About Sampa The Great
The rise of Sampa the Great has been spectacular to watch. A female poet and singer-songwriter who expresses herself through music, poetry and visual art, Sampa captures you with her thought provoking words, yet keeps you laughing and enjoying the simplicity of creativity.
Born in Zambia, Sampa Tembo moved to Botswana with her family at a young age. This early separation from her peers shaped her upbringing, and is one of the life experiences that informs her lyrics. At her primary school, a group of boys were set to perform a rap song, and Sampa was intrigued by their performance. She asked them if she could join the group, and their response was that “you can’t rap with us, because you’re a girl.” In that moment, she decided not only to be a great female artist, but a great artist, period.
“It’s a search for creativity, laughter, purpose and rhythms.” With those four simple terms, Sampa the Great describes her astonishing debut release, The Great Mixtape. Sampa has a penchant for poetry and weaves dense lyrical mazes with her verses, drawing listeners into a lush, imaginative world. Her music bounds from spoken-word to pure hip-hop rapping, with stops at psychedelic and bluesy waypoints in between. It’s the sound of an adventurous young mind pushing out against all boundaries – to listen is to learn. Sampa’s debut 12-track mixtape flows through a collection of experimental beats by producer Godriguez and left-field rhymes shaped by Sampa’s wide-spanning influences including Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill, Thandiswa Mazwai, Asa, Nneka and Yasiin Bey.
A free spirit with a proclivity for unannounced releases, Sampa recently surprised her fans with 2 SoundCloud uploads “Blue Boss,” which hit #1 on Hype Machine, was picked up by Annie Mac on BBC Radio 1, and reached 1 Million Spotify plays in 2 months.
HERoes Act 2 is the latest in Sampa’s exciting narrative series of songs and collaborative projects. Act 1 of 2 is a spoken-word video, 2-track exploration into self-discovery and strength from within. In a time where chaos, uncertainty and prejudice engulf us, Sampa once again shines her torch on the value and strength of each individual.
Sampa has won over a wave of adoring fans with live shows supporting Kendrick Lamar, Thundercat, Hiatus Kaiyote, Ibeyi, Little Simz and Fat Freddy’s Drop, along with her sold out headline shows and festival slots at Golden Plains, Sugar Mountain, Laneway, WOMAD & Vivid LIVE. There is little doubt that 2017 is set to be the year the world meets Sampa the Great.
Red Bull Sound Select is an accelerator for music artists. We support them by collaborating on ambitious projects and ideas; using the strength of our global network together witha collective of artists, creatives and events to accelerate their growth. The network consists of 20 city residencies, 200+ events each year, 250+ artists, 50 partners and a growing list of our own festivals like 30 Days and 3 Days. Sampa the Great was one of the first artists onboarded into the Australian program in 2016.
Red Bull Sound Select has released several two-song digital singles from its top hand-picked artists, including: