Sam Blacky confirms ‘Hot Steppa’ release and more, on-site at We Belong Here [Q&A] : Dancing Astronaut

Sam Blacky confirms ‘Hot Steppa’ release and more, on-site at We Belong Here [Q&A]Samblackywbh

Afro-house tastemaker Samantha Black, professionally known as Sam Blacky, has engineered a steepening upward trajectory since COVID released its chokehold on the music industry. In February 2021, Blacky officially launched her original artist catalog with “Too Late,” followed by crowd favorite “Body,” both released on her own record label, Stabby Records. Over time, the San Diego native earned notable co-signs from Repopulate Mars, Thrive Music, and Tom & Collins‘ Terms & Conditions, among other coveted dance labels. Arriving on the heels of Tristan Henry-assisted “Amor,” Blacky recently cemented one of her most triumphant works to date, “Ronaldinho.” Featuring Nigerian singer/songwriter Niniola, “Ronaldinho” is now streaming everywhere via Brooklyn-born record label Easier Said.

On May 26th, 2024, on Governors Island in New York City, Blacky played “Ronaldinho” live, for the first time, to an enthused mix of dance music fans during We Belong Here‘s Weekend 1 showcase. As the sun made its descent below the island, Blacky wielded a vibrant two-hour DJ set ahead of SIDEPIECE‘s headline appearance on Sunday evening. In addition to Blacky and SIDEPIECE, We Belong Here enlisted Rinzen, Le Youth, Aluna, and Tita Lau, among others, to tend decks over the course of Memorial Day Weekend.

Shortly after her sunset performance, Dancing Astronaut sat down with Sam Blacky to discuss new music, her artistic journey, and more. Read the exclusive Q&A below.

Your official discography dates back to 2021. How would you say you’ve since grown as an artist?

Sam: “I feel like I’ve changed so much, having had to figure out my sound in the public eye. I started putting out music as soon as I felt the right vibe. When people say how much they love ‘Too Late’ or ‘Body,’ I think about how I don’t even play those records in my sets anymore. The first EP leaned a bit commercial, whereas my evolved sound consists of more tribal and afro-house.”

“Ronaldinho” marks your second single on Easier Said in 2024. Can you pinpoint the moment you knew this record was going to be special?

Sam: “I’d been working on this beat for a while. One day, Dom, the head of Easier Said, reached out saying, ‘Hey, I know you want to make afro-house.’ He said he had this amazing vocal from Niniola, who’s been nominated for multiple Grammys. When he sent me the vocal, I lost it. I was like, ‘Are you serious? I can have this?’ So I ended up building the song around her vocal, which was the first time I’ve ever done that. The pinnacle was when I got the email approving my use of Niniola’s vocal.”

Outside of your style, who or what has influenced your music taste over the years?

Sam: “I was hugely influenced by ‘Pogo’ by Digitalism, Surkin’s ‘Hoes Get Down,’ Shake and Pop’ by Green Velvet… I was inspired by The Bloody Beetroots, Crookers… This was around 2006! So, I guess that’s the year that really shaped me.”

You’re no stranger to playing at We Belong Here. What about this collective inspires you?

Sam: “My first time playing We Belong Here was in Miami earlier this year. All of my friends, worldwide, had been ranting and raving about the festival. I had heard about it, but I didn’t know all the details. My friends would tell me how amazing the shows are. Playing here is incredible. Not only do they kill it as communicators and logistical experts, they foster an incredible vibe, a beautiful stage set up with its flowers… Miami was amazing, but now with the Statue of Liberty in the background and the sunset, it felt like a dream come true. I can’t wait to come back; anytime, anywhere!”

Underground or otherwise, who are some of your favorite contemporary female producers?

Sam: “Mary Droppinz is definitely an OG favorite of mine, but her style of music is vastly different than mine. I typically don’t like dubstep or drum and bass, so I appreciate the fact that I love her so much. Underground wise, I really love LUMI, ZLATA, Desire, Azzecca, etc!”

Can you hint at any future releases that you may or may not have crowd tested tonight?

Sam: “I can announce, for the first time on ‘Dancing Astronaut,’ that my Local Singles collab ‘Hot Steppa’ is coming out in July! I also have amazing collabs coming with Bun Xapa, who I met at the 1001Tracklists awards ceremony in Amsterdam, and with Nes Mburu, an incredible singer who’s worked with Bun Xapa, Keinemusik… There’s a lot coming, but ‘Hot Steppa’ has been popping off for about a year now, so I’m thankful I can finally announce its release this July!”

Featured image: Cristian Beriguet

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