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Samia XI / Bio

Samia has a voice that will thrill you, that can explore depths of emotion just before ascending to wailing heights you’ll find hard to believe. She’s raw, flawed, honest, and brave enough to tell the truth. She believes music should have a mission, and hers is to convince as many people as possible to celebrate their authenticity, to realize that pop culture is lying to us about what is good and beautiful, and to promote joy and self-love in as many lives as she can.

Samia has always been a weirdo. She grew up a constant misfit, never quite fitting in anywhere. She’s American, but she was born in Germany and raised mostly on an army post in Seoul, Korea. “When you’re a military kid, you get used to losing people. I lost my best friend every year,” she says. “You learn how to be self-sufficient.”

Her mother was a teacher who had always dreamed of being able to sing, so Samia’s musical abilities were encouraged from a very young age. She began performing at age 5, and she started writing her own songs soon after. The early songs included classics like “Welcome Home, Daddy!” and “Daddy’s Back From TDY,” among others. Her father, an Air Force JAG lawyer, greatly appreciated these early compositions, which were usually performed by Samia and her sister, Ashley, in glorious harmony, upon his return from military business trips.

“Singing was always my greatest escape, the one thing I could do well that made me feel good about who I was,” she says. “I was a chubby kid who loved to read. I got bullied every day in school. Singing gave me a sense of self-worth that got me through a lot of dark times.”

In high school, Samia fought hard against the constraints of her military community. She tried to produce and direct the high school version of Rent and was shut down by concerned parents – who didn’t want their kids exposed to a compassionate portrayal of homosexuals. This experience sparked Samia’s passion for LGBTQ rights.

After high school, Samia had many adventures, including living in a trailer park in Utah with a punk rocker, getting schooled at the University of Arizona and the Boston Conservatory of Music, and living as an ex-pat in Seoul. Eventually, Samia landed in New York City.

She started out working as an actor, back-up singer and voice-over artist. She toured the country with Brother Joscephus & the Love Revolution and blew minds with her dazzling, roof-raising rendition of Queen’s “Somebody To Love.” Finally, tired of only contributing to other people’s projects and yearning to have her own voice be heard, Samia started her band in fall 2012.

With influences as wide-ranging as Janis Joplin, Tina Turner, Freddie Mercury, and Aretha Franklin, Samia's music and voice are a soul-stirring, heart-thumping blend of rock, pop, blues, and soul. Her voice travels effortlessly through her unbelievable range; she can transition from a deep, husky alto to a soaring powerhouse belt in a heartbeat. Her songs are written from her own experiences, and the thread that runs through all of her music and live performances is a passionate authenticity. When Samia sings, she sings from her soul, and she sings her truth.

Backed up by a group of truly excellent musicians, Samia debuted her band at the famous Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in November 2012. Since then, she and her band have played to packed houses at New York City hotspots including Arlene's Grocery, Rockwood Music Hall Stage II, and the Bitter End.

Samia is openly queer and a passionate LGBTQ activist, and is best known for her anthem for marriage equality, “We Have The Right,” which led to a featured article in Curve Magazine’s December 2013 issue.

The rest of her self-titled debut EP is available for free via Noisetrade (www.noisetrade.com/samia/samia-ep). She is currently writing and recording her first full-length album, “Soul On Fire,” produced by her sister, Ashley Jana - some collaborations start early and never die. The title track of "Soul On Fire" is also available for free on Noisetrade (www.noisetrade.com/samia/soul-on-fire).

General Info

Band Members
Samia XI - Vocals, Samia XI - Vocals
Artist Name
Samia XI
Profile Page
Active Since
Pop / Electropop / Pop/Rock

Contact Info

New York, NY