Sam Short is a musician with greater than 350,000 followers on Tik Tok and 75 million views on her movies, largely unique songs. With solely two single information on main streaming companies, she continues to be one way or the other pulling in over 340,000 month-to-month listeners on Spotify. She sat on the precipice of her profession.
Sam and her buddy Azil had been in Yellowstone, tenting on an oval overlook constructing from a hidden financial institution the place they skinny dipped and drank Sangria within the afternoon. Azil had a gruff brunette beard and tooth crooked within the outward path of his smile. It was afternoon and Sam was consuming espresso along with her ft within the cool water. Azhil held his knees in his elbows. They had been speaking about making music.
“It’s that fine line between trying to be grateful for what you have and wanting more at the same time when you get any taste of success,” stated Sam.
“It’s not exactly like sports where that competitive mentality is going to produce technical and physical excellence,” stated Azil. “In your world, it’s weirdly about resources and artistry or personality – both of which require a real genuine fake. You know what I’m saying.”
Sam didn’t. More often than not, nobody did. It was a type of lovable like a child’s babble.
“I had all these songs, and I was like – what is there to do with these? And, honestly, I hated Tik Tok. I was never on it. I wasn’t even a user. I didn’t have any interest,” stated Sam. “I was writing for other people. I was writing for pitch. I was writing for me.”
“Tik Tok gets a heap of criticism,” stated Azil.
“Tik Tok is weird. The criticism to the app is one thing, but we can’t deny there’s talent in droves there,” stated Sam.
“There’s lots of undesirable things in droves there,” stated Azil.
“I think it’s dangerous for people who don’t have a back catalog,” stated Sam. “I think it’s dangerous for people who haven’t worked their muscles. I think it’s dangerous for people who don’t have anything to fall back on, not in terms of a career – I mean content or anything. I don’t think any artist’s career is an accident, but I do think that some songs can have accidental success.”
“Art is amputated from the artist,” stated Azil. “It can’t be controlled any longer. Though, I’d wager it can bleed.”
“That’s a very reasonable thing. I was always kind of afraid of that,” stated Sam. “I was like, if I post on Tik Tok, I don’t want to be a Tik Tok artist. I don’t want to be boxed in, and straight up I don’t want to be made fun of and sh**.”
“It’s got to be quiet out here, compared to LA,” stated Azil, “all those record men at your door.”
“I felt like it happened exactly like everyone says it does. All the labels you want reach out. All the people you wanted to get the attention of reach out. You get it literally immediately,” stated Sam. “And at first, you’re ecstatic; your dreams are finally coming true! What’s not disclosed in this process is: that doesn’t matter. Because ultimately, you’re not typically ready to be meeting or signing with these people.”
“When you come out of the gates with a successful song, people won’t expect anything less from here on out. So, it’s time to keep writing,” stated Sam.
Azil gave an inquisitive look and put the 4-liter bottle of sangria to his lips. It was the second bottle they’d purchased, and it was lacking a liter and a half.
“The work has just begun, and now you’re in this pressure cooker. And you’re on the clock, and you better figure out how to get the song ready, how to shoot the cover, how to get the music video, where you’re going to drop it, how you’ll distribute it, how you’ll get playlisted, and then what you’re going to do next, what the project is next,” stated Sam “And then there’s the project after that. And so, that’s where I am.”
“I got an idea for that CBS show Survivor. They should hide a bunch of little red rocks around the island and say three of them are worth a million dollars. Hunt,” stated Azil. “That way more people can win some Money.”
Sam stated, “Survivor?”
“It’s all about authenticity,” stated Azil.
“And you’d rather it also be about finding rocks?” stated Sam.
“I don’t know, maybe. I guess not. I just wish more people could get their hands on CBS’s Money,” stated Azil. “If there were rocks, I guess that would mean more responsibilities is all.”
“Authenticity isn’t the easiest thing to find without your friends. I was talking to my manager, and I was talking to my team, and they were like, okay, well you’re a songwriter. And that settled the matter,” stated Sam.
“They said, you’re not an artist. You don’t have any music out. So, the question is – do you want to release this song? Is this important to you? Are you just going to release this one as a little side hustle? Or if you do it – I mean you fully do it – you essentially have to do it with a bulletproof brand, and it’s not over,” stated Sam. “And my dumb a** is like, yeah, I wanna do it. I’m like, I’m ready. I wasn’t ready.”
“You took a leap of faith,” stated Azil.
“I definitely wanted to get started. I wanted to be ready, and maybe that’s enough or all there is or something else that’s unknowable and nice. After my first song went viral, I received massive editorial support. To which I was just like, what the f***? Everything was extremely confusing,” stated Sam.
“I’m surprised. When it came to what I wanted to release next, I felt like my first song wasn’t necessarily an authentic display of who I was. It felt very much like a song I wrote as a pitch record that accidentally went viral that I released like that. It didn’t feel like there was artistry behind that,” stated Sam. “I dove into figuring out what I wanted to say. And the song was a positive, empowerment song. I’m not positive nor empowered. I don’t know why the f*** this is my brand. I’m cynical — ha.”
“And yet strength pours out of your art,” stated Azil.
“Clearly there’s something about me that’s trying to say so because I have a lot of songs about empowerment and female power and being a woman,” stated Sam. “I had a moment of, clearly, this is what I’m trying to say. Maybe I just need to say it in a different way. And so, I spent the past few months shaping my music so it feels honest where I feel there’s a gap in the market.”
“There’s a Sam sized gap in the market,” stated Azil. “Maybe the muses don’t take direction. Maybe they do.”
Sam pushed Azil and stated ,“and the gap that I’m trying to fill is the iconic pop star. We don’t have the Katie Perry or the Christina Aguila or the Spears or the Gaga or these larger-than-life beings who have something to say and are punching it in in really provocative, crazy ways. Besides a few wonderful exceptions, no one’s doing that.”
“What’s the next meat dress?” Azil stated.
“Pop stars back then, you saw them in whatever, People magazine, and then you saw them on TV. Artists are so tangible these days. Now we’re extremely accessible,” stated Sam. “Trying to maintain any sort of mystique while also growing is virtually impossible. If you’re trying to grow as an artist right now, you better be on Tik Tok three times a day and on Instagram turning all those tricks. When you’re trying to build a brand that feels larger than life, that feels slightly unattainable. It feels impossible when Tik Tok is the vehicle for success today.”
“Label’s got your feet to the fire?” Azil requested.
“No, I’m not signed to a label right now. My team is really cool. They said, we don’t care about TikTok. We care more about your brand. We care more about what you’re trying to say,” stated Sam.
“That’s good. They sound tuned into there’s a zillion ways you can make things better,” stated Azil. “Sometimes if you don’t feel that way for long enough you can start telling yourself, everywhere I sit, I sit too long.”
“For the first time. I feel okay; I’m exactly where I need to be. And I know exactly what I’m trying to do,” stated Sam. “I feel like I have something to say, and I will say it. I want to say it in a big way. I want to say it in an arena, preferably at Madison Square Garden on the big mic giving a voice to the voiceless and empowering women sexually and emotionally.”
Azil laying on the financial institution took the wine to his chin and what didn’t attain his mouth poured down his cheeks onto the sand and his neck and chest.
“Even if you’re not the Gen-Z Katy Perry, your trajectory and your present moment are so rich with promise, you’ll land somewhere fine as a dime and twice as silver,” stated Azil. “There’s a zillion ways you can make things better.”