Self start to stardom

Samara Samad’s self produced album Through the End of a Paper Straw



Samad set up a home studio in her bedroom over the summer

Anna Izquierdo, Staff Reporter

When asking people in the Mount Pisgah community how they spent the early months of the pandemic, only one can say they wrote, produced, and released an album. This talented musician is senior Samara Samad who chose to pursue music in the unceratinty of this year. 

Through the End of a Paper Straw, released this September, can be streamed on most music platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music. Samad started work on the album in 2016 and decided to fulfill this longtime dream of hers during the several months at home. 

The senior has always been a big music advocate, and parallel to “learning how to play music, [Samad] began writing songs.” 

“I think the first song I wrote was when I was ten,” Samad remembered. “Granted it wasn’t a good song, but I’ve always been writing.”

“Going into high school, my writing started to develop,” said Samad. “I decided that I wanted to record some of the music that I’d written, but I never got around to it.”

Since then, Samad decided that 2019 would be the year to begin producing an album. She began planning for it by deciding the songs she would record, the equipment she would use, and which company she would work with to distribute her music to the world. 

“My inspiration for my songs was mainly because of my favorite band, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Lana del Rey, whom I’ve always looked up to,” said Samad. “Stevie Nicks was also a major inspiration because I love her and her music so much.”

“My parents were my main supporters throughout this entire process,” Samad said. “Whether it be that they bought me Chipotle after a hard day at work or sliding sweet notes under my door while I was recording.”

Other supporters during the exhausting process were Fresh Air band leaders David Darnell and Orrin Swayze, who helped Samad grow her skills as a musician. Bible teacher and football coach Mike Forester told Samad that he would be the first to buy her album when it came out, making the project feel real.

College counselor Susan Reilly was also a big advocate for Samad over the summer. The musician is especially thankful for Latin teacher Clay Kelsh for always supporting and being there for her. 

“I’m fascinated by perspective and different perspectives, so this was my idea for the title [of the album],” said Samad. “When we look through a straw, we are only able to see a small circle of the world around us, but when we take the straw away, the whole world is seen, and we have a change in perspective.”

Certain songs in the album were inspired by observations, conversations with friends, or things Samad learned at school.

She became inspired to write “Words Aren’t Enough” after reading The Great Gatsby in her AP Language and Composition class last year and wanted to write as if Gatsby was writing a love letter to Daisy.

“Sister Chamber’s Freedom Song” also came to life when Samad read The Aeneid in her AP Latin class. 

“‘Sister Chamber’s Freedom Song’ [is my favorite song inv the album] because it has so many Easter eggs in it relating to The Aeneid,” the senior stated. “There are several allusions that… AP Latin kids can figure out…[but] other people might not catch them.”

Within the instrumental production of her music, Samad played the acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and piano. Additionally, she used a keyboard to produce the synth, electric bass, bells, and violins along with other sounds.

“I set beats and programmed the musicality so that it came out how I wanted the drums to sound,” the musician said. GarageBand was used to program the drums in her songs, as the song writer did not have the opportunity to play them while quarantined. 

From her song “The One I Want to Know,” Samad has several lyrics which contain sentimental meaning to her. 

“I don’t even know how much I don’t know. My mind is a finite box,” sang Samad. “Though these lyrics may seem weird, these lyrics are some of my [favorites]. The idea of how much we don’t know came to me one day in AP Latin [when] Mr. Kelsh was talking…, and he said to think about what we know and what we don’t know.” 

She wanted these specific lyrics in “The One I Want to Know” to highlight our humanity and the fact that there is an endless amount of things in our world that we have no idea about. And that’s okay because that is what makes us human.

“To me, these lyrics are an expression of how God is so much greater than us, [and that] He knows everything,” said the song writer. “It hurts my brain just to think about what I don’t know.”

During the final stages of production, Samad could not have been prouder of her accomplishments and the fact that she was able to make this long-term dream of hers a reality. 

“I’m extremely grateful for the support I’ve received from this album.” Samad said. “It means the world to me, [as] there were times…I wanted to give up. It was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. Each song was probably [more than thirty] hours of work.”

“With everything I do, I want to give God the glory,” Samad added. “This album is for His glory. I’m thankful for the blessings He’s given me and the wonderful people He’s put in my life to support and inspire me.”

The support and love of her first album, Through the End of a Paper Straw, has encouraged Samad more than ever to pursue music through her writing and production and make future releases.