Saturday, August 20, 2011

Samantha Newark

Singer/songwriter Samantha Newark is no stranger to entertainment. As a teenager, she was best known as the speaking voice of Jem/Jerrica, central character of the insanely popular 80's cartoon "Jem". She's all grown up, but still just as loyal to her fans as they are to her. And now she's recording a new album. Her "truly outrageous" voice matches her genuine nature and an honest love of music.

When did you first realize the scope of Jem’s popularity? 

I’m discovering it’s reaching more and more every day, especially now that the show is back on TV again and is generating an even bigger fan base. But initially it was around 2000 that I started going online and saw all the Jem web groups and fan sites and Jem doll collector sites. I was pretty blown away that so many people were still so passionate about the show and keeping it very much alive.  

Did you watch the show?
I watched it a few times during its initial run but I have to say I am having such a great time watching it this summer on “The Hub”. I’m often up early in the morning, so it’s been kind of a fun little ritual to have my cup of coffee and watch a Jem episode. It’s a great way to start my day and also do my homework as I’m asked so many random questions about the series by the fans that it helps to be up on my Jem knowledge.

When did you first start singing?
I have always loved music and loved to sing from the time I was teeny tiny but I did my first professional show when I was 7 with a 4 piece band and was quite a busy little performer from then on.  

You didn't start writing songs until adulthood. What finally inspired you to start writing?
It was Tori Amos. I bought her first album “Little Earthquakes” and it ignited something really deep on a soul level that made me truly and authentically want to express myself as a songwriter as well as a singer. That record changed my life as an artist and really set me on the road.

Have you created songs for any other medium, like television?
I have been fortunate to write and sing original music that has been licensed for film and TV shows. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to be invited to sing on video games like “God Of War”, “Twisted Metal Black”, “Everything or Nothing”, “Wild Arms 3” and would definitely love to have some of my original music featured in some high profile games.

What inspires you to sing and write?
It’s really no less than an insatiable pull to express myself with melody and lyrics and sound.  I’m really just one of those people who can’t not do it. Like people who have to exercises to feel normal, I have to be writing and swimming in music to feel like I’m connected to myself. 

What inspired your upcoming single “I got everything”?
With my single “I got everything” it was just such an in your face kind of feel that lyrically it had to be the same. I wanted the song to just be all attitude and simple and hooky and sexy; it was a fun track to write. I was looking on this record to really push myself to write a lot of up tempo material. A musician friend in the business used to tease me that my songs were always around 85 bpm. I was struggling to write up tempo songs on the guitar because I’m not a good enough guitar player but I was dying to go there. Working with loops helps me write from a percussive place and work with any tempo that moves me, and it has opened up a whole new world of possibility for me as a writer that I am really, really loving.

Why did you start the "I got everything" CD cover contest?
There was going to be a lag in the time I released “I got everything” and when I shot new photos for my brand new album. I didn’t know what photos I was going to use for artwork for the single that would be new and fresh and feel like this new record. Then I thought of all the amazing artists that are a part of the Womanthology project and artists that I have been able to meet at the fan conventions and thought “Why not have someone illustrate me for the CD single?”.  I thought also that it would be fun to do a contest with prizes. “Jem” is always doing contests, so that is where the idea came from. Thanks to Renae for championing the idea, to Amanda Deibert for all her help administrating this contest, and to all the wonderful artists that have taken the time to create and share their artwork for this.
How did you learn about Womanthology? Why did you want to become involved?
I had the pleasure of meeting Renae at a few convention appearances for my work on “JEM”. I was really honored to be asked by Renae to participate in Womanthogy...I said yes initially because Renae is such a cool girl and I wanted to help in any way I could. I honestly had no idea what an amazing project this would turn into and the levity of it.

What song did you choose for the comic?
I chose three songs off my new album that I thought would be a possible fit for the theme and sent them to Renae to listen to with lyric sheets. She then passed them on to the team. I’m not sure who made the finally decision but I’m thrilled that my song “Blue Sea” was the song they chose. 

Who is working on turning your lyrics into a short comic?
Bonnie Burton is the writer that is adapting my song “Blue Sea” to comic form and I have since had the chance to read her treatment. I’m totally blown away; it gave me goose bumps and I can’t wait to see the Illustrations by Jessica Hickson. I’m thrilled to be working with these amazingly talented women. I've never had the chance to be involved in anything like this. It's so cool!! 

What would you say to any nervous up-and-coming creators?
The Creative industry is definitely one with many unknowns. There is not really a formula like a regular career where you work your way up in a pretty predictable way. It’s the big unknown for sure but when you are willing to just show up and learn from people who have what you want and be willing to make mistakes and grow and get better every day at your craft.  If you have a passion and talent for something artistic I really feel you need to find a way to honor that in your life, be it pursuing it as a full time profession or simply making sure that you take time in your day to create and use your gifts and share them. Life is so short and so full of beauty so don’t be afraid to add your unique and wonderful talents and beautiful gifts to the mix. The old sayings of “Feel the fear and do it anyway” and “Dance as if know one is watching”, they are cliches for a reason: They are true and have stood the test of time. So get out there and dare to dream big dreams, and then live them. 

In honor of the show that inspired this blog, we'll end with the questionnaire developed by Bernard Pivot:

What is your favorite word?
What is your least favorite word?

What turns you on? 

What turns you off? 

Mean people
What sound or noise do you love?
Music and rain
What sound or noise do you hate?
Car stereos where the low end is so loud it distorts and assaults you when you are driving and people chewing with their mouths open
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Paranormal investigator or Kindergarten teacher
What profession would you not like to do under any circumstances?
Fire breather, sword swallower, undertaker
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Hey sweet girl, we missed you, come give us a hug

Want updates on Samantha's upcoming single and album? Check out her official website! 
Can't wait to hear her sing? Her Reverbnation page has videos of some previously released music!

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