When we think of culture or even diversity we tend to think about it in only one aspect. When we think about music and culture we barely think about how it affects our everyday lives. Music has the ability to define where we have been and what places we are from.
Right now, a new artist is on the verge of blowing up, and her name is Samaria. Samaria is a 19 year old from Oakland, CA, and her music has a 1990’s R&B vibe to it. Still, her sound is so distinct that it is not truly just R&B or soul. Samaria’s sound cannot be placed into the box. Race and music have a very close relationship and even from the beginning of mankind. The main reason why her music has been on the radar for a while though is because she is telling her life story through her music.
Samaria is from a mixed background she is Jamaican and Puerto Rican, and has said numerous times that her culture and race has had some strong influences on the music that she creates. So what does this mean for everyone else? It means just like Samaria we all have a certain connection to music and through that a way to tell our story. Even during slavery the slaves used music as their outlet and the way to tell the story of their hardships, and express how they have felt over the years.
A lot of times we hear generalizations like, “only black people listen to those songs or only Hispanics listen to that. Yet, what we fail to realize that could be because of the strong roots of maybe their ancestors in the song. Or maybe it is a music genre that most people of that ethnic group have been inspired by the most. For example, not all African Americans like, R&B, rap, and gospel.
Gospel music goes back to the slave days when slaves would create hymns in the cotton fields. Rap originally told the stories of the everyday life and then just blew up. The background that everyone comes from can have a very strong influence on what we listen to and how that shapes our playlists. In one of her informal interviews Samaria said, “I remember growing up and hearing a mix of reggaeton and R&B.” Samaria is not making strong political movements, but what she is doing is using her personal style and images from her life to shape what she sings about. That is something that we all can relate to. One of her songs she says, “I’m sorry I am…sorry that I gave you any of me/ you will never have another chance to love me again.” These lyrics may just sound like typical 19 year old love battles, but paired up with her very flavorful beats and amazing alto voice—there is something that people can relate to. Samaria’s music and sound is unlike anything people hear on the radio. The beats are not overproduced, she is not trying to sound like something that she is not, and that is what is so golden about her music. That is what is golden about listening to an artist at their pure state. Before they blow up and make it big most of the time music artist are doing what they love.
This generation has lost the meaning of remaining true to yourself in the music industry. Now everyone wants to be the next Beyonce & Nicki Minaj. What they fail to realize what celebrities like them had to gain and lose to get where they are today. Just a few weeks ago, Beyonce started a great discussion on Black women, police brutality, and the Black Panther Party. A lot of people were encouraged and even began to embrace their blackness more, or some people were outraged at the fact that she used her fame and the Super Bowl halftime performance to make a stance on these issues. Yet, a lot of people tend to think that this was her first time embracing her black culture.
When even in the girl group Destiny’s Child she would shed light on issues that the Black woman was going through with men. Even in some of her videos there were all Black women, because subliminally they have always been her target audience. This goes back to the discussion on how culture influences music. Beyonce clearly stated in the popular song ‘Formation’, “You mix that Negro with that creole/ make her Texas-Bama/ I like my baby hair with baby hair and afros.” Of course Beyonce’s culture had a lot to do with this particular song. Just like in the 1920s-30s era during the Great Migration she drew everyone’s attention to the hardships we are going through now. Music is more than just a great beat and cool lyrics music has meaning and culture that lies beneath it. Music can be combined with other things such as culture, feminism, and even politics. This is not just to make people feel good and have a nice song to dance to anymore.
“You mix that Negro with that creole/ make her Texas-Bama/ I like my baby hair with baby hair and afros.”
“I wrote ‘Right Now’ as a tale of the girl who fell in love with the bad boy, I’ve always been infatuated with storytelling in music so this was my first shot I took at doing it.”
One of the things that stand out about Samaria is that she said that “I wrote ‘Right Now’ as a tale of the girl who fell in love with the bad boy, I’ve always been infatuated with storytelling in music so this was my first shot I took at doing it.” For a lot of traditions and cultures that was one of the first forms of communication. There was no technology no cellphones, or the internet so people would tell stories. Then there came the combination of storytelling and music. So what is your reason for listening to music? Is it purely for entertainment? Is it for empowerment? Is it to strengthen your spiritual life with God? Music somehow always connects us to our roots. So the next time when you listen to your favorite song or album try to see if there are aspects in that song that stands out to you.