Sami Stevens and the Man I Love

Tell us your real names, country of birth, date of birth and childhood experience.

I am Sami Stevens, and the Man I Love is Kazemde George, Noah McNeil, Eitan Akman, Bob Edinger and Jed Lingat. They play the music, and for the most part I write it. There is more and more collaboration between us though. I was born in central Maine, to a fine artist mother and a lawyer father, in a very wooded area, with lots of lakes and trees. It was a bucolic type place to grow up. I had a lot of time and space to use my imagination and touch the mud. I wasn’t allowed to watch a lot of TV. Thanks, Mom.

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Tell us about your music career, band name, musical background, experience and skills.

I got into music in High School, and I was really into Jazz at that age. Improvising was the most exciting thing to me, that you could just make it up as you go along. So I went to school for Jazz at the New England Conservatory, studied briefly in Paris, and then I moved to Brooklyn almost three years ago now. A few months after I got here, I formed the Man I Love with some guys I knew from the scene. Except for our sax player, Kaz. We met in school at NEC, and moved down from Boston around the same time. We’re in love coincidentally… So first the band was called Sami Stevens and Her All-Star Band, which was always kind of a place holder name. I liked that format of band name, Sami Stevens and the blah blah blah, but it wasn’t until I considered this Billie Holiday Song, the Man I Love, that I felt like the name sounded right, like it reflected something accurate to who we were. I am very influenced by the tradition of Jazz singing, and I wanted to reference that in some way in our name, because of how important it is to me. In terms of my skills and experience, I currently sing in about six or seven bands, including Tredici Bacci, which is my other main project. Its a fake Italian Soundtrack band. It’s very special, check it out for sure. All of these guys have other projects. They are all very special, sensitive musicians. I’m insanely grateful that they play my music.

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Tell us about your genre, concept and idea behind your music video and the song.

So we play some kind of cross of Soul and RnB and Jazz music. You just have to hear it, I guess. Genres are only relevant several years after the fact, I think. The concept of the band, to me, is music as therapy. Honesty. Complex ideas music and lyrically, but hopefully nothing forced, nothing contrived. The song “Baby Blue” is about loving someone who is struggling in life. It’s about loving them so deeply that you see them almost as a child, their most vulnerable and naked. The second half is about imagining them in a dream, flying over the city, alone with the stars, looking down on the lights. Imagining them alone in their sadness, but wishing them that fleeting relief, that wonder a dream can give you.

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Tell us everything that we need to know about you as a musician and the ups and downs you have faced in the music business.

Oh god, I don’t know. I try not to focus on the negative, although there have been ups and downs. The great thing about sadness is that you can always sing a song and have a cry. You can write some of your best songs that way. Just don’t drink too much and you’ll be fine.

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Tell us about other members of your band, music producer, crew or music video director, how the song was recorded and how the music video was shot.

The video was made by a fantastic Filmmaker Giovanni Martins. He usually does fashion photography, but was down to work on this for a bit instead. We shot in front of a green screen in Greenpoint and used footage of ink in water too. He told me he had to throw away about half of the footage because the makeup artist put lip-gloss on me and so I kept doing this unflattering type thing with my lips… it was bad. It was a learning experience. But all’s well that ends well and he edited around it. Thank you Gio!

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Tell us how long you have been in the music industry, your experience and your future goals.

I’ve been singing since the fifth grade, and I already told you about school and whatnot… really I’m just focused on the future. I want to keep connecting with people, I want my writing to improve, I want the finished products I make to improve. I want to continue to peel back the layers of all the bullshit holding me back. Mostly within myself. I’m excited for the future. I’m ready.

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Tell us what inspires you to write, compose and sing.

Lyrically, life. I like complex feelings. Even my love songs have a tinge of sadness. And the sounds of words. English can be a very fun language to sing in if you eat it all like the apple that it is. Musically, I like little puzzles. Little perfect songs that contain enough surprises and enough of what your ear is comfortable with, worlds of their own. I like writing Pop songs over Jazz chords, but funky, or at least something you can lean to.

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Tell us the secret behind making a hit song.

A hit song? I don’t know if I know how to make a hit song. I would rather make a good song, one with meat. So far I don’t feel like I’ve found any secrets behind that. I feel I’m only scratching the surface of writing, and especially arranging. The field is so vast and the history is so rich, I feel that I’m only just beginning. That’s why I’m so excited for the future! See, it makes sense.

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Tell us the message you will like to pass to your fans out there.

I love you. You are more appreciated than almost anything else in my life. You make me feel not crazy, like there is a place for me. Thank you for your ears and your time and your patience and love.

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Tell the kind of advice you will give to an upcoming artist.

Hmm… Don’t let fear hold you back. I find that fear and anxiety is far more often the reason that people can’t progress, as it holds them back from even trying in the most tiny, yet most vital ways. You must accept that you will fail over and over. Be like a monk of failure. Seek out situations in which there is a high likelihood that you will fail. Eat up the failure, drink it up like wine. Once that fear loses its power you will be undefeatable. Children know how to be wrong over and over again, because that’s what school is, that’s what we make them do all day. Keep that. Keep learning.

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Elaborate on your music careers, albums, songs, tours, recognition or awards you might have obtained.

Haha oh goodness… For that information I will direct you to samistevensvoice.com

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List Radio or TV Stations that are airing your songs and blogs that have featured you as well and send message to them via this platform.

Shouts to Broadtube. And here we are. Is this an appropriate time to thank my label, Leesta Vall?

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Tell us how you write your lyrics, compose, sing and record in the studio.

You’re making me give away all of my secrets! I will say that I spend a lot more time focused on performing than on recording. Recording is like the last thought with me generally. And here’s my tip to singers: be like a dancer, be light on your toes. Don’t lock your knees. Stay active when you’re singing. It helps a lot. Especially in the studio when you are getting zero energy from the crowd… or lack thereof.

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Name five biggest artists that you like.

Vulfpeck, Emily King, Carmen McRae and Kendrick Lamar. Recently I discovered Aldous Harding so I’ll put her on that list too.

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Name the artists you have collaborated with before in your songs or artists you are willing to collaborate with in the future if you have the chance to do so.

There are a lot of artists I would love to collaborate with in the future. Right now I would love to collaborate with J Most, the producer and guitar player on Emily Kings stuff. He is very special in my mind.

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Give us the links to your website and your entire social network.

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Give us the links to your various stores for fans to buy your music.


Leesta Vall Records

Band Site (Album Release Page)

http://www.samistevensvoice.co m/and-im-right/

iTunes Page

https://itunes.apple.com/us/ar tist/sami-stevens-and-the-man- i-love/id1293014033

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Tell us about your happiest day and saddest day.

My happiest day? I have no idea. Maybe one day I will have kids. That seems like some magical human shit right there, I think that would top it for me. My saddest day…. I don’t know. Part of me doesn’t think it wise to reach too far for that memory. Let’s let it fade.

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Tell us how you would spend a million dollars.

Oh god I wouldn’t spend it, I would put it in the bank! How lame an answer is that… I was raised in New England, that’s how we do it up there. We save money. But also I would travel. And take cabs. The train in NYC these days will really ruin your life if you let it. Rich me would take cabs for ever and ever.

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