Sammi Garett Shares New Music, “With You”
Sammi Garett has released her first single, “With You,” from her forthcoming solo EP, Sweet Tooth. Sammi became synonymous with the color pink after nearly ten years as a vocalist for the Brooklyn-based funk group, Turkuaz. She describes 2021 as a crazy year full of ups and downs. On the highs, Turkuaz was touring with Jerry Harrison and Adrian Belew to celebrate the 40th anniversary release of Talking Heads’ album Remain in Light, and Sammi announced her engagement to her creative partner, bandmate and soulmate, Greg Sanderson. Then in November of 2021, the members of Turkuaz announced that they were parting ways, a shock to fans and the music community.
“I learned so much in the past year. I’m very grateful for all those moments and I wouldn’t change a thing,” said Sammi. “As my parents say, when one door closes, another opens.” Garett instinctively refocused her creative energies on writing. Sammi had long known the funk bassist Freekbass from touring circles, and she has been collaborating and touring with Freekbass & The Bump Assembly since 2018. So it felt right and natural to accept when Freekbass offered to produce her music. She soon found herself surrounded by support from her Bump Assembly bandmates. Freekbass, Sky White (keyboards) and Greg Sanderson joined her in the recording studio, but this time with Sammi at the wheel. Angie Wilson from Team Freek stepped in as artistic director to help bring Sammi’s visuals to life.
“I feel incredibly lucky to have such supportive fans, family and friends by my side, cheering me on,” says Sammi.
Sammi describes her sound as a mix of pop, electronic, soul, and funk. She wanted to capture the positive energy she was feeling and share that through her music. “With You” is a sweet, upbeat love song, and she knew Valentine’s Day would be the perfect day to share her first single and accompanying music video. Sammi admits that releasing her own music feels more vulnerable than her numerous band projects, but it’s a dream come true for this Berklee graduate. “It’s exciting, scary, nerve-wracking, empowering and the most awesome thing ever, all at the same time!” Sammi laughs.
Sammi will join Freekbass & The Bump Assembly on tour for 2022, and says they will be performing some of her solo tunes live, during Freekbass shows. Greg Sanderson will also be joining on saxophone, when he isn’t performing with his new project, “The Horn Section” featuring fellow Turkuaz alum, Josh Scwartz (Baritone Sax) and Chris Brouwers (Trumpet).
“I believe that everything happens for a reason. Change can be really scary but I truly believe I’m exactly where I need to be and I am beyond happy about it!”
“With You” by Sammi Garett is available on streaming platforms https://linktr.ee/sammigarett
You can get updates on her EP Sweet Tooth, coming summer 2022, as well as tour dates and more at SammiGarett.com
An Exclusive Interview with Sammi Garett
LMNR: How long have you been writing your own music?
Sammi Garett: I’ve been writing my own music since I was little. I was in a ska band in high school, I played drums and sang in the band and the first time I ever performed some of my/the band’s music live was at my high school’s battle of the bands! We were called One Horn Army, but surprise! We had TWO horns! Haha!
LMNR: Do you feel as if the ‘voice’ in your music is your own, or are you at times writing for other people?
Sammi Garett: I would say both. Sometimes I write and it’s my voice, from my point of view. Sometimes I am writing as if I was someone else, telling a story from their perspective. Or sometimes it’s just very abstract and I leave it up to the listener to interpret.
LMNR: How much did you allow the strengths and personalities of the players you expected to play on this album in to your head while you wrote?
Sammi Garett: I wrote these songs before I had brought them to anyone. So when I showed the tunes to Freekbass, they just naturally turned into what you hear today! It is great collaborating with other artists because something you see or hear one way, someone might have a totally different take on it and see it in a new and different light. So when I brought it to Freekbass, Greg Sanderson and Sky White, they put their own essence into it!
LMNR: How was your experience working with a producer?
Sammi Garett: Amazing!! Freekbass is family and we work really well together so it was very natural working on this tune together. We write really well together and it was so much fun bringing him one of my original songs to produce! He’ll be producing the whole EP!
LMNR: How it different to you to be playing your own material versus being in someone else’s band?/ Do you feel different pressures and challenges with your own music you don’t feel when performing someone else’s music?
- Sammi Garett: It’s the most incredible feeling! Getting to perform music you created and have people sing it back to you, review it and talk about it is something really amazing. It’s a dream come true! Music, I feel, is so personal and releasing my own music definitely feels more vulnerable than my other band-projects but it’s just as amazing because whenever I am performing music, it’s coming from me, if it’s my song or someone else’s. I want to make sure I give the music and the story it’s telling justice.
LMNR: Do you yet feel the pressure to be a band leader, or are you content to have some of your songs out and perform some of them within the context of the Bump Assembly?
Sammi Garett: I feel totally comfortable. This is something that I’ve always wanted to do and I am really excited that I get to perform these songs live with my Bump Assembly family!
LMNR: Since Freekbass is your producer on this album, is it a funky album, or a “funk” album?
Sammi Garett: I would have to say it’s a funky album. But I still have new music coming out so it could be both! Stay tuned!!
LMNR: In what ways did other elements and genres infuse this music? You’re known historically as a member of jam/funk band. How was it to veer from that genre and label explore things differently?
Sammi Garett: I just wrote what I felt and what I liked sonically. I love and listen to a lot of different types of music genres and I wanted to write something positive and happy. I would say it’s a mix of pop, electronic, soul and funk so it’s still close to home in the jam/funk world. I wanted to capture the positive energy I was feeling and share that through my music.
LMNR: What did you study at Berklee?
Sammi Garett: I studied vocal performance.
LMNR: We are so used to you as a vocalist, what relationship do you have with instruments? How did you write, or should I say what was your primary instrumental tool?
Sammi Garett: My first instrument is the drums. I grew up playing in the school band and marching band. And yes, I have pictures of me in the terrible marching band uniform, haha! I got my first drum set when I was 9 and have been playing ever since! I also play piano and guitar and that’s how I write my songs, on either piano or guitar.
LMNR: Do you feel like you got it out of you, or is this just the beginning of a whole ocean of music for you to write?
Sammi Garett: Oh, this is 100% just the beginning!!!! Lots more music and amazing things to come! Get ready!!
LMNR: Did your perspective as a performer change as a result of writing?
Sammi Garett: Not really, I write music that I would want to listen to and perform. I write what I would want to hear as a listener. I think about the audience, the fans, my friends, family, anyone listening to my music, I want to make sure they enjoy it and I enjoy it too! As a performer, I want to connect with people through my music and make them feel something.
LMNR: What can fans expect out of the rest of the album?
Sammi Garett: A lot more fun things! I can’t wait for everyone to hear what else I have in store!
LMNR: Pink… tell us all about it? How does the color vibrate with you? In what ways are you inspired by pink?
Sammi Garett: Haha! I love pink and I just feel like it represented my personality. Happy, bubblie, positive, sweet, but also strength, optimism, kindness and compassion.
LMNR: You mention your life partner as a contributor to the record. how was that? Is it difficult to separate personal you from writer/producer you?
Sammi Garett: Greg is amazing and he completely gets me. He is an amazing musician and it’s so easy to work with him. He is the most supportive and helpful partner; I am very lucky to have him in my life. It was so much fun and it’s really special doing this together. We have been working together since 2012 when I joined Turkuaz and have been together ever since. I’m excited to put out more music together!
LMNR: Pop music, live music has long been different for some women than it has for men. At the same time there has been a huge cultural evolution the last few years. What types of pressures have you felt in your life about being a certain feminine way on stage or on record? Has that changed in the last few years? Do you think younger women coming up in your wake will have a much different relationship as performing women than you had it just a few years ago?
Sammi Garett: I think it’s important to stand up and believe in yourself. You are your own best advocate so speak up for yourself. I feel like women in the industry can often be taken advantage of, but don’t mistake sweetness for weakness. It’s important to believe in yourself and sometimes it’s really scary to take that next big step or ask for what you want and need but if you never try, you’ll never know. So take that leap!
LMNR: What’s next for Sammi Garett?
Sammi Garett: So many amazing things so stay tuned!! And I want to thank everyone for their support. I am so happy and lucky to have you all with me on this awesome new but very familiar journey and this is just the beginning! I can’t wait for you all to see what’s next!
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