Samsaya (born Sampda Sharma) is a Norwegian singer and actress.
As a child, she lived in India with her Sri-Lankan-Indian family; and moved to Oslo, Norway when she was 11 months old. She felt like she didn't fit in with her surroundings, and her parents weren't happy with her having Norwegian friends. Therefore, she used music - rap specifically - as an escape path, and would record her own music on tapes in her bedroom. She cites Dinah Washington's Mad About the Boy as the song that influenced her to create beat-driven tracks.
At the age of 16, she started to perform with a local hip hop group at a youth center. She also joined the group Agnivatn. After several years of making music with other urban musicians in Oslo, she broke through as an actress.
The name Samsaya derives from her childhood - in order to feel more normal amongst her friends, she would tell them to call her Sam. The word "saya" means shadow in her native language, Hindi, and she decided to combine both words as her stage name. This is referenced in her single, Change. She also wears a red heart on her eye, which she says helps her to "see things with openness".
In 2004, she released her debut album Shedding Skin. After touring Norway, she took a break, and a couple of years later she set off to New York.
In 2008 she released a new single, Change, which debuted at no. 2 on the Norwegian singles chart. The song Dodge It, also released in 2008, appeared in the Oscar-nominated movie The Wrestler. In 2009 she released two singles; Money and ADHD (Love Me Not).
Several promotional singles such as Good With The Bad, Breaking Bad and Jaywalking followed, with an album - Summer of Sam - set for a 2012 release; but the album never materialized.
She returned in September 2013 with a new single, Stereotype - released to critical acclaim. A self-titled EP - Samsaya - followed in July 2014, and its parent album, Bombay Calling, will be released in 2015.
Stereotype can be downloaded for free at www.samsaya.com.
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