Our newest Spotlight – Samara Yung. We catch up with this talent artist to talk about growing up in a small town and her journey in music. She also lets us in on her thoughts about X-files and what she’s been doing during covid. Check out Things I can’t Turn off out now!
You grew up in a quite small town, you are from Yorkton Saskatchewan. What was it like growing up in such a small town?
I absolutely loved growing up in a small town. When most people were itching to leave, I was content to stay. I did move for a year to a bigger city and it was fine but there was no place like home to me. We have great friends here; and most of myself and my husband’s families are very close by. Family is the most important thing to me especially when raising our little family.
Now, you come from a music family, I know that your Dad was a big influence on you growing up, especially younger. Was it something that you felt pressured to do because of him? Or was it more of just something the 2 of you did for fun?
There was no pressure at all from my parents to be musical. I was actually a very dedicated competitive skater for like 10 years and competed in national competitions while music was just for fun on the side. Once I couldn’t skate anymore due to an injury, music just kind of took that time over. I think music is just kind of in my blood, you know? It’s truly a very special thing to be able to share with my dad. We have been on countless trips together all over the country and to Nashville for my music; and of course playing live. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Outside of the home, you had plenty of idols, from Pat Benetar to Jo Dee Messina. What was it about them that really resonated with you?
I think it’s their ability to tell stories with their music. Their strong female voices and “never give up” attitude is what I loved that most.
While as a solo artist you have been releasing music continuously since I believe 2008? Your first tour was back in ’06. Tell us a bit about those early days?
I think you are referring to my Saskatchewan Express days, which was a musical theatre touring group that I was hired for, for the 2006-2007 season. We sang and danced 10 hours a day, 6 days a week and did 2 different shows. One stationary show for a 2-week run at a theater in Regina and a second touring show that we took on the road for 4 months.
There were 9 cast members and 1 audio tech & tour manager. It was truly one of the best experiences of my life. I met the best people and truly got a taste of what it’s like to wake up every morning and love your job. There are many days I miss those people and that experience. I learned a lot about being a performer and singing all different parts along with dancing in a complete performance. It was a truly a humbling and amazing learning experience.
This year though, huge difference! Now you recently put out “In Case You Missed Me” arguably your big success of the year. Tell us a bit about the song, and what it means to you?
This song has a beautiful melody and pain. The ache behind the lyrics for losing and missing someone you love. She is truly hoping her lost love feels the same. It’s a wonderful take on a love story and I fell in love with it as soon as I heard it.
Not only did you surprise us with several singles this year, but they were also leading up to a full EP as well! Tell us about the album “Things I Can’t Turn Off”.
This album was 2 years in the making and I am so grateful to everyone involved in getting it out there. We had no idea when we started this project that we would be releasing it during a pandemic. But thanks to my manager, producer and all of the musicians and songwriters, I am so proud of the finished product! All of these songs have a story of their own to tell and collectively put together the story of love, loss and all of the feelings in between. When we were choosing songs for this project, we truly couldn’t turn off and so we put them all together in a neat little package; the track listing shows the progression of a love story, start to finish.
Over the last couple of years, you have worked with big names; Blake Shelton and Danick Dupelle from Emerson Drive, to name a few. How do you find the creative process works differently with say someone you have known your career length, vs someone who has been in the scene separately?
I think there is a comfort level with people you have known longer and can all a friend. I feel more comfortable just being me and I am more relaxed during the whole process.
When it comes to being an artist, there are so many moving parts. There’s song writing, there is playing the instrument, the performing itself. What part do you like more, and why? I know it is tough question, but I am curious.
Honestly this is not a tough one for me at all. Singing and performing is my favourite part and where I feel the most comfortable and at home. I don’t play an instrument because it feels like someone has tied my hands behind my back. Being a wife, mother and having another job other than being an artist, doesn’t leave me a ton of time or energy to truly dial in on my song writing skills. I am so grateful for all of the songwriters out there who are willing to share their talents with me.
After many years of touring, how do you find the crowds differ from province to province? Are there any performances that stand out strong in your memory?
One performance that stands out in my memory was when we performed at Extreme Mudfest in Bonnyville AB. I was quite nervous because I knew it was a new crowd for me, that crowd had never seen me before and most likely had no idea who I was. I was nervous but it was a truly amazing show. They even wanted an encore! That was an amazing feeling & I could really feel breaking new ground with my music.
As a woman in the music scene, what are some words of advice for newer female musicians that you would like to give, or advice that you wish someone had given you when you started?
Stay true to who you are and never give up. I was told by a manager at the very beginning of my career that I should just give up now because would never make it in the industry because I was female. But I didn’t let that deter me. There will always have people telling you that you can’t do it. You need to find the people who will stand beside and behind you through this crazy ride. You need people who believe in you even through the toughest times and believe me, there will be tough times. It’s a rollercoaster for sure, especially as an independent artist with no record label. Make music for you and always remember why you started.
Obviously Covid 2020 was a unique year. What were some things you did to stay grounded in quarantine?
Well, one of my other jobs is working full time in a pharmacy as a pharmacy assistant so I have never actually been stuck completely at home for an extended period of time. Obviously, my weekends and evenings look a little different, but I have continued to work even though it’s a bit scary and stressful. I have taken this time to truly have family time with my daughter, husband and parents and I have loved being able to actually stay home and see my daughter grow this year. I miss my travels and my performing but I’m trying to see the positive and embrace my home time.
Are you still a notorious points hoarder with your PC Optimum points?
Yes, I truly am! I have collected up to 1,000,000 points twice so far have bought our family 2 huge tv’s with those points. Movie nights rock in this house. And I am almost to 1,000,000 points again!
Favorite X-Files episode, and should Mulder and Scully have ended up together?
Oh that’s a tough one. I LOVE The X-files and grew up watching it. But one episode that scared me the most was the one about the weird creature that lived in the sewer and was half man half fish?! So weird! And yes, I think Mulder and Scully should have ended up together!
Covid has disproportionately hit smaller, independent places harder than most. What are some of your local favorite places to hype up?
I love these 2 little clothing stores in town called Losa Chic Boutique & Uptown Casuals. My amazing hair salon Rebel Hair is the best – and last but not least, my favourite little spin studio Inner Cycle Spin Studio, where I also motivate a couple times a week.
What do you want to say to fans and readers?
I hope my music can bring you some happiness during this tough time and that you can all see the beauty in everyday life. Believe in your dreams and one day they may all come true. Let’s stand behind each other through this crazy time and don’t judge one another. We are all doing our best to navigate this crazy world right now and through that we need more love, compassion and understanding.
With this Spotlight – Samara Yung finished, I want to say a big thank you to Samara for taking the time with us.
Check out Things I Can’t Turn off out now!
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