The legacy continues. Among the lovers of the 80s and 90s, we find her, Sam Quealy, an authentic artist who mixes the past with the future to create her own present. After a long road and a huge process of finding herself, Quealy gives us the greatest lesson of self-love with a powerful but sensitive ‘I don’t give a fuck’ attitude that she learned from one of her musical icons: Madonna. The singer-songwriter talks about the story behind Klepto, her first steps in Paris, her understanding of music and her next and most important release till now: her debut album.
Sam Quealy, the techno-pop princess. What else would you like to say to those who still don’t know you?
Shapeshifting chameleon, singer-songwriter, rapper, dancer and performance artist.
Let’s talk about your first steps. Your presence on any stage makes me think that you have stepped on many of them for a long time. When and how did you start in the industry?
Yes, that’s true! I started dancing when I was 3 years old and by age 5 I was already on stage competing in dance, singing and talent contests. From that point onwards I was kind of always obsessed with being on stage and having an audience… and I guess it never stopped! I left my small beach town to go to a performing arts high school in Sydney and as soon as I finished at 18, I started working as a professional dancer internationally. I worked as a professional dancer in classical, contemporary, musical theatre and burlesque… which eventually led me to be a showgirl in Paris.
As far as I know, the start of your career, when you were living in Paris, wasn’t easy, but you found your place later. Can you tell us more about that?
Yes, when I first moved to Paris it definitely wasn’t easy. I knew nobody, I couldn’t speak the language… I was actually stealing cans of tuna from the supermarket (Klepto) and sleeping on a mattress so thin I could feel the floor. Someone even threw a burger at me out of their car window because I was wearing one of my crazy wigs, high shoes and mini skirts. I’m pretty sure they called me a ‘salope’, aka slut… I remember at that moment that I would take pride in who I was and not let other people's small minds affect my sense of self. I went out that night with burger sauce on my top ‘très salope chic!’ Lucky for me, over time being my unapologetic self paid off – I found my community in Paris – and I've never felt more at home since.
What about your relationship with music? How do you use it to express yourself?
Music is the ultimate outlet for me. Nothing can compare to people all together in a room singing the same words, dancing to the same rhythm like a tribe, and breathing the same air… that is the fucking power of music.
You remind me of one of the most iconic artists in the world: Madonna. Your work, your purpose, your attitude, the structure of your videos and dances, something in your voice and definitely your aesthetic are the reasons that make me think so. Your latest release in fact is a version of one of her songs, Like A Prayer. Is Madonna someone you look up to?
Yes! She is the ultimate badass, the blueprint. She was also a dancer originally that went into music like me. I like that she has an ‘I don’t give a fuck’ attitude but she’s probably one of the hardest-working artists of all time.  I also love that she really gave people a show… like full-on showgirl 10000% showbiz!
You seem powerful, determined and forceful; you know what you want. Your music is a kind of mixture of different styles in one: techno, pop… What exactly do you want to do with your music and what do you expect your audience to do with that music?
It’s true, I’m really determined and ruthless some may say (laughs). I know what I want and I probably won’t stop till I get it! I think the combination of different styles (pop, techno, hyper pop, dance, rap, etc.) makes it interesting to listen to.  I’ve always loved a wide genre of music –think of it as making a sandwich, you suddenly add a new ingredient and it’s not always the taste for everyone but the ones who love it, love it! It’s like beautiful chaos. I like having juxtaposing ideas.
Follow The Night is actually a really sad song about substance abuse, yet everyone dances to it in the club because of the uptempo beat and futuristic voice – it makes it seem light for a dark topic. Techno and pop, light and shade, fragile and powerful... I know people love to put a label on everything but me, I’m a bit anti labels. I expect my audience to feel free and empowered by my music, to lose inhibition and enter another state on the dance floor.
Congratulations on Groovy Jungle, I really think it is a very well worked theme. How is the creative process of one of your songs?
Thank you!  My process changes all the time for each song… Sometimes I have the lyrics written first, or a theme/concept, or even a character like who is she, what is her story… Other times it may be Marlon Magnee, my producer, who makes a beat and then I’m inspired by that. I honestly don’t have one formula that I stick to, like everything I do in life… I just keep going until it works!

You released Nightshade, an EP that includes the songs Nightshade and Follow The Night in May. The night is very present as a concept in your work. What has the night taught you? Does it inspire you?
Yes. I’ve always been drawn to the magic of the night. I feel people are more themselves when the moon is out. I’m very inspired by the creatures of the night! Plus, I spent my entire youth in clubs on the dance floor and it's where I feel most free. People lose their inhibitions on a dance floor – you don’t need to speak to be having a conversation with everyone around you – I love that!
Music and aesthetics are very good companions and you know that. The video for Nightshade is crazy, it has so many details and all of them fit perfectly. How did you come up with that idea?
Yes, the visuals/aesthetics are extremely important in my project. Nightshade the song is originally written about the lethal plant Belladonna Nightshade, it’s harmless and beautiful but also deadly. I worked with Aymeric Bergada Du Cadet, who directed the video. He’s a genius. He even made the knife dress from scratch, sewing it all by hand. We wanted to create a feeling of being trapped in a nightmare or a bad trip. You’re not really sure what is real anymore.
Your sounds, your videos and even your song covers suggest a mixture of past and future times. Is that what you want? Do you want to break moulds and redesign music?
That’s completely right. I’m very inspired by both, the past and the future. I definitely want to break moulds and redesign music. I want to take people on a journey, into another reality.
Some artists change their style to launch into something more commercial just to get fame and numbers. That is not necessarily bad, it is just a decision they make. Would you do that?
I don’t think I could do that even if I tried (laughs).
Could you name some artists you would love to collaborate with?
So many! But, at the moment, Tommy Cash, Rosalía and Eartheater.
To finish off, a question that cannot be missed: what about new projects? Anything you can tell us?
Yes, I’ll be continuing my world tour: Spain, United States, Germany, France, United Kingdom and Australia; but, most importantly, I’ll be releasing my debut album this year! I’m so excited to share with the world what I’ve been working on!
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