Six years ago, a young singer with a devilish smile and the voice of an angel dropped the single “I Like It”Â off his debut album, From the Bottom to the Top, which quickly went platinum. Setting the style for a youth movement that would hit the hip-hop scene hard, 18-year-old Sammie took a break to focus on finishing his education. All grown up and equipped with a deep voice, even deeper ballads, and an elite squad of producers, the R&B crooner is ready to make a comeback.
It’s been a while since your first album was released. Why did you wait so long to put out another one?
I just graduated high school, class of ’05 – so my family and I, we decided it was best to finish up high school.
Why did you feel that you didn’t even want to dabble in music all these years while you were in school?
With the first album, it all just happened so fast. I couldn’t go to school like I wanted to. I couldn’t play basketball and baseball like I wanted to. I wanted to feel what it was like to go to homecoming, and go to prom and all of the things that every teenager should experience in life. It was the best four years of my life. It was just good to experience being an average, everyday student.
Tell me a little bit about your new album.
I worked with some amazing producers like Dallas Austin, Bryan-Michael Cox, Jazze Pha, Daron [Jones] from 112. It’s kind of like my lil’ baby right now because I got to co-write the album. I got to express my thoughts on paper and be creative. This album is just more fun. It’s real simple. It’s something people can sing along to.
Which track on your album can you really relate to at this point in your life?
It’s a song called “My Own Way”Â. It’s dedicated to my mother. It’s telling her that I’m 18 now and to allow me to leave the nest and explore life and pursue my dreams. And basically become a young man. I think parents have a hard time letting go, especially when you become self-sufficient and independent and you feel like you really don’t need them as much. So, she’s going through that transition right now – I guess that [song] would be the most heartfelt.
How do you think R&B has changed since you put out your last album?
There’s a lot of R&B dudes out there right now and there is competition, but as far as where it’s at, the young generation is doing their thing.
What kind of image are you hoping to portray to your younger fans?
I just want to show that you can be educated and be a star. I just want to have class in everything that I do.
Do you think your music will connect with fans from six years ago or do you think you’re attracting a whole new generation of fans with this album?
It’s both, I think. A lot of my fans are the same age as me anyway, somewhere between 17-19 years of age. With the younger fans, I’m surprised that a lot of 12 year olds, to this day, still remember the song “I Like It”Â, which meant they were like 4, 5, 6 years old.
Your new single is called “You Should Be My Girl”Â. What do you look for in a girl?
I’m single right now. But, first off, she’s got to be God-fearing. And definitely have ambition. I love girls that have their own thing going on. Also, [she’s got to be] humble and she’s got to have a great personality. Someone who can have fun and knows how to joke around. Physically, I like pretty eyes and nice hair. I’m a chump for that. But if a girl can make me laugh when I’m having a bad day, that’s real.
What’s it like to be on tour?
I’m actually on tour right now in Cincinnati. There’s no better feeling than being on stage. I just want to get back in touch with my fans since I’ve been gone so long. I really appreciate the love they’ve been showing.