Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Melisma meets charisma on Sam V’s latest single “Cruisin”

Sam V kicks off the Kiwi summer like only he knows how. His latest release, Cruisin’, is a true team effort by Sam V and fellow Y$O members, producer EDY and Papatoetoe’s bKIDD. We spoke to the ‘Young & $lept On’ co-leader on the release of Cruisin’ and what Covid has meant for him creatively.

It’s been just over a year since you dropped ‘I MADE THIS WHILE’. What have you learnt about yourself since that album?
Lots of little things – business savvy, coordinating things, maintaining productivity. I think all my learnings have just reaffirmed my unshakable self-belief and passion for what I’m doing at the moment.

You’re perhaps one of the most prolific artists in New Zealand right now. Describe where you feel you are now as an artist on your musical journey.
Ahh thanks, that’s kind of you to say. I’ve been chipping away musically for a while, but I’m definitely still building and learning through mistakes. I think one day my journey will be a good lil’ documentary.

With social norms changing under Covid-19, how have you managed your own creative process in times like these?
I’m an extravert and a pretty big character – I feed off the energy in a room and really enjoy the process of collaborating and performing. Lockdown circumstances definitely challenged all of that. It forces you to consider other ways of doing things.

Did the lockdown help or hinder your creativity?
Probably hindered. We were still productive and managed to jam a few livestream festivals during lock down and jam writing sessions over Zoom. But like I said, I’m super big on being in the room with someone else and creating some magic. Tell ya what though, I’ve got some explosive material in the library which I hope you can all hear soon.

‘Don’t Stare’ with Juwan was also a recent release of yours. What inspired that sound for that track?
We were jamming samples on Splice and found the lil’ intro ting. EDY and I found it pretty striking and it just went from there; brought Juwan over, talked some smack, had a laugh, laced the verse and boomfa, new track.

You’ve been sitting on the Cruisin’ track since April’s ‘Y$O Lock down festival’. What has kept you so busy to only officially release the track now?
We actually wrote Cruisin’ last December! But we knew the track was a gem so wanted to build a neat package around it, especially visually. So we just keep jamming and consequently figured we’d do an EP too. It was tough keeping the lid on it, though.

What is the story of ‘Cruisin’?
Birds, bees, plumbing, chimes & sparkles. Oh la la la.
But if you’re asking about how it came out, EDY had the beat spare and got bKIDD to sprinkle his magic on it. They hit me up for a hook, so I did a hook and was naughty and laced a verse too.

What inspired the instrumentation and musical style of Cruisin’?
R&B la la la la sexy time. Edrick whipped up the beat with Dan Waterson on drums and we built on the live vibes with Aaron Strickland on bass, Alan on guitar and some extra drum work by Angus Grainer. I think anyone can enjoy it.

It’s always great to put your team on. What was it like filming the beach side clip with the cast and bKIDD?
Music videos are seki. Probably some of the best stories come out of them – van rentals, crashes, airbnb’s, early wake-ups, people coming late, bKIDD telling you he’s not coming only to appear anyway (on time). Cruisin’ was grand, though. Everyone was super keen to get amongst it (Broke Boi Ace, The WesternGuide, Crystal Chen, Xenith, Chris Bates, Ron dawg, Aidan Fine & JARNA).

There are many elements in the music video itself. What did you want to show the viewer with your clip?
Connor helped heavy with bringing that vision to life. I just wanted something simple, elegant and strange which gradually unveiled more and more shenanigans.

You’ve collaborated with bKIDD on “Ain’t Slowin’ Down”. What is it like to work with the ‘Milkman’ again?
He’s one of the best and most underrated emcees that New Zealand has. He’s also a super charismatic performer, which makes our collaborations more powerful and strong.

The last few releases have included guest verses from frequent collaborators. How important is collaboration to you as an artist?
I’m a big advocate for the ol’ collaboration; bringing different worlds and ideas together is the good stuff. Makes for a more varied listening experience.

EDY & yourself lead the Y$O collective. What have you been working on in regards to the wider Y$O?
Just developing as a group. We’ve got some nice juice in the bag, though. Can’t wait to show you.

Cruisin’ is the perfect addition to any R&B playlist track. Who else would you put on this playlist with you?
From New Zealand? Bailey Wiley, Paige, JARNA, Villette, Aidan Fine, sprinkle in a lil Tazman Jack and Niko Walters. And abroad I’d go with DVSN, Summer Walker, Joe, Brent Faiyazz & Teyana Taylor.

bKIDD and SAM V are also set to release solo projects before 2020’s end

By Nayte Matai’a Davidson




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