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Singer-songwriter Samia dazzled in sold-out show at First Ave

The Brooklyn-based artist performed her new album, “Honey,” with energy, emotional honesty and a few surprise guests.
Image by Cole Bursch
The Minneapolis-based artist Caleb Wright was the executive producer of Samia’s new album and joined her on stage on Friday.

Art pop singer-songwriter Samia performed Friday at a sold-out First Avenue, presenting a set overflowing with complex lyricism and ethereal vocals from her newest album, “Honey.”

Through her mighty vocal melodies, daringly honest lyrics and energetic dancing, Samia’s live performance engaged the audience in new ways. Samia’s music navigates the anguish and euphoria of her mid-20s life with melodic ease.

Samia sang “Breathing Song,” a heartbreaking ballad about a traumatic relationship, with only a piano player backing her. Samia demonstrated vocal range and distinct capability for conveying intense experiences as she belted the last notes of the song through visible tears.

Other ballads like “Winnebago” off her first album, “The Baby,” featured the full band’s booming instrumentals on the outro while she sang, “I wanna be your poetry, I’m sick and tired of bluffing.”

In an interview with the Minnesota Daily, the Minneapolis-based artist and executive producer of her new album, Caleb Wright, recently shared his experience writing with Samia.

“We would get together and talk a lot about everything. Then we would go our separate ways for a bit and both write,” Wright said. “Through that process, we sort of spiritually shaped this concept and emotional bandwidth for what the album was.”

The title track off of “Honey” is a playfully cynical tune Wright helped write over voice messages and texts with Samia. Wright joined Samia onstage at the show for the last chorus of “Honey.” The two friends raised their arms in exclamation at the end of the song and then hugged each other.

“Whew, thanks for letting us do that. That was a spiritual experience for us,” Samia said with a laugh.

Minneapolis-based alternative artist Papa Mbye also joined Samia on stage while she performed “Mad at Me,” featuring Mbye. The synth-heavy production combined with the song’s catchy melody had the crowd singing and dancing.

For one of the encore songs, Samia’s friend and Minneapolis-based artist Raffaella sang “Shaking the Can,” from their supergroup Peach Fuzz. Their music sounded both melodically conversational and joyful.

Tommy Lefroy, the opening act consisting of Tessa Mouzourakis and Wynter Bethel, mixed their vocals with Samia’s during an intimate rendition of “Dream Song” that featured the three singers effortlessly harmonizing together.

Samia’s performance ended with the rising star declaring her love for Minneapolis and its music scene before a passionate rendition of her song “Show Up,” in which she sang, “Nothing could ever stop my ass from showing up, to sing another song for the people I love.”

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