EARLY TALKS WITH SAMMY RASH

IF YOU’VE BEEN ON THE SINGER-SONGWRITER SIDE OF TIKTOK AT ALL OVER THE PAST YEAR, YOU DEFINITELY KNOW THE NAME SAMMY RASH.  THE 19-YEAR-OLD HERMOSA BEACH NATIVE IS KNOWN FOR HIS UNIQUE VOCAL TONE, ACCESSIBLE LYRICS, AND CLEVER INDIE POP HOOKS THAT YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD.

IN ONLY HIS FIRST YEAR OF RELEASING MUSIC, SAMMY HAS AMASSED OVER 800,000 MONTHLY LISTENERS ON SPOTIFY, 100K FOLLOWERS ON TIKTOK, 30K ON INSTAGRAM, AND LANDED PLACEMENTS ON EDITORIALS LIKE NEW MUSIC FRIDAY, INDIE POP, TEEN BEATS, POP SAUCE, FRESH FINDS, AND VARSITY BARS COMPLETELY ON HIS OWN WITHOUT THE HELP OF A LABEL, MANAGER, OR TEAM OF ANY SORT. 

SAMMY AND I BECAME FRIENDS THROUGH TIKTOK IN THE MIDDLE OF 2020 BEFORE HE HAD EVEN RELEASED ANY MUSIC AT ALL AND IT’S BEEN SO INSPIRING TO WATCH HIM SUCCEED AND PROGRESS AS AN ARTIST OVER TIME!

I HAD THE HONOR TO CHAT WITH SAMMY HIS LIFE, GOALS, DREAMS, HIS NEW SINGLE WINTER! 

HANNAH: SO YOUR NEW SONG “WINTER” JUST CAME OUT AND I LOVE IT SO SO MUCH! TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR INSPIRATION FOR THE SONG:

SAMMY: IN DECEMBER, I WAS WORKING ON MY SONG “BEST FRIENDS” AND I WAS SO TIRED OF WORKING ON IT AND NEEDED A BREAK, SO I STARTED WRITING THIS SONG WITH THE INTENTION OF WRITING A CHRISTMAS SONG. I DIDN’T WANT IT TO BE CHEESY SO I DECIDED TO WRITE MORE OF A WINTER SONG. IT’S HONESTLY A REALLY PERSONAL SONG, AND ACTUALLY SOMETHING I’M STILL CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING. 

IT’S ABOUT THE CLASSIC HIGH SCHOOL RELATIONSHIP WHERE YOU GO OFF TO COLLEGE IN DIFFERENT STATES AND TRY TO STAY TOGETHER, BUT IT STARTS GETTING COMPLICATED BECAUSE YOU’RE SO USED TO SEEING THIS PERSON ALL THE TIME. THEN, OVER THE HOLIDAYS YOU’RE BOTH BACK IN YOUR HOMETOWN AND YOU REMEMBER HOW MUCH YOU LOVE SPENDING TIME WITH THIS PERSON AND YOU JUST REALLY WISH THEY DIDN’T HAVE TO LEAVE. 

HANNAH: WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE LYRICS YOU WROTE IN WINTER?

SAMMY: I HONESTLY REALLY LIKE THE BEGINNING LYRICS BECAUSE THEY’RE SUPER RELATABLE BUT ALSO REALLY PERSONAL:

“MOVED AWAY TO COLLEGE, YOU KNOW HOW THE STORY GOES

WE WERE TOO YOUNG, TOO FAR COULDN’T HOLD ME CLOSE”

THE IDEA ACTUALLY CAME OUT OF A REAL CONVERSATION THIS GIRL AND I WERE HAVING.  SHE MOVED TO NEW YORK FOR COLLEGE AND WAS HOME FOR BREAK AND WE WERE TRYING TO DECIDE IF WE SHOULD BREAK UP OR KEEP TRYING TO MAKE IT WORK. I WAS LIKE “IT’S KIND OF A CLICHE FOR US TO TRY TO STAY TOGETHER WHILE YOU GO OFF TO COLLEGE. I FEEL LIKE EVERY HIGH SCHOOL COUPLE TRIES TO DO THAT AND THEN THEY END UP BREAKING UP.” 

THAT SPARKED THE IDEA FOR THE LINES: 

“WE WON’T BE THE CLICHE WE CAN MAKE IT WORK

THAT’S THE LINE THAT WE SAY BEFORE WE GET HURT” 

HANNAH: WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE LYRICS YOU’VE EVER WRITTEN?

SAMMY: RIGHT NOW, MY FAVORITE LINE I’VE WRITTEN IS IN A SONG I HAVEN’T RELEASED YET. 

I’D KNOW HOW YOU FEEL /  IF WE DIDN’T LOSE TOUCH”

I LOVE USING CLEVER WORD PLAY IN LYRICS AND I’M SUPER PROUD OF THAT ONE. 

HANNAH: IF YOU HAD TO PICK THREE SONGS TO PROVE YOU HAVE GOOD MUSIC TASTE WHAT THREE WOULD YOU CHOSE? 

SAMMY: 

1. GROWING UP IS ______ BY RUEL 

2. TALK IS OVERRATED BY JEREMY ZUCKER

3. THAT’S JUST HOW IT GOES BY ROLE MODEL

HANNAH: WHAT’S ONE SONG YOU WISH YOU WOULD HAVE WRITTEN?

SAMMY:  DEFINITELY “BLUEBONNETS” BY AUSTIN GEORGE. 

HANNAH: IN YOUR OPINION WHICH SONG OF YOURS IS THE MOST UNDERRATED? 

SAMMY: AH THAT’S SUCH A GOOD QUESTION, BUT ALSO A HARD ONE! MY WORST PERFORMING SONG EVER IS A SONG CALLED “SCARED” SO I GUESS THAT ONE IS TECHNICALLY THE MOST UNDERRATED. I KNOW I SHOULDN’T LET THE STATISTICS OF A SONG DETERMINE HOW I FEEL ABOUT IT, BUT THAT’S KIND OF HOW IT GOES.

ASIDE FROM THAT ONE, I THINK TIME LIMITS IS PROBABLY MY MOST UNDERRATED SONG. I THINK THAT ONE SHOULD AT LEAST BE IN MY TOP 5 BECAUSE IT’S ONE OF MY FAVORITE SONGS I’VE MADE FOR SURE. ALSO, WHEN PEOPLE DM ME, THEY NORMALLY SAY THAT ONE IS THEIR FAVORITE, SO I’M GUESSING THAT ONE JUST DIDN’T HIT THE SPOTIFY WAVE LIKE SOME OF MY OTHER SONGS. 

HANNAH: TIME LIMITS IS DEFINITELY ONE OF MY FAVORITES AS WELL! IN YOUR OPINION WHICH SONG OF YOURS SHOULD BE YOUR NUMBER ONE SONG? NOT BASED ON HOW WELL IT DID ON TIKTOK, BUT WHICH SONG YOU’RE GENUINELY THE MOST PROUD OF?

SAMMY: LIKE I WAS SAYING, I’M A LITTLE BIT TOO INFLUENCED BY HOW THE SONGS PERFORM. WHEN A SONG DOES WELL ON TIKTOK SOMETIMES I ASSUME THAT IT’S A BETTER SONG, BUT THAT’S OBVIOUSLY NOT ALWAYS TRUE BECAUSE THE ALGORITHM IS RANDOM SOMETIMES. 

I HONESTLY THINK “LEAD ME ON” SHOULD BE MY NUMBER ONE SONG.  IT’S NUMBER TWO AT THE MOMENT, BUT IT COULD ALWAYS PASS “SUMMER&CIGARETTES” AT SOME POINT. 

HANNAH: WHEN YOU’RE CREATING A SONG, DO YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC AUDIENCE IN MIND? DO YOU CREATE IT FOR PEOPLE TO LISTEN TO IN A CERTAIN CONTEXT OR DO YOU NORMALLY WRITE AS A WAY TO PROCESS YOUR EMOTIONS?

SAMMY: IT KIND OF DEPENDS ON THE SONG. SOMETIMES I’LL JUST SIT DOWN AND WRITE A SECTION OF A SONG FOR TIKTOK AND TEST HOW IT DOES. USUALLY WHEN I’M WRITING LYRICS OF A SONG I’M NOT REALLY THINKING TOO MUCH ABOUT HOW OTHER PEOPLE WILL PERCEIVE IT, BUT I THINK A LOT ABOUT THAT AFTER WHEN I’M PRODUCING. 

HANNAH: IF YOU CLOSE YOUR EYES & PICTURE OTHER PEOPLE LISTENING TO YOUR NEW SONG WINTER, IN WHAT CONTEXT DO YOU IMAGINE THEM LISTENING TO IT?

SAMMY: I HONESTLY KIND OF PICTURE PEOPLE LISTENING TO THIS ONE IN THE CAR DRIVING THROUGH THE SNOW BACK TO A CABIN. THE SONG’S WARM AND COZY AND SUPER STRIPPED ACOUSTIC. 

HANNAH: SO, I KNOW YOU PRODUCE, WRITE, SING, MIX, MASTER, RECORD EVERYTHING YOURSELF, MAKE YOUR OWN COVER ART, AND OF COURSE ALL OF YOUR OWN TIKTOK PROMO VIDEOS! TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO LEARN TO DO EVERYTHING YOURSELF AND HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO DO EVERYTHING?

SAMMY: WHEN I FIRST STARTED MAKING MUSIC I WAS REALLY INSPIRED BY RUSS WHO ALSO DOES EVERYTHING HIMSELF.  I TRIED SENDING MY FIRST SONG TO A MIXER AND AFTER I GOT IT BACK I REALIZED I LIKED MY VERSION BETTER, SO I JUST DECIDED I WOULD LEARN TO MIX MYSELF. I REALIZED MIXING ISN’T REALLY AS INTIMIDATING AS IT SOUNDS, IT’S ALL ABOUT TRUSTING YOUR EARS AND TRYING TO MAKE YOUR SONG SOUND GOOD TO YOU. 

I HONESTLY LOVE DOING EVERYTHING MYSELF BECAUSE I’M SORT OF A CONTROL FREAK WHEN IT COMES TO MY MUSIC AND IT MAKES MY SONGS FEEL 100% ME. I LOVE IT BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE TO RELY ON ANYONE FOR ANYTHING.  I LOVE BEING SELF-SUFFICIENT AND I ALSO LOVE THE FACT THAT I COULD MAKE A SONG TODAY AND UPLOAD IT TOMORROW IF I WANTED TO WITHOUT ASKING OR TELLING ANYONE. I THINK THAT’S A PART OF THE REASON WHY I WAS ABLE TO PUT OUT A LOT OF MUSIC LAST YEAR. 

THE ONLY ANNOYING THING IS THAT IT DOES TAKE A LOT OF TIME OF COURSE, AND HYPOTHETICALLY, IF I SPENT LESS TIME MIXING AND MASTERING I COULD SPEND MORE TIME WRITING NEW SONGS. SO I GUESS IN THE FUTURE IT MIGHT BE WORTH BRINGING ON A TEAM SO THAT I CAN SPEND MORE TIME WRITING SONGS, BUT FOR NOW I REALLY LOVE DOING EVERYTHING MYSELF.  IT FEELS SPECIAL RELEASING SOMETHING THAT’S COMPLETELY ME.

HANNAH: DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER PEOPLE WHO WANT TO LEARN TO DO EVERYTHING ON THEIR OWN? 

SAMMY: MY ADVICE TO OTHER PEOPLE WHO WANT TO DO THE SAME WOULD BE TO PRACTICE A LOT, REFERENCE OTHER SONGS YOU LIKE AND THEN INVEST IN SOME GOOD MONITORS.  I USUALLY TEST MY SONGS ON MONITORS, IPHONE SPEAKERS, IN HEADPHONES, AND IN THE CAR.  IT’S NOT MAGIC, AND IT’S EASIER THAN A LOT OF PEOPLE MAKE IT OUT TO BE. IF IT SOUNDS GOOD ON ALL OF THOSE THEN YOU’RE GOOD.  I WAS REALLY INSECURE ABOUT MY MIXING / MASTERING AT FIRST AS WELL, BUT IT’S SOMETHING I’M ALWAYS IMPROVING ON.

I STILL ENJOY WRITING AND SINGING MORE THAN ANYTHING, THAT’S DEFINITELY WHAT COMES EASIEST TO ME AND IT’S THE MOST FUN PART. WRITING THE ACTUAL SONG USUALLY ONLY TAKES ME LIKE 20 MINUTES AND THEN EVERYTHING ELSE TAKES ABOUT TWO WEEKS. 

HANNAH: HOW LONG DOES IT NORMALLY TAKE YOU TO FINISH A SONG?

SAMMY: IT REALLY DEPENDS ON THE SONG. NORMALLY I WRITE THE FULL SONG ON MY GUITAR AND THEN PRODUCE IT OUT AFTER. SOMETIMES I’LL JUST WRITE SNIPPETS FOR TIKTOK, JUST A CHORUS OR VERSE, AND THEN IF IT POPS OFF I’LL FINISH THE WHOLE SONG. 

WINTER FOR EXAMPLE THOUGH, I WROTE, RECORDED, PRODUCED, AND MIXED IN THE SAME DAY JUST BECAUSE I WANTED A BREAK FROM BEST FRIENDS.

HANNAH: IF YOU COULD COLLABORATE WITH ANY ARTIST WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

SAMMY: BLACKBEAR IS DEFINITELY THE NUMBER ONE PERSON I’D WANT TO COLLAB WITH. HE’S BEEN ONE OF MY FAVORITE ARTISTS FOR A LONG TIME AND HIS MUSIC REALLY INSPIRED ME TO MAKE MUSIC. HIS MUSIC WAS ONE OF THE FIRST TO GIVE ME CHILLS AND IT REALLY CHANGED THE WAY I LISTEN TO MUSIC. 

ON THE HIP HOP SIDE, I WOULD ALSO LOVE TO MAKE A SONG WITH RUSS, HE’S REALLY INFLUENCED HOW I OPERATE THE BUSINESS SIDE OF MY MUSIC. HIS BOOK “IT’S ALL IN YOUR HEAD” IS SO GOOD, I’D DEFINITELY RECOMMEND READING THAT.

HANNAH:WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS / DREAMS FOR THIS YEAR? 

SAMMY:I REALLY WANT TO GO ON TOUR IN THE FALL WITH MY FRIENDS AND RELEASE AN EP LATER IN THE YEAR AS WELL!

HANNAH: DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ANY UP & COMING ARTISTS? 

SAMMY:I LOVE THIS QUESTION SO MUCH BECAUSE IT’S THE COOLEST THING EVER THAT I EVEN GET TO OFFER THIS ADVICE NOW.  

FIRST OF ALL, DON’T LISTEN TO ANYONE WHO SAYS YOU CAN’T BECOME AN ARTIST OR MAKE MONEY OFF OF YOUR MUSIC BECAUSE YOU 1000% CAN.  YOU CAN REALLY DO WHATEVER YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO.  DON’T DOUBT WHAT YOU’RE CAPABLE OF. DOUBT IS YOUR GREATEST ENEMY AND IT’S THE ONLY THING THAT CAN GET IN YOUR WAY.  YOU’RE RUNNING YOUR OWN RACE AND YOU’RE ONLY COMPETING AGAINST YOURSELF, NOT ANYONE ELSE.  DON’T WORRY ABOUT ANYONE ELSE’S STREAMS OR WHAT ANYONE ELSE IS DOING, JUST FOCUS ON TRYING TO DO BETTER THAN YOUR LAST RELEASE. 

IN TERMS OF GETTING BETTER AT MAKING MUSIC, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS WRITING EVERYDAY. I THINK WRITER’S BLOCK IS A MYTH AND IT’S THE RESULT OF PUTTING TOO MUCH PRESSURE ON YOURSELF TO MAKE A HIT OR EVEN A GOOD SONG. YOU JUST TELL YOURSELF YOU’RE GOING TO WRITE A SONG EVERY DAY, IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE GOOD AT ALL, BUT ONCE YOU GET THAT MUSCLE GOING, ALL OF A SUDDEN YOU’RE WRITING SEVEN SONGS A WEEK AND MAYBE 2 OF THEM ARE REALLY GREAT.  CONSISTENCY ALL AROUND IS SUPER IMPORTANT WITH WRITING, POSTING, AND RELEASING. 

HANNAH: IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT YOUR FANS TO KNOW?

SAMMY:I JUST WANT TO SAY THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO LISTENS TO MY MUSIC. I’M JUST SO GRATEFUL FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO THIS. I RESPOND TO EVERY DM, SO IF YOU EVER WANT TO TALK JUST DM ME ON INSTAGRAM!  THE FACT THAT I GOT TO DROP OUT OF COLLEGE AND I GET TO DO WHAT I LOVE EVERYDAY IS SO COOL AND IT’S ALL BECAUSE OF EVERYONE WHO LISTENS TO MY MUSIC. I APPRECIATE EVERYONE SO SO MUCH AND I’M SO THANKFUL FOR YOU ALL!

LISTEN TO SAMMY’S MUSIC BELOW & BE SURE TO SAY HI ON INSTAGRAM & TIKTOK. HE ALSO RECENTLY RELEASED A MUSIC VIDEO FOR HIS SONG BEST FRIENDS WHICH YOU CAN CHECK OUT HERE!

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hannah hausman <3http://www.hanirl.com
hi i'm han. <3 i like indie pop music & writing things & making playlists & going to concerts <333