Samora Souprayen, Recording artist and Performer based in Holland is causing a tantalizing storm in the Reggae and Dancehall scene at home and abroad. Her captivating live performances, enchanting stage presence, vocal prowess and positivity laden lyrics, wrapped in a bubbly personality delivered with a dazzling smile sweetened with a pinch of soul and pop, intimates that Samora is here to stay and she is laying a solid foundation. She might possibly be the first solo act from The Netherlands and Suriname to make a break through internationally. She is fast gaining momentum and amassing a big and loyal fan base along the way. She brightens up your Timeline on her Social Media platforms with quirky motivational quotes and musings, as she tries to uplift and motivate others, especially her fan base.
She hails from Paramaribo, the capital city of Suriname, a country on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west and Brazil to the south. They speak Sranan Tongo, an English-based creole language, although Dutch is the official language. Suriname is considered to be a culturally Caribbean country known for the runaway African slaves known collectively as Maroons who established several independent tribes from different African ethnicities living in the adjoining rain forests.
At the age of 14 she moved to Holland and started honing her craft to turn her childhood passion into a career. She attended the Nederlandse Pop Academie in Utrecht, formed her own band and she would later turn her focus on to Reggae, the music most widely listened to in Suriname, although she came from a Gospel Family background. Her change in direction was reflected in the 2016 single Momma Said and in 2019 her debut album Moengo was released at the famous Paradiso in Amsterdam. When Tanya Stephens performed in Holland, it was Samora who was the opening act in 2018 and in 2019 she opened for Protoje. She would later go on to perform with her band in big events like Reeds Festival, Rastaplas, Swiss Reggae Festival.
She hit her mark with the release of “Free Up.” The lead single off the Female Reggae Voices, an international all-female riddim compilation, which saw her broadening her fan base beyond the Holland Reggae and Dancehall corridors. Her latest track ‘What you came for’ in collaboration with Lutan Fyah is in heavy rotation globally and marks her gaining ground as a rising sensation in Reggae,
Her music speaks to and resonates with many. Her discography includes notable songs such as Keep My Fire Lit, One And Only , Momma Said, Free Up, How Long (feat. Brother Culture); a repertoire that ranges from catchy and pumping Reggae tunes to fiery Dancehall and Afrobeat tracks. When we reached out to her to engage with us further about her life, music and tings, she responded to our questions with the same passion, zeal and liveliness that she oozes both on and off the stage or screen. And it go so.
Who is Samora?
Well, Samora stands for energy! I am full of life, love and joy. I try to motivate people and inspire people through my music. And I guess I appear very strong and confident. I am a versatile Reggae artist with a variety of other styles I mingle such as Dancehall, Afrobeats and R’n’B. Born and raised in Suriname, South America, I now live in Europe where I work as an artist and vocal coach.
Is this your official name or Stage Name? Or, were you named after THE Samora Machel, the African Revolutionary?
My official is also my stage name, Samora. My mother found the name while she was searching for names. She wanted to chose between Samira and Samora. So, no, there is no link to Samora Machel, but of course, a lot of people ask me this question!
Where did your journey with music start, particularly with Reggae, when things started to look up and you were convinced that this is it! I make Music.
It started at a very young age! I was surrounded by music since an early age and I think I talked about becoming a singer when I was only three years old. And when I was 12 years old I had my first solo performance in a Gospel choir, where I was singing like some of my family members. And yes, Reggae has always been a music style I loved, but as an artist I decided to focus on Reggae and Reggae based music with my single «Momma said» in 2015. I first made Pop and R’n’B, but then I decided to experiment with Reggae – and to my surprise it brought very beautiful things on my path. So I decided to continue with Reggae and before I knew it I made myself a name in the Reggae scene.
I had the voice, I had the talent, the ability to write songs, I had the dream and the will to become an artist – I always dreamt of becoming a superstar, LOL! But the turning point was when I surrounded myself with people that inspired me, when I approached people who had a name in the music industry and I found out that most of them saw my talent and were able to help me on my path in one way or the other. But it is a hard and long road and you really must know what you want, what your goals are!
Tell us a bit about the Reggae scene in Holland and Suriname and how it is like navigating it?
The Reggae scene in Holland and Suriname is similar and also not. In both countries you’ll find lots of people who like this style, but in Suriname it is maybe more rough, more party-like, more free-minded, and in Europe everything is more organised. The vibe is different, both positive, but in Suriname you can go more crazy than in the Netherlands.
Navigating in the industry is not easy. The thing that always helped me is staying humble. As a musician you always want to improve, to get better. You have to keep moving and believing in yourself no matter what some people might say or do! Sometimes you get back stabbed but then you have to stand up on your feet again and prove to them that you are bigger and you know what your worth is!
I am trying to think of a female Reggae artist outta NL who has had an international breakthrough and I can’t think of one (my ignorance), could it be that you are the first?(for NL and Suriname).
I have never paid attention to this question, LOL! It could be! Because I don’t really know a lot of female artists who do the same as me to be honest…
What are the biggest challenges you face as a singer?
It is not easy to climb higher in the game. You make a plan in your head how you want to level up, but it is definitely hard work that pays off. Every new goal is a new challenge! Getting your music on the radios, getting the right producers, the right team, the right musicians to work with. So I can’t name a biggest challenge – everything is challenging. But as I said: if you believe in your talent, your strength and you don’t compromise or sabotage yourself, you’ll be able to do it!
What has been your highlight, so far, in your career?
There has been many highlights: my first single, the first big open air, being on the cover of an international fanzine. I am thankful for all of these steps. But the first big festivals are of course achievements you don’t want to miss: «Zwartecross»–, «Reggaelake»- or «Reeds»-Festival are three highlights for example that you‘d definitely not like to miss. But all other shows and experiences kept me going, so basically almost everything I achieved was and still is a highlight!
Your music catalogue is impressive, what is your all time favourite song and which one is more liked by your fans?
My favorite song is «Me Na Fallin». Everytime I sing it I get the same feeling and motivation. And I think the songs that my fans like the most are «Me Na Fallin», «Free Up» and my new single with Lutan Fyah, «What You Came For».
When you pen down your songs, which comes first, Melody or lyrics?
Usually the lyrics come first! Once the beat kicks in there is a type of feeling, a type of emotion, something that inspired me. And after the word, there come the melodies.
The collaboration with Lutan Fyah is hot, how did the collabo come about? and the visuals are fresh. Did you have an input in the conceptualisation of the imagery/theme?
Around the years 2007 and 2008 I became a big fan of Lutan Fyah’s music and I listened to his songs very often. I therefore attended a live show in Amsterdam two or three years later and I was blownaway by the live performance and – standing in the first row – sang along most of the songs… Something Lutan would remember a couple of years later. We met the first time in person, again in Amsterdam, when I got introduced to Lutan through my old band members. I showed him around the famous Dutch city, we became good friends and soon we started to talk about a collaboration.
When my manager and producer Res Staudenmann sent me a couple of instrumentals in 2018 in order to make a song collaboration with his Open Season, I picked one riddim and decided sending it to Lutan to start the project we been talking about.
Lutan took the first step and went in the studio in Jamaica in 2018. The idea was to finish the song and release it in 2019, after my debut album «Moengo», but it took the production team and me some extra time and several steps to finalize the song. After recording the chorus and his verses, Lutan sent the vocal tracks to the production team where they were saved on a hard disk, that quit service only a couple of days after… So they had to be looked for in the studio in Jamaica again. For a couple of weeks the tracks were believed to be gone. Luckily they weren’t. So they were sent to Europe again and this time I could finally write and record my verses and the backing choirs. During the lockdown due to COVID the production team could make the final retouches on the production, mix and master it and make the song ready for distribution.
And since I couldn’t go to Jamaica to shoot a video, we decided to record footage in Jamaica and in Europe and to create something special «from a distance».
2020 has been particularly weird and crazy, but also seem to have been your busiest, having put out 5 impressive singles, How did you manage to keep sane and continue on your lane like that?
It has been a weird year! Almost not being on stage, not being connected live with my audience and my band as well. But it gave me the chance to focus on new releases as well, with a higher tempo. So it was not only a bad year, I’d say. But ofcours I’ll be very happy to go perform live, hopefully next year, again! Covid or not Covid, we’re still going for it! I have to keep on pushing.
What or who motivates Samora?
This can be music, a smile, people surprising me. In one word: life! The ups and downs in life. You can feel low, twenty minutes later feel good and motivated again. So it is the wave of life that motivates me!
Where to from here? When can we expect to see you in the Motherland?
That is always a good question. I want more! I am happy and satisfied, there are beautiful things happening, and they keep me pushing further and wanting to reach more! So there will be more music, more videos, more collaborations and I always want to improve and climb higher. You know I want to have international tours, big stages, to be honest! This is really something I want to experience. I want to feel the people, the audience and their love. I hope this brings me to the Motherland very soon!
First of all: Thank you for this interview! And to all of you people following me on my Social media channels, Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and all of those platforms! This means everything to me. You’ll find me on @samoramusic everywhere.
And if I may give an advice to my fans: just stay true, stay humble, but always keep on believing in reaching your goals. Go for what you want to go for!