Sampa The Great’s ‘Birds And The BEE9’ released in 2017 to critical acclaim – is a record that is both deeply personal and outward-looking. Its points of reference are poised between her closely-held roots and an internationally-minded musical outlook, carrying her identity through the many-sided musical influences which she draws from. An album in which “categories dissolve around her” (The Observer) – spanning spiritually-minded gospel and chants to neo-soul and hiphop, it’s intertwined with a clearly-defined, no-holds-barred political outlook, and speaks a message of healing after her own experiences of hurt and pain.
The release of “Birds and the BEE9” marked another high point in the career of Sampa Tembo, and was recently recognized by the prestigious Australian Music Prize, who named it the Best Album Of 2017. Prevailing over 400 eligible albums, voted on by a panel of music industry figures, journalists and other artists, the judges praised “BEE9” for having “an openness to the future… using hip hop and soul to connect and hit the ground running”.The album received strong press support.
Her latest offering ‘Final Form’, produced by Silent Jay a perfect blend of Afro-soul elements with eloquent rap rhymes. Visuals to ‘Final Form’ were shot in Zambia by Working Group Productions & Neighbourhood Films under the directorship of Sanjay De Silva.
‘Final Form’, a triumphant single that sees the MC embrace the struggle of growing as an artist. Having just been named Zane Lowe’s World Record, ‘Final Form’ is Sampa’s first new music for 2019 and sees her fiercely delivered lyrics entangled with a warm, tightly wound beat – it draws inspiration from the energy of their shared inspirations in classic hip-hop.
The release of ‘Final Form’ saw her perform on the African soil for the first time ever as Sampa The Great, delivering electrifying performances at Bushfire Festival in Swaziland, performed in Jo’burg as well as her home country Lusaka, Zambia.
Watch below, enjoy.
Born in Zambia, raised in Botswana, her upbringing continues to bear an influence on her music. Spending time in America before settling in Australia five years ago, the connections she made there have propelled her to where she now stands.
First appearing by way of 2015’s breakout “The Great Mixtape” – described by OkayPlayer as “an adventurous young mind pushing out against all boundaries” – with over 6 million streams on Spotify to date. It was followed by singles “Blue Boss” (which hit #1 on Hype Machine, reached 1 million streams on Spotify within 2 months and has 8.5+ million streams to date), and “HERoes Act 2″ EP, a 3 track EP collaboration with Estelle, in association with Red Bull Sound (over 1.5 million streams to date), and “BEE9” which has reached 3.7 million streams since release.
Sampa’s live highlights include supporting the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Lauryn Hill, Thundercat, Joey Bada$$, Hiatus Kaiyote, Ibeyi and Little Simz. Sampa has also played venues such as KOKO in London, the Sydney Opera House as well as festival slots at Laneway Festival, The Great Escape, Golden Plains, Sugar Mountain, Womad and Vivid Live.
Sampa toured “The BEE9 Experience” live throughout 2018. Playing one of her biggest shows to date at Meredith Music Festival and capped off the year with brand new single “Energy”. Sampa is currently working on her forthcoming album due for release this year.