Teen Queen Samia is Taking Notes From the Encyclopedia of Punk

I met up with Samia at a small pizza joint in Greenwich Village. Surrounded by her posse of trendy friends, she talked to me about musical inspirations, high school in NYC, and writing lyrics her parents don’t necessarily approve of. Check out her gorgeous new songs “Django” and “Closet” on soundcloud now.

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Interview & photos by Zolita

Tell me about your music.
I’d like to say it’s all rock for the most part, but I am trying a bunch of different things out right now until I find out what works best. My producer is very Frank Zappa inspired so he likes incorporating a lot of different instruments and worldly sounds.

You’re still in High School. How’s that?
It’s awful! I’ve got one more year left so I’m sprinting to the finish.

I feel. Are you in a clique?
No. I go a performing arts school that’s not like a normal school at all. People are really only there to get their work done and then leave to go do whatever projects they’re working on.

Are all the kids as mature as you there?
I’d like to think I’m a little more mature than everyone else! But I’d definitely say that the kids at my school are more mature than kids at normal high schools because they’re already immersed in a working lifestyle and they have to be around adults all the time so they’ve sort of had to figure out how to seem older than they are just to get by.

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Any cool projects coming up for you?
We’re working on a music video for Django so we’ve been storyboarding that, and I have a few new songs I’m working on. My focus right now is recording and trying to play more live shows.

I’m excited to see what the Django video’s gonna look like. How do visuals play into your craft?
A lot of my music is based in imagery and remembering a specific memory or moment and sometimes that makes my lyrics super verbose because Im trying to put the listener in the situation that I was in.

How would you describe your style?
Oh god I don’t know. That’s hard. How would you describe my style?

Schoolgirl meets trendy 90’s meets artsy hipster.
Definitely a lot of Kathlene Hanna Riot Girl, old punk rock inspiration. But not too Trash and Vaudeville.

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Who are your favorite artists?
Super into FKA Twigs right now. The Strokes, The Smiths, The Cooks. Lots of 90’s boy bands. Nirvana is the holy grail for me. I also love Charli XCX.

Who you kinda look like! You know, you kinda look like Charli XCX and Ariana Grande had a baby.
Really! That makes me feel really good about myself.

What song do you have on repeat right now?
Honestly, you know the Taylor Swift song Shake It Off that just came out?

Oh my god it’s so good.
I found this insane remix on Hype Machine – the DARE remix. I can’t stop listening to it, gonna be real.

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Everyone ends up loving Taylor Swift in the end.
Seriously. Why wouldn’t you?

When do you feel most inspired?
When I’m angry or sad or bitter. I write a lot of poetry. If I could make money as a poet I would definitely do that. Anne Sexton and William Carlos Willliams are huge inspirations for my lyrics. I owe a lot to being forced to read books of their poetry in 7th grade. I would sit for hours and try to write in the format of their style and apply it to my own life.

What’s your favorite line you’ve ever written?
One that I always get affected by when I sing is “you love the pills that kill you and you hate the ones that keep you sane.” Also in Django I have one that’s super confessional, “No one sees me writhing as I’m getting thinner and more worthy of your sex.” Everyone feels like that I think. My mom spent a very long time trying to convince me to take that line out of the song because she was like “I don’t wanna send that to my friends” but I felt like that would be doing a disservice to the song and to the people.

I love that line. What’s your mantra?
I went to the library today and spent two hours on the floor reading the Encyclopedia of Punk. I loved this one quote, “All successful revolutions are the kicking in of a rotten door.” So I guess that’s my mantra today.

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