She’s paving her own path with no regrets.
This generation is breaking the mold when it comes to doing whatever the hell it is that you want to do with your life. And for good reason. How many times have we all had the weight of choosing a life path bring us down? Not you? Ok. SoSuperSam is no stranger to not having it all figured out either. But with hard work and time, her less than traditional career path has started to make sense to her and everyone watching. From dancing backup for Miley Cyrus to touring the world as a DJ with Soulection, and starting the legendary 143 R&B night, SoSuperSam has proven just how possible (and badass) it is to become a Jane of all trades. We sat down with the former PR rep, backup-dancer-turned-DJ, and so super talented singer-songwriter to get a closer look at the building blocks along the way.
We recently discovered that your stage name actually came from your fashion blogging past. Can you tell us about that?
Ha, yes! Sosupersam was originally my fashion blog name—it was my pastime when I was bored at my office job. It stuck because of the way I speak as an LA girl—I always describe things as “so super cute” or “so super fun.” So I’m sosupersam. When I started DJing, I just kept the name. Plus, I already had the Twitter handle. I like it—it’s fun and weird.
You’ve had a lot of different jobs–backup dancer, DJ, copywriter, and ahem, fashion blogger–you were part of the whole slashie generation before it was really a thing. Tell us about your trajectory.
I’ve always been half academia and half super creative. I’ve always had a creative outlet so I think over the past 10 or so years –I’ve gone back and forth between the two worlds for a while. Now, I feel like they merge a little better. But I’ve had all kind for jobs. I majored in economics and I worked at Morgan Stanley, Urban Outfitters, I used to do PR and advertising, and I always had a creative outlet. I was in a band, a backup dancer, and then I started DJing for fun as a side hustle. That became a full-time job—I never thought a creative job would become my main gig. I did a lot of weird stuff in order to get there.
“I never thought a creative job would become my main gig. I did a lot of weird stuff in order to get there.”
What was your weirdest job ever?
I used to backup dance at SeaWorld.
Wait. Backup dancing for like, Shamu??
What was I backup dancing for? Sea otters I guess? Not the main attraction.
Did you always know you wanted to get into songwriting?
I didn’t always know that—I’ve always sung and I’ve always loved to sing other people’s music. Songwriting was something I picked up when I was in a hip-hop band many thousands of years ago. That’s when I started writing my own things. I put it down for a little bit and then picked it up a few years later with not much confidence. What really sparked my songwriting was meeting the right person to write with. I realized I liked storytelling and coming up with songs by talking it out with one of my girlfriends and having that develop into something naturally. I get better and better with every song. It’s a really fun process that I didn’t ever think I’d dabble in.
That sounds so fun. What does that writing process look like?
My process is me singing in my friend Rose’s basement and just talking a lot of shit. Our friends will send us beats and we’ll put them on and just share stories. That will usually turn into a song. I think that’s the best because we’ll start laughing about something and we’ll take that little line and will turn into a hook and that hook will build from there. She’s super encouraging in ways that if I was writing by myself, I’d probably delete a lot and doubt my confidence. We write so well that way–we turn out tons of songs and ideas just by talking it through.
“My process is me singing in my friend Rose’s basement and just talking a lot of shit.”
You’ve already put out of a lot of mixtapes and before the Garden EP, I know you put out some of your own songs. What was the point where you were sick of putting out other people’s songs and needed to do it yourself?
I think you reach a point in your creativity where you mastered the mechanics and the art of reading a room. There’s an art to DJing and I think that never ends and it always evolves. You kind of hit a wall and you’re like, it’d be really cool if I played the song I made every night. It can get a bit redundant. I was getting a lot of encouragement from DJ friends and the turning point for me was when we were like, let’s make our own music. The prescribed trajectory is for a DJ to turn into a producer. I tried producing music and I’m okay at it, but it’s not something I’m passionate about. I was like, well I sang my whole life so why don’t I try singing? It felt left field at the time, but now it feels like the right thing to do. The slashie generation is fairly new. I felt like a weirdo doing it.
Musically, you’re obsessed with 90s R&B–your night, 143, is dedicated to it and was such a part of your trajectory. Is your own stuff influenced by that?
My music comes from the music I grew up on. I was inspired by 90s R&B. There are a lot of similar production styles in my own music. I’ll do small things, like the way background vocals are laid out. Some of my favorite people are Janet Jackson, Cassie, SWV. I loved that golden era of R&B. So a lot of my music is, of course, influenced by that.
Have your other careers strengthened what you do now?
Yes, absolutely. I’ve always admired people who have wanted to be doctors since they were 4 years old or who have been working in their profession for 20 years. I’m like this spastic child that just wants to do everything at all different times. It never made sense to me, but now it does. Dancing helped me be a better DJ and performer. Working advertising and PR helped me to have a different mindset when I’m thinking about putting out a mixtape, like who my audience is. All of that experience is important. You meet so many different people. It’s funny where your network takes you. My PR intern from many years ago called me yesterday—she works at Warner Bros now and was like ‘we’d love to have you perform at a movie premiere’. And that was my intern like 6 years ago in a different field. It’s crazy the way the world works and how it comes full circle. So now I’m back on stage singing and I’m going to have my own backup dancers which is the biggest full circle I could possibly fathom. I used to be the backup dancer going to auditions, hoping and praying I’d get chosen. Now I get to be the artist and have my own dancers. Its crazy.
“I’m like this spastic child that just wants to do everything at all different times. It never made sense to me, but now it does.”
Dream collaboration past or present?
Stevie Wonder. He’s monumental. I would love to write a song with Mariah Carey–she’s my ultimate when I was growing up–her songwriting is insane. And I definitely want to work with Drake.
I’m sure people ask you for a lot of advice–what do you usually tell people?
Whatever you’re thinking about doing, just do it. I don’t think I’m the best at what I do, but the thing I know I have is balls. That’s really all you need to get it done and I think that’s the only thing that stops people from what they want to do. If you want to do it, get to it and stop talking about it.
“I don’t think I’m the best at what I do, but the thing I know I have is balls. That’s really all you need to get it done and I think that’s the only thing that stops people from what they want to do.”
Best baby-making jam?
D’angelo – How Does It Feel?
Best break-up jam?
Alicia Keys and Drake – Unthinkable
Best unrequited love song?
Frank Ocean – Thinking About You