When it comes to singer/songwriter Samantha Preis, life deserves deep reflection and analysis– and is anything but stagnant. With elegance and the essence of conversation, her stories place you right at the center, and create the essential soundtrack to any long drive you’d take to clear your head.
Preis’ music is illustrative– so much so that in it you can tell that she isn’t from any singular place. Described as a “world traveler,” her life and her art are enriched in culture. After growing up in New England, she attended both Berklee College of Music in Boston as well as the Philippos Nakas Conservatory in Athens, Greece, and the University College London. On top of her vast musical education, she not only toured the U.S., but all over Europe and the Middle East.
What also translates very clearly in Preis’ music is humanitarianism. Whether that be from leaving her bubble and meeting people from a variety of backgrounds, or simply just from human empathy, it feels like she is one with the human experience. In her 2013 album, Good News, which garnered significant international attention, there is a range of different stories readily available at your fingertips. In the song, “Wood For Burning,” she tells a story of desperation and yearning through a variety of perspectives. In “Here We Are,” she shares a personal account of when she found herself in something she calls “relationship paralysis.”
It can be overlooked that good music is not far off from literature– the songs of Samantha Preis bring the relationship between the two much closer together.
We had the chance to shoot some questions her way to learn more about the artist within.
So who or what got you into playing and writing music?
I come from a very musical family, so I started tinkering at a young age. There was always music playing in my house whether it was my dad playing guitar or playing records. It was only natural that I would play music eventually. I started taking piano lessons at age eight.
What city are you currently based out of?
During the COVID outbreak I have recently spent time in New England, where my family is from. In the next few weeks I will be traveling back to London, UK.
So I see you attended Berklee College of Music. Do you feel your experience there was crucial to your creativity and music career?
I don’t think music school is a necessity to be creative or have a successful music career. However I value my time, my experiences, and many of the people I met at Berklee. I attribute my creativity and success to the many diverse experiences I have had throughout my life as well as hard work ethic.
Who are some of your idols and inspirations that you may try to emulate in your music?
Some of my music heroes: Michael Hedges, Joni Mitchell, The Beatles, Neil Young, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Burt Bacharach, Bill Evans, Debussy, Thomas Newman, Steely Dan, Jethro Tull.…. I could go on forever.
Do you have a particular pastime or atmosphere you seek out that aides in your songwriting process, or does it happen more sporadically?
It happens sporadically. I feel that traveling and forcing myself into new environments is so inspiring. I travel about 8 months per year and am constantly experiencing new people and places. This inspires my writing.
Do you mostly write alone, or do you take part in co-writes?
I mostly write alone, but am open to co-writes. Songwriting is an extremely personal thing for me, like poetry. I am often in a very solitary mood when I sit down to play.
So it was your song, “Here We Are” that caught our ear. Can you talk about the influence and inspiration behind this track?
I wrote the song while studying at Berklee. I wrote it about relationship paralysis. To me, the song is about trying over and over to make something work that just doesn’t. Throughout life, we sometimes revisit old flames or try to make something work that just won’t. It is a difficult journey of hoping and wishing, and digging into old wounds. A lot of complex emotions.
Is it a part of or going to be a part of an EP or LP?
The track was featured on my album Good News. Maybe I’ll create another version of it and re-release it sometime.
What are you working on currently?
I am currently working on a LIVE Lockdown album that I hope to release in the next few months. You can pre-order it here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/quarantine-live-album
Have you found other creative ways to maintain momentum for your music perhaps other than livestreaming during these times?
I was doing a lot of web shows for a while but have had some issues with connectivity. Recently, I have been working on trying to get my performances where I want them to be to record and release for the live album. I have found that if I wait too long to record a song after I’ve written it, I have difficulty performing it with the same magic I felt when I first created it. Best to record music while it is fresh. The live album has been a struggle for me because it is meant to be raw and imperfect, but I am a perfectionist.
Do you feel the pandemic has helped or hurt your creative process? (or perhaps neither)
At first I felt I was being very productive. Over time, I have felt it has been really difficult to not have an end date for this madness. The period has gotten me pretty down and I often struggle with it. I am trying to stay positive and productive and remind myself that we are all dealing with this together in a very confusing way.
What’s one of your proudest/accomplished moments as an artist so far?
I had a great time touring with Devin Townsend in Europe in 2019. It was really fun to feel like a part of a band for the first time in a long time as I often perform and travel solo. Such an amazing and talented group of people and an unforgettable experience I will cherish forever.
What can fans expect from Samantha Preis in the latter half of the year?
New music whooooo!!! Can’t wait to release my live album 🙂 You can follow me on GoFundMe and other social media platforms for updates on my life and music progress:
*PRE-ORDER Album: https://www.gofundme.com/f/quarantine-live-album