Samira Mighty is a South London-born actress, dancer and singer-songwriter stepping onto the pop scene. The songstress, who grew up as a ballerina before taking to the stages of the West End as a musical theatre performer, is adding another notch to her belt as the newest pop star on the block.
From the likes of Britney Spears, Rihanna, and Tinashe, to name a few, Samira is here for everything that her musical talent has to offer and to show everybody what she is made of. Kicking things off with her cover of the early 90’s classic I Love Your Smile by Shanice, released last year by way of testing the waters. Now here with her debut single, Like This, Like That, her first piece of original music, is giving people a look into who Samira is and what she is all about.
We spoke to Samira about her musical beginnings, how her time on the stage prepared her for the release of her debut single, Like This, Like That, the music video, and so much more.
Where did your first introduction to music begin?
Growing up, my dad used to listen to a lot of different music, Soul R&B, Reggae and Funk. My mum is a jazz teacher, and I was a trained dancer. I was always obsessed with pop music and pop stars; when I was younger, you had X-Factor, which was like a massive thing. Growing up as a dancer, I just knew I wanted to be more than a ballet dancer because that was initially what I was training for. I was like, I have a voice, I can do other things, and I went to musical theatre college. And I went straight into some of the top musicals in London. I’ve always known that I wanted to be in music. And so, along with dancing, music has always been my main focus. I was obsessed with people like Rihanna, Britney Spears, and Michael Jackson; these kinds of idols just besotted me. That’s generally how I’ve gotten into music. It’s been a pathway, whether through dance or being creative.
How did you discover your musical style?
When I was younger, I used to watch a lot of Disney Channel. This was when Disney Channel was at its prime. We had Hannah Montana and Demi Lovato; I was besotted; you’d see me just sitting in front of the TV. And what I love about these pop girlies is that they bring a whole performance; you know, you’ve got JLo. She’s bringing you dancing; she’s bringing you singing; she’s bringing you transitions. And that is what I love; I love the grandness of a big show, and that’s where I saw pop music; you can do anything, you can be anything, you could do anything. It’s the creativity of it as well like the music videos are pop stars, they’re, they’re crazy. Like, even if you think about, Telephone by Beyonce and Lady Gaga, that whole music video is just nuts. I love pop music. I love the way it makes you feel. And it’s just, and it’s just so OTT which is very me.
How did your previous experience performing as a child and a dancer give you the confidence to become a musician?
It’s scary bringing out your song and being quite vulnerable switching your career. One thing I felt like when I started doing this, started writing my music, started discovering that I can do this and bring out songs is that it’s very, very vulnerable, you know, you have to drop all your layers kind of and, and you’re putting something out that people can have such a big opinion on. When I was in musicals, I was stuck creatively. I write down so many ideas, so I’d write down songs and stories, and I was like, I can write music. And I’ve always wanted to do it, but now feels like the right time because I’m much older understand more about the music industry. I am most myself when I’m writing and in the studio and doing this kind of thing. And releasing I Love Your Smile was a good pathway for that because it was like, “Okay, it was a cover, but it was fun.” And then now, with Like This Like That, it is my song, which is scary. I won’t lie; it is nerve-wracking, but I’m confident I know it’s right.
What was the experience and reception like when you released your debut track, I Love Your Smile?
It was great; the reaction was fantastic. It was such a good time to put it out because it was last summer. We’d had a gruelling couple of years before the lockdown. And I Love Your Smile was such a perfect message to come in with; it was positive, and it was happy. It was dancey. It was fun. And the reaction has been great. And it’s still streaming live on its own and doing so well. Which is really like, it’s a telltale sign that it’s good. So it’s given me the preparation for Like This, Like That, in a sense as well that it’s an entirely different vibe, much darker and much moodier. So that’s what’s good is that they have the kind of comparison being like, “Oh, okay, this is Samira,” you know, it’s a good switch. And it’s now the entry to me as an artist.
Why was Like This, Like That chosen to be your first original single release?
When I hear this song, it gives me eccentric and over-the-top vibes. As I was saying about the pop music I grew up with, for example, a song like Sweet Melody by Little Mix, when you hear that song, you picture a huge big performance with my song in your head. So it’s not just a song; you can sit and bop too; you want to get up and dance and feel like a euphoric state. So I feel like with this song, I can perform it as well, you know, which is something that I’m going to be doing in my music video; going to see a lot of dancing, going to see a lot of lifts, it’s going to be a big kind of spectacular, and that’s what I hear with this song. And that’s why I went with this song because I feel like, if you’re going to go big, you’re going to go big.
What was the songwriting process, and how did it come together?
I wrote this with Cutfather’s team in Copenhagen and wanted to do something a bit dark that day. So the words Like This, Like That, it’s a good feeling. It’s kind of dark and sexy. But what makes you feel like that, we were jamming, and it was just it was such a good day because we could believe that we’d written this super catchy chorus, and it’s a good way of being like, you know, sometimes if you can’t explain to your mate, what does that make you feel? You might be like, “You know, he makes me feel like this like that.” It’s just so sassy. It’s so straight to the point, and you can tell what someone’s all about. And in the process was just great because we just knew that we made something so dark and different that people would be surprised.
What was it like coming up with the video concept for Like This, Like That?
When I listened to it, and when we wrote, it gave me apocalyptic vibes. It’s like, we’re the last people on Earth, and I’m feeling this way. And, you know, it’s like, I even start the song off saying nightmares, you know, I mean, it’s dark, it’s moody, it’s meant to bring you on a journey kind of and make you feel a type of way. So I saw that as a vision for the music video; it is my first music video; It will be dance-based, but I still want it to be strange, weird, and alien-like. So I feel like, you know, it is, it is dark. But it’s also, like you said, it’s very mysterious.
How has your journey in musical theatre and being a dancer helped you reach this point in your career?
Every step has helped, my mum to let me be who I want to be, and, you know, dancing on a stage somewhere. Many families rarely support that because dance, ballet, and singing schools are expensive, so I’ve become grateful for that anyway. I believe discipline is huge, especially in ballet and musical theatre schools. The discipline was, you know, it was tough; we were young teenagers, I didn’t go to uni, I didn’t go to regular college, so it was like you’re thrown into this deep end of having a tough skin and being the best you can be because I remember being in, you know, a jazz class, and if you weren’t the best, you don’t get anywhere. So with the music industry now, my headspace is to work as hard as I can and do the best I can. And if you know nothing comes from it, at least I know I tried my best, and I won’t stop. But that’s one thing that I will take from my training and stuff that many people don’t have is that I’ve just got that mentality of “You got this go, go go.” I’ve met so many amazing people through every journey.
Following your single and video for Like This, Like That, what can we expect next?
The difference in some of my songs is that we’ve got this much grittier one and very, like, quite earthy and quite strong and very, you know, cool. But I’ve got so many songs I love with different vibes. What people are going to be surprised about is that I’m not pigeonholing myself into one kind of sound. I’ve got many ideas; the kind of back-in-the-day wacky music videos was amazing. You know you don’t watch a lot of music videos anymore. I remember the days I used to sit with my sister at my grandma’s, and you know, just MTV used to be in the background. So I want to bring that back, where people are watching music videos, so yeah, I have a lot up my sleeve, and I want to bring that element of surprise in terms of what people might expect from me.
Like This, Like That is out now, follow Samira at @samiramighty
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