird Coffee Bar
1168 Selby Ave, Saint Paul, MN
Samantha Grimes with Special Guest
Allison Dyg at Arts + Rec Uptown
Sat, April 29 @ 7:00PM
Arts + Rec Uptown
Located in: Seven Points
3001 Hennepin Ave South
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Fri, June 2 - Sun, June 4 Saint Croix Falls, WI