Introduced by an old boyfriend, I met one of my greatest companions.
For that, I'll forever be grateful.
Dear Samia, thank you for being my friend.
I didn’t want to be the girl whose dad was dying. I didn’t want to feel like Frankenstein and be defined by the circumstances of my life. At a time when things were so abhorrently abnormal, you gave me a normal. You gave me study sessions and a lunch buddy. Sandwiches on the steps and impromptu jam sessions, hours of listening to you sing and play the piano, and a group of friends. Not once was I ever the friend whose dad was dying.
I was just your friend.
My circumstances didn’t define me. I could just be me with you, and for that I thank you. You gave me as normal of a junior and senior year as possible, and helped facilitate some of my favorite memories.
Sixteen, you were in your Kurt Cobain faze.
Thick eyeliner and three chocker’s stacked on top of each other, we sat on your couch and just talked about life. We exchanged stories and feelings, disappointments and daydreams. The pressures of growing up and how boys made us feel. You listened as my heart congealed and wrote me a song describing how it feels to show up to a life you didn’t recognize.
Your music reminds me of all those years. Not just because I was there, but because of the accuracy with which you depict the heartbreak that comes at how confusing life can sometimes be. Your songs make me smile, and they make me cry. Not because I'm sad, but because I recognize the aching honesty in your voice. It’s so deeply sincere, we can not help but find pieces of ourselves nestled in the verses. You have an extraordinary gift. You have a way of arranging the English language to evoke such profound emotional depth, it’s as though those thoughts could never have been organized in a better way to say what they needed to say. We all experience existence uniquely, but your music draws the parallels between all our lives.
Your songs are the common ground for the emotions that are sometimes too big to articulate.
Like the euphoria of turning twenty-one, and the confusion tied to the rest of our lives. Inaugurated adulthood, anointed by a cider wondering why we are always so tired. Prolific ex-boyfriends and the entitlement boys have when they think God made them all knowing. The pain of a breakup. The confusion and longing for them even though they are poison to your hearts and cancer to the brain, it's better this way. I can honestly say your song Django encapsulates all of that perfectly. It’s like everything I didn't know how to say, you found a way to articulate. The way girls can twist reality and make you feel like you are the poison in the garden of Eden. The finality of death and the perspective it shifts everything else into. The triviality of our problems, it's all just milk on the floor.
You gave me a sneak peek of your upcoming EP, and all I can say is wow. I am always blown away by you, on top of it all, you have a voice that can take people's breath away. One of my favorite things to do is watch peoples faces as I show them your music for the first time.
The moment they hear your voice a wave goes over their face and an amazed statement slips out of their mouth. I sit there, beaming with pride, as they find something I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for a long time - you. Your talent immeasurable, your success inevitable, I am so proud of who you are.
Now in our early 20s, no longer kids, trying to figure out our lives, I couldn't think of a better friend to have by my side. You made New York feel like home again, and introduced me to new, beautiful friends. I watched you get your second tattoo. Fun Times, Father John Misty said, two words you fiercely live by. My life so different, but you once again, stayed steadfast the same. Still sitting in bed, listening to each other's thoughts and reassuring that the confusion of the time is part of its beauty. You listened to my deepest secrets stored away on voice memos, and encouraged me to find myself. We played guitarmageddon in the courtyard of your friend’s house and stayed up late talking on kitchen counters.
I hate that we don't live in the same state, but I’d drive two hours to hear you sing any day.
Your friendship has taught me that no matter how bad the bad is, there can also be so much good. That we are imperfectly perfect in our pain, and our circumstances don’t have to define who we are. Our flaws are our most beautiful parts. Your music has shown me that sometimes that pain can help make you into who you are supposed to be. To not run away from it, but embrace it; it can be healing not only to ourselves but to others as well.
I vowed to myself that I’d start to take pictures of all the things I loved. Of the experiences I wanted to remember, and the friends I shared them with. Here’s to the beginning of our 20s, new adventures, and old friends. Thank God for the ex-boyfriend, for he gave me a lasting soulmate.
Dear Samia, I hope we are always friends.
*Notes from the Editor
Samia’s latest releases are available for listen now. These two singles from her debut album, “Lasting Friend” and “Paris”, quickly climbed to the top of our playlists and raise our hopes for this ambitious artist. Make sure to check them out, as well as her music video for “Lasting Friend,” which also debuted today via Stereogum!
Thank you Arielle for letting us publish this beautiful piece, and for letting our readers get to know Samia in a way only you have experienced. We cannot wait to see what this new year will bring for her, and will be watching every step of the way with love and admiration.
Samia will be hitting the road with Donna Missal and Hippo Campus (some other Pure Nowhere favorites!) come February. Check below to see all released tour dates!
02-07 - Boston, MA - The Button Factory
02-14 - Chicago, IL - Chop Shop *
02-15 - St. Louis, MO - The Ready Room *
02-17 - Columbus, OH - A&R Music Bar *
02-20 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom *
02-21 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda’s *
02-22 - Boston, MA - The Sinclair *
02-24 - Washington, DC - U Street Music Hall *
02-26 - Charlotte, NC - Neighborhood Theatre *
02-27 - Atlanta, GA - Aisle 5 *
02-28 - Nashville, TN - The Basement East *
03-11 - 03-15 - Austin, TX - SXSW (Specific Dates TBA)
03-16 - Houston, TX - HOB Peacock Room *
03-17 - Oklahoma City, OK - 89th Street *
03-18 - Dallas, TX - Club Dada *
03-20 - Denver, CO - Maruis Theater *
03-21 - Salt Lake City, UT - Soundwell *
03-23 - Portland, OR - Hawthorne Theater *
03-24 - Seattle WA - Neumos *
03-26 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent *
03-29 - LA, CA - El Rey *
03-30 - San Diego, CA - The Casbah *
04-18 - Indianapolis, IN @ Old National Centre #
04-19 - Columbia, MO @ The Blue Note #
04-20 - Tulsa, OK @ Cain's Ballroom #
04-22 - Iowa City, IA @ The Blue Moose #
04-23 - Peoria, IL @ Monarch Music Hall #
04-25 - Omaha, NE @ Sokol #
04-26 - Madison, WI @ Sylvee #
04-27 - Grand Rapids, MI @ Intersection #
04-29 - Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground #
04-30 - Montreal, QC @ L'Astral #
05-01 - Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Theater #
05-03 - Clifton Park, NY @ Upstate Concert Hall #
05-04 - Portland, ME @ State Theatre #
05-06 - Cleveland OH @ House of Blues #
05-09 - Syracuse, NY @ Westcott Theater #
05-10 - Providence, RI @ Fete Music Hall #
* w/Donna Missal
# w/Hippo Campus