Two years ago, I couldn’t care less about social distancing. I was standing alongside hundreds of very sweaty people and if the occasional “Sorry! I didn’t see you there” happened, no death glares were given. (I miss you @TheSylvee)
Hippo Campus was set to headline on a very cold Friday night in late April. One of my friends and I had caved and bought tickets to their meet & greet, we grabbed a photo and awkwardly said hello. We hugged them! Can you imagine? I can’t remember the last time I had a hug with someone that wasn’t in my immediate circle, let alone a celebrity.
We got settled in the pit and waited anxiously for anything to start. As most concert goers know, that first hour before the show can be both extremely uncomfortable and unsettling; do you think I could make it to the bathroom? GOD! I would love to sit right now.
I often research opening acts prior to a show so I can better understand what I watch on stage. Opening act syndrome can be real sometimes, boring your audience to death before your set is a risk bands take when they book something far from what their fans came for.
This time, I fell short and Samia Finnerty, a 23-year old New Yorker caught us all by surprise.She was pretty, reckless, loud, and fun. Samia seemed to serve as a symbol for unapologetic women who will say what they want when they want. She kept my attention, her music had meaning, every lyric felt personal .
I left with something I always look for: another female indie artist to love and support.
I went home and downloaded some of her music and soon forgot about it as I do with anything I don’t listen to five times a day. However, this past week, I found a new album on my Spotify from an artist I had let pass me by.
Signed by the same label as Hippo Campus, Samia worked on “Baby” with Hippo frontman, Jake Luppen. “Baby” is an 11-track record that dropped on August 28 and technically is her first full album.
On the first track, “Pool,” Samia plays the last ever voicemail she received from her late grandmother. Quickly, we know that being honest is sort of Samia’s forte.
She doesn’t waste time, she knows that as an artist — nothing is more intimate than the music you make and share.
Samia slides smoothly into the indie-rock scene, she makes music to play on long drives, she lets her listener feel everything alongside her. This, in turn, creates a very special relationship with her audience, one that keeps her fans coming back and seeking that intimacy that she so gratefully shared.
What clicks on this album is it’s delivery, each song tells its own story, it takes you through Samia’s relationship with her twenties. Timely to the world we’re in now, “Baby” is an emotional rollercoaster, one that makes you just as happy as you are sad.
On the last track, “Is There Something in the Movies?” Samia honors late actress Brittany Murphy, who worked alongside her mother in Hollywood. Murphy passed away when she was 32, something Samia continues to try and come to terms with.
This song explores the relationship with glorifying legacy over life. She sings of the stuffed animal Murphy had given her when she was younger.
“I carried around a stuffed pig in my arms/ And I did it until I was five/ I got it from someone who died of attention/ And lived an extraordinary life.”
Samia is an icon for all things against the status quo. That’s largely why her fan base is frustrated feminists, done with letting genres and media speak for the artist before they’re given a chance to do it for themselves.
Not to mention, her songs are great outlets for the way we all feel right now. Confusion, uncertainty, loads of anxiety — Samia is happy to write down our feelings for us on paper.
Whether I was drawn to her because Timothée Chalamet follows her on instagram (I know????) or it was her set that night at The Sylvee, I’m glad to have been brought back to the indie goddess herself. All hail Queen Samia.