sami.the.great at Ghostlight Coffeehouse
By Justin Kreitzer
Photo: Brooklyn singer/songwriter Sami.the.Great will perform at Ghostlight Coffeehouse on June 2; photo credit: Laura Crosta
Brooklyn-based musician Sami Akbari, who also records and performs under the moniker sami.the.great, is currently on tour in support of her excellent self-titled debut album released in early 2012 by Bold Love Records. Well-regarded online music critics such as Daytrotter and in-the-know print magazines Nylon and Bust have been quick to praise her quirky brand of soulful indie-pop. Her unique sound marries a singer-songwriter’s spirit to infectious, Beatles-esque melodies along with a more modern take on the ‘60s girl-group sounds of The Supremes and The Ronettes.
Though small in stature, Akbari gives a powerful and commanding live performance that fits right in line with the passionate and easily relatable music she writes. She also possesses a playful sense of humor that shines both on record and in person. sami.the.great. will bring her indelibly catchy music and enthusiastic live show to Dayton for her very first appearance in the state of Ohio. Sami was gracious enough to take the time for an interview with the Dayton City Paper, giving some insight into her musical influences, her love of animation and plans to record new music; all in anticipation of her forthcoming Dayton show:
Your last tour, “The Great Animation Tour” was funded by your fans through a successful Kickstarter campaign. It featured psychedelic animation by Preston Spurlock projected behind you while you played. What was the inspiration for this idea and how did the fans seem respond to the animation aspect of the live show? Did you ever worry that the animation would distract the audience from you and your music?
I wanted to do something that was a bit more interesting than just me playing music, something a bit more special so that people were getting a visual with the audio besides just my adorable self (I kid, I kid). I was unable to do it at every venue, for technical reasons, but I think that the people who were able to see it were into it! But I don’t know if many people would tell me if they weren’t though. I hope people enjoyed it. I plan on using it more on the next leg of my tour as well. – Sami Akbari
So will your current spring and summer tour be more of a stripped-down and intimate affair this time around?
No! It will be more of the same; a fuller sound, but [with] just me playing. – SA
What do you like most about touring?
All the new, awesome, interesting people I get to meet along the way and getting to experience new and different towns and cities. And hopefully making new fans along the way! – SA
Have you ever played in Dayton? What brings you to the Gem City?
I have never played Dayton. I am looking forward to it! I have been wanting to play Ohio, so here’s my chance. – SA
What are some of your favorite bands from Dayton?
The Bengsons are awesome! They live in Brooklyn but they hail from Dayton. – SA
Your very promising debut album was released in 2012. Are you currently writing for a new album or are you working on any other new projects of note?
I am actually working on several singles that I plan on releasing digitally over a few months, hopefully starting in the fall. – SA
Will you be trying out any new songs for the fans on this tour?
I will be playing a couple new songs. I like them. I hope the folks out there who hear them will like them, too. – SA
From your press bio, it is clear that you are a huge fan of The Beatles, but what other music influenced you to start playing music and then what influences you now?
I’m always influenced by more classic, ‘50s/‘60s songs in general, but I have been really inspired by Little Dragon over the past year. They are now one of my favorite bands of all time. It’s interesting, I can find a band super amazing and inspiring, yet I’m not sure you’d always hear their influence in my music. But it’s gotta be in there somewhere, I’m sure. – SA
Hypothetically, what one current and one older song do you wish that you would have written yourself?
I’d say, “Thunder Love” by Little Dragon as a more current song. As for an older song, I’d have to say any song by The Beatles. It’s impossible to narrow it down to just one! – SA
Sami.the.great will perform on Sunday, June 2 at Ghostlight Coffee, 1201 Wayne Ave. Admission is $8 and the show starts at 9:30 p.m. For more information, visit samithegreat.com and ghostlightcoffee.com
Reach DCP freelance writer Justin Kreitzer at JustinKreitzer@DaytonCityPaper.com