Sam Austins has made quite a name for himself over the past couple years, with some important collabs with industry leaders such as and Pusha-T. 1800 Tequila to took Detroit to celebrate the 1800 Seconds featuring local talent for their individuality and unique music. Austins was given the opportunity to collaborate on a compilation album mentored by the pioneer himself among the ten artists, chosen, along with Monalyse to properly rep the D. Imani Smith caught up with him backstage before his performance to learn more about what’s coming up for him in 2019.
Imani Smith: Tell the world who Sam Austins is.
Sam Austins: He’s an enigma homeless star. To be a homeless star for me is to really have a quality of being something bigger than what everything around you might seem. Trying to find your place in that despite the uncertainty around you, you still shine.
How is it to be from Detroit and have your Dad be in the legendary band Four Tops?
My Dad had me around a lot of instruments and music in general, he raised me with the classics. He never expected or forced me to go into music, I just was always around it playing on the piano before I could even talk and stuff like that.
Growing up in that culture I was naturally inclined towards music before I even knew that’s really what I wanted to do. My Dad told me before I could talk and walk that he noticed I knew how to press the stop and record buttons on the MPC; it had him shook wondering how I knew how to do this before I was even reading and talking.
When did you first start rapping?
I would say back in middle school, a couple of friends and I were just doing it for fun, we use to go to an after school camp in Southfield. It was a recording studio set-up and we used to just go in there. I kept going even after they stopped. Even though I was trash at first I kept going and growing. It’s one thing to be musically inclined, but to actually know the technical stuff, it takes time. I had to step into my confidence for real.
Do you consider yourself as an influential artist in the underground Detroit rap scene?
For sure, I know that I want to be that for the city. I want to help push everything to the forefront for Detroit. I want to take it as global as possible, that’s pretty much everything I work towards is making sure I’m pushing the thread to make sure Detroit stands out.
Who are some of your favorite Detroit artists?
Dex Osama, he could rap his ass off, I always wanted to work with him. Of course, he had the street image but at the end of the day he was talented as hell. He was one of the goats! Jay Cribs is a dope producer I work with and SYBLING who produced my project, ANGST- he just feeds into my energy and knows what I want.
Tell us what body of work you feel like put you on the map as someone people should pay attention to.
I would say in the city it was a project I released in 2015 called “GOAT” – it caught the attention of influencers like Black Milk and Big Sean. On a bigger scale it was “FIGI” this was really crafted with some time and energy. I didn’t think it was going to just blow me up but I just thought of it like we about to put out a fire a** song and I hope people f**k with it.
It seems like you took a pause in between your two EPs, GOAT and ANGST, what happened?
That’s a long story… basically I had to do a major restructuring of everything. I had to find new people to work with to make sure my vision was coming to life. I had to take time to just figure out what to do next. It all payed off. I’m not big on trends and what’s hot right now, what pushes me to the level I want to be at is knowing I can take my time and cultivate my music and put it out when it’s ready. I like it being natural and organic.
How has the 1800 Seconds project experience been for your career?
I feel like the project is a major milestone to actually connect with a brand to help push my agenda forward. To put a song like “Motivation” on the project and have it as personal value to me and also partner up with other dope artist is tight as f**k. Working with them brings me back to my early days at Southfield kicking it with my friends and creating. Every day feels like a day at the lunch table.
How are you going to stay true to who you are as a artist?
Never get misguided stay looking towards the goal. My end goal is to do the most influential sh** I can do as long I’m pushing the ball. Long as I stick to making sure the quality is there then there’s no way I’ll get lost.
What’s next this year?
Two things, Movement Festival in May which is going to be tight! I get a hour to go on stage and f**k sh** up! I put a lot of work into this so I look forward to it. And new music… which is going to be here when it’s ready.
Featured Photo Credit: Cam Kirk
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