Everlasting may be the title of Sammie’s latest album. But it also adds a fitting nuance to the singer-songwriter’s music career.
Now 32, Sammie is one of the few to make the successful transition from pre-teen hitmaker to grown-up artist. He first gained notoriety around the turn of the century with the Gold-certified top 25 Billboard Hot 100 hit “I Like It.” Back on the scene with his fourth studio album — released his own imprint StarCamp Music, distributed by Empire — Sammie is now embarking on his first headlining tour. Having kicked off in Seattle on June 3, the tour will stop in Oakland, Calif. (June 6), Long Beach, Calif. (June 7), Houston (June 12), Chicago (June 16) and New York (June 20), among several other markets, before wrapping in Atlanta (June 23).
“It’s not easy going from teen star to adult,” says Sammie (born Sammie Lee Bush), who initially achieved fame on Capitol Records, and later signed with producer Dallas Austin’s Rowdy Records following a six-year hiatus to finish school. “I've gotten success the hard way; I've been independent 90 percent of my career… But I’m humbled and blessed to have the most loyal fan base in the business. I’ve been able to evolve so that there are teens who know me as well as original fans who’ve been with me through records released during different phases of my life.”
Those records include “Crazy Things I Do,” “You Should Be My Girl" (featuring Sean P.), “Come With Me,” and a guest turn on Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em’s “Kiss Me Thru the Phone.” As a songwriter, Sammie co-penned the track “Next Breath” for Tank’s 2012 album This is How I Feel.
He took the independent route after his first two albums, releasing third album Indigo through his StarCamp Music in 2016. That same year brought the I’m Him EP. The title track racked up more than 2.7 million Spotify streams and 1.9 million YouTube/Vevo views, while the project marked his partnership with Empire. In 2017, his Coming of Age album hit No. 11 on Billboard's R&B Album Sales chart. Sammie’s latest album Everlasting, released earlier this year, finds the singer-songwriter coming to terms with the man that he’s becoming.
“My mother told me when I was 17 that every good or bad relationship would have a lasting effect on the man I would become,” Sammie recalls. “This album of 13 songs is a concoction of all the awesome and bad experiences I’ve endured. I wanted to be transparent.”
He does just that on the no-holds-barred single “Face to Face.” His emotive tenor accurately pinpoints the angst that comes with confronting the truth head-on. “I been making lies true for way too long, I’m even tired of me” Sammie sings in his confessional. “Girl, I’ve come face-to-face with my infidelity.” The song’s video has already accumulated more than two million YouTube views.
“I had to look at myself in the mirror,” says Sammie, “and chisel out what I didn’t like. I think women appreciate when a man does that, and they can see the true man that’s there.”
Sammie wrote all the tracks and co-produced several as well. Among the album’s additional standouts are “Un-Love You” (“A universal record that’s very relatable to both women and men,” the singer describes), the sensual lovemaking track “Playlist,” “P.O.F.” and “Times 10.” The latter two tracks feature audio of Sammie’s family members and Lil Baby, respectively.
“’P.O.F.' is dedicated to my family, who have been there throughout my industry journey,” explains Sammie. “It shows the human being outside of the creative.” Of Lil Baby’s cameo “Times 10,” another sensual track, Sammie notes, “He got in the booth and knocked it out for me in 30 minutes after hearing the record the first time. So shout-out to him.”
In the meantime, Sammie has been spending time in the gym “getting my abs straight” as the Everlasting tour (“the first tour based around me and my ideas”) gets underway. He promises that fans will get a full dose of his melodic and polished style of R&B/soul, “with a little church and some love and pain but full of energy.”
“I’ve never been as confident and sure of my craft as I am today,” Sammie continues. “I could easily sell out and do the Auto-Tune thing. But I’ve always vowed to stay true to my gut, to always create my own lane.”