#HERStory: Sam Reed
By Luke Witt
Sam Reed has blazed trails for female funk, soul, and R&B artists since she got her start in 2006. Her passion for music can be traced back to her days singing in church as a child and listening to old school records with her parents. Today her music has influences of rock, soul, jazz, R&B, and southern gospel. Music critics took notice of her unique sound after the release of This is Love produced by DJ Harrison of Jellowstone Records in 2015. For her efforts, Sam has earned a spot on stage with national recording artists like Snoop Dogg, Keller Williams, Anthony Hamilton, and Bob Weir. Luke Witt caught up with Sam in Richmond for a James River photoshoot and interview as part of the ongoing #HERstory series featuring bad ass ladies of Richmond, VA.
Let’s talk music. What bands are you performing with currently? And how about your solo career?
Sam: I’m best known for singing with Dance Candy Band. We can be found at F.W. Sullivan’s every Thursday night. It’s a fantastic dance party. The house is always packed. We also do weddings and private parties. That’s where the bulk of our time as a band is spent. Dance Candy also travels with the Tony award winning dancer/choreographer Savion Glover for live shows. That’s definitely our favorite and most fun job. I also have my own band Sam Reed Syndicate. These are the guys that accompany me when I do my solo shows. They play my original music and songs from my first album, This Is Love, produced by DJ Harrison. I hope to release another project in 2018, if not before. Stay tuned!
Who are your musical influences and how do you show them in your own work?
Sam: My musical influences are pretty spread out. Nina Simone, Karen Clark Sheard, Janis Joplin, Nirvana, Donny Hathaway, Chaka Khan, Jill Scott, Crystal Waters … I could go on and on. Truth is, I’m influenced and inspired by just about anything! Sounds, smells, personalities. As a vocalist I don’t think there’s any sound that you can hear that won’t influence your sound in some way. I hope that my influences show in my work through passion. I’m very passionate about my work and performance. I think that’s what my influences all have in common. The passion you can feel in the delivery of the craft.
What national acts have you worked with during your career?
Sam: In my time I’ve had the pleasure of opening for artists such as Anthony Hamilton, Snoop Dogg, and Chrisette Michele. All fantastic people. As I mentioned before, Dance Candy travels with Savion Glover and I’m also blessed to travel with Keller Williams during festival season. During a set at Peach Fest with Keller Williams we shared the stage with THE Bob Weir, a founding member of The Grateful Dead. That was a huge highlight for me.
How has the RVA music scene evolved over the years?
Sam: In the last 10 years, the RVA music scene has grown in many ways. We’ve seen venues like The Camel and The Broadberry open and evolve. Because of those venues, and others, I believe the music scene is beginning to come together. Different genres are now working together musically. I feel like we’re seeing more and more women making their musical mark. I also feel we’re starting to see a resurgence of jazz.
What do foresee for the RVA music scene in the next 10 years?
Sam: I think the different genres working together will become the norm. I also think that more venues will emerge for our local scene to be showcased. I believe Richmond will get the props we deserve as we become more and more of a soul music mecca.