Samona – Song In The Night

 Samona – Song In The Night

Samona – Song In The Night – EP Review

How did I get here?” asks Samona in the opening track “Cycles” of her brand-new EP Song In The Night that she’s been working on for the past year.  Good question of course, but the answer’s actually very easy for me to answer…or for anyone listening for that matter – it’s a genuine level of tangible talent.  A much better question is what kept her away from making music where she so clearly belongs between the years of 2013-2019, after she released her debut singles “Fear” and “Transparency” in 2012 & before her return in 2020 with the single “Heart Sings.”  But you know…we all have questions of some kind…I ain’t saying mine are any more important than anyone else’s…so answer in the order you wanna.

Anyhow.  If you’re reading between the lines, you know the point I’m gettin’ at – Samona has a soulful sound of her own that is wonderfully well-suited to this whole art of makin’ music, and I’m nothing but glad she eventually found her way back to it after all that time away.  Right from the first spin on “Cycles” I think that anyone out there listening would know she’s got a gift that should be shared with the world, and it gives me comfort just knowing she’s doing exactly that.  She’s a Gospel artist and a proud representative of the religious community, but I wouldn’t say this is the typical sound or songs you’d find in church.  At least, not the churches I spent my youth growing up in, that’s for sure – if the music had sounded like this, I’d probably still be participating in religion to this very day.  As most of y’all regular readers know, I was raised religiously, and I’ve long left that part of me behind – but even now, the combination of faith & music is something that has always interested me on several levels.  I mean, let’s be real here dear readers, dear friends…ALL music interests me in some way, and all of the time – but when it comes to faith-based tunes, I feel like the genre has a greater challenge in crossing over.

I’ll say it again for the people in the back though…a lot of the reason as to why that is, is simply because the artists/bands you’ll find don’t often sound like Samona does, or flex this level of courage & creativity combined.  Listen to “Cycles” and you’ll know exactly what I’m talkin’ about, believe it.  She makes a tremendous impression in less than three-minutes, and that’s largely because of the innovative way she approaches her music.  Listen to the way “Cycles” is structured…listen to how it’s based in minimalism, yet makes such a maximum impact because of how that time is used – everything catches your attention, and a lot of the reasons as to why it does comes down to the cleverness of her use of space.  She’s got a stellar voice too…that’s undeniable – but I think what got me even more interested in “Cycles” beyond that, was the true uniqueness of a song like this, and putting that out there as track one.  “Cycles” is a statement cut, straight off the drop…and while you can’t miss the religious messages found at the core of it all, there’s no doubt that Samona sounds inspired on a creative level, and whether or not you’re religious yourself doesn’t really become a factor – we all love hearing inspiration.

Samona doesn’t need my confirmation on “Afflicted,” but I’ll happily give it to her.  From what I’ve read and researched along the way, she’s received tons of critical acclaim for “Afflicted” already as an advance single from this record released last year, and it’s found its way up the Gospel charts & playlists with ease.  Which is honestly super encouraging if you ask me.  Like I’ve told ya many times on these pages of ours, I’m always interested in religiously-based music – much of the reason why that is, is simply due to the fact that it’s a genre that is always seeking a new champion or two.  So often people think about faith-based tunes as the one dude with an acoustic guitar singin’ hallelujah to ya – and for many years, that’s really how it WAS represented out in the mainstream…but like everything we listen to, there are many different ways of approaching a style or sound.  Samona’s like the Beyoncé of Gospel y’all…no joke, she’s got such a stunningly bold & soulful voice, but also the courage it takes to use it for the greater good in a very innovative way.  Listening to a track like “Afflicted” will prove that to anyone without question – like I told ya, it’s a verified hit for Samona already…which is confirmation that the people out there are not only listening once, but many times.  For a song with a design that I would have normally thought would be a challenge to the majority of listeners out there in terms of it not being as typical as the tunes you’d usually find on the radio and the uniqueness on display, it’s truly inspiring to know Samona’s creativity is not only thriving and flourishing – it’s being acknowledged, as it should be.

Yeah…you know…I feel like Samona should be incredibly stoked about everything she’s created on this record…there’s not a whole lot out there like it, and when you consider that along with the skill she has, she could really go a long way with her career and reach quite the widespread audience.  “Unnamed Woman” draws on a parable and puts a brilliantly accessible spin on this story by presenting it in this audible form.  Think of it like this…Samona’s potentially capable of getting a whole bunch of people interested in religion by presenting it all in a remarkably different way.  If you’ve ever spent a minute in church and seen a couple people yawning or kids falling asleep through what would arguably be some of the more complex and/or important lessons being communicated, Samona’s laying down the blueprint for how to get the message across in a way that resonates, and that will generate passionate interest.  What I like about moments like this one, where Samona actually goes spoken-word for the beginning, is that not only do you get some of the story behind what she’s singing about – you get a glimpse into the woman behind the microphone…this tale is of importance to Samona, so much so that of all the parables she could have chosen from, she chose this one.  As to why that is, or what the truly personal reasons for her choice would be…we can theorize…but really, that’s more between Samona & her God.  All I know is what sounds good y’all…and this does – she’s got an exceptional voice, and I’d listen to her read the phonebook when it comes right down to it.  Whether she’s singing or goin’ spoken-word, I dig what Samona’s got goin’ on and the way she communicates through her art, craft, technique, and tone.

That being said, I know I’m not everyone…I listen to music in a different way than most do, and Samona should of course be prepared for a few differing opinions out there.  On a talent level, I don’t think there’s anyone out there that would deny she’s incredibly gifted, capable, and bringing her A-game – that aspect of what she creates should be universal.  As far as the content goes, that’s probably where there will be a few dissenting opinions to be found.  Like…for example – “I Call Jesus.”  I’d tell ya that it’s probably the most single-worthy cut on the record so far in terms of hooks and what vibrantly stands out as we listen…but it’s more dependent on the threshold people have for the religious aspect of what she’s singing about than perhaps some of the other songs she makes by comparison.  Even for myself personally, I’m more partial to faith-based songs that have a more…hmm…let’s say interpretive method I suppose…not necessarily ambiguous, but tunes that leave more to the imagination.  When you listen to a song like “I Call Jesus” there’s not that many blanks left for our minds to fill in.  Ain’t nothing wrong with singing about your faith loud & proud though…as far as I understand it, if you’re truly a believer, then you really shouldn’t have any problems doing exactly that.  Samona makes sure there isn’t any confusion regarding her faith with “I Call Jesus,” and in the process she sounds as spectacular as ever.

Case in-point, I felt like “Talk Back” is that cut that leaves a bit more out without sacrificing who Samona is or what she’s about, and could likely reach that many more people as a result of not being quite as direct as a track like “I Call Jesus” is.  I love how many different things she’s tried on this EP, and the way she goes about singing “Talk Back” is a perfect example of how she’s found so much success throughout this set-list of songs.  It creates diversity and versatility in the lineup, and keeps the experience exciting & fresh as we listen.  I’d put “Talk Back” up there with the most single-worthy potential you’ll find on this record too…I think she’s got stunning hooks in this track that exist not only within the songwriting, but also in the way she chooses to sing it.  The multi-layered approach is brilliant here – the angelic notes high-up on the surface of the melody are perfection, but the details she’s surrounded herself with in the backing layers really make a huge difference here too.  Samona sounds radiantly charming and beautiful when it comes right down to it…the sound of an artist that has really found the comfort she’s looking for in this lifetime, and found a purpose that she’s completely passionate about.  I’m all about it.  Sometimes we’re lucky enough to stumble upon an artist that sounds like they’ve found the place where they’re truly meant to be, or the moment they hit their stride…and when they do, it sounds just like this.

Samona’s scared of “Missing Heaven” she says?  I think she can bank on gettin’ there when it’s time.  If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that there are a whole lot of people out there that have put a whole lot less effort in getting there and led far less devout lives…so if that counts for anything, she’s at the very least, moving up the line to get in past all the pretenders out there.  That being said, I suppose that’s kind of part of it all, ain’t it?  There’s an aspect of fearfulness that comes in tandem with religion…and whether that’s a justified aspect of it all…well…I’ll leave that up to you all as individuals and what you choose to believe.  Again, as I say all the time, all I know anything about is what does or doesn’t sound good…beyond that, I’m basically as dumb as the last rock you kicked and never been shy about that fact.  What I can tell ya for certain is that the whole faith-based community is genuinely lucky to have a voice as strong as Samona’s representing it.  Not only for her commitment and devotion to The Lord, but for the fact that she simply sounds fantastic, and at all times.  She clearly has all the right skills and talent to have been a massive star in the R&B/Pop/Soul-side of the music industry, and yet she chose to be reppin’ Gospel instead.  Honestly, that should tell ya a ton about her character when it comes right down to it…like I was tellin’ ya from the start, faith-based music has a much tougher time reaching the masses simply based on the label that it comes with…so she’s actively chosen a more difficult path, but not an impossible climb.  She’s “not scared of lions and tigers and bears” – so it’s fair to assume Samona ain’t scared of all that much at all really…and if her path to the top of your playlist takes more convincing in the genre/style she’s chosen to present her amazing voice within, then so be it, she’s ready for that.  Full respect from me y’all…I think it’s always better to be who you are & let the chips fall how they may.

You might ask yourself, what’s the effect of religion on a person like Samona?  The answers are largely there for ya within a song like “Bloom,” where she explains how she’s “expanding exponentially” – and you gotta dig that.  I’m all about growth and learning and being better than I was the day before – if religion and God has brought Samona to that same place, then don’t get it twisted – I’m all for it.  As far as I know, “Bloom” was another one of the advance singles from Song In The Night that was released last year…and in my opinion, that was a great choice.  “Bloom” has a natural bounce and vibrant sound to it that’s as alive as it is inspired, and as entertaining as it is insightful…Samona’s checked all the right boxes here, and found a song that’s genuinely enticing as a gateway in for the people out there listening.  She’s world-class as far as my ears can tell…and you regular readers know I’d tell ya otherwise if that were somehow the case.  Samona’s gonna do real well with this release and the uniqueness that her audience will find upon it…she’s already in full “Bloom” y’all…and she’ll continue to shine even brighter as she carries on from here.  The more she believes in what she can do with the strength of her conviction and beliefs, her message and her music, the more she’ll achieve success by any definition.

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