I first came across the name ‘Sam Rui‘ when I scoured the lineup of St. Jerome’s Laneway Singapore music festival and decided to check her out – I’ve been a fan ever since. Which is precisely why I can’t wait for her debut album ‘Season 2’ to be launched on 30th June 2017.
Sam presents a style of alternative R&B that is effortlessly raw and honest, demonstrating her ability to weave in facets of other genres. This flexibility complements her unique voice and lyrics, resulting in a sound that is distinctly her own.
In May 2016, the track ‘Boys’ exploded on Spotify’s Fresh Finds Playlist, reaching 200,000 play counts within a week. Since then, audiences at Laneway Festival Singapore 2017, Raising the Bar Music Festival Malaysia 2017, Ultra Singapore 2017 and SHINE Festival 2017 have witnessed her talent.
Sam’s abiding interest in music started at a young age, during which she sang alongside her parents in the church choir. She grew up listening to classic records her father played at home, citing Pop and R&B in the 2000s as an early music influence. Sam also draws inspiration from JoJo, Britney Spears, Bryson Tiller, Bon Iver, The Weeknd, Kehlani, NAO and DEAN, among others.
She began writing her own songs at age 16. At 20, she was introduced to her current producer GROSSE. Work on her debut album got off the ground shortly after.
Produced by GROSSE, Season 2 is a full-length album charting Sam Rui’s development from a lost, volatile young girl to a sure-footed 21-year-old woman. It conveys Sam’s first taste of intense heartbreak and the subsequent confusion, disappointment and loneliness she experienced in what she calls “the most transformative year of her life”. What started out as a means of personal catharsis for Sam has become a testament to the emotional turmoil of young adulthood and the growth that follows. Sam hopes for Season 2 to resonate with many listeners and, in the bigger picture, propel alternative R&B into the consciousness of mainstream Singapore music.
‘Never Be (Let It Go)’ was released end May 2017, and is the prelude to the rest of the album. Sam describes this slow-burner as “a bridge between the old and the new me”, adding: “I particularly liked how this single was made, as it did not follow the usual formulaic structure like the rest of the songs. I had planned to write a second verse for this track but when GROSSE and I replayed what we had so far, we realised that as short as the track was, it was complete. Nothing more was needed.”
As an extension of ‘Never Be (Let It Go)’, Sam wrote the introspective ‘20,000’ as the final track of the album. Despite its notable sonic departure from her earlier singles, Sam felt it to be a necessary addition to the album, bringing it to “a full circle”.
Other previously released singles – ‘Down’, ‘Boys’, ‘Better’ and ‘Solid Gold’ – are included in Season 2. The album also includes two collaboration tracks featuring underground free-form electronic performer F∆UXE and rapper Omar Kenobi.
“My music reflects elements from a few genres, but every track on the album is rooted in authenticity – in the way I wrote them and in the way GROSSE created the soundscapes,” she says, explaining, “The album is something different, but the music is something real and relatable.” The result of this approach, coupled with Sam’s unique vocal tone, is the distinctive sound the singer is known for today. – Sam Rui
ABOUT ‘SEASON 2’
Produced by: GROSSE
Engineered by: GROSSE
Recorded at: Singapore
- Don’t Lie
- Your Girl
- Down (feat. F∆UXE)
- Solid Gold
- Let’s Get Coffee (feat. Omar Kenobi)
- Never Be (Let It Go)
Check out her out on Spotify: