American Idol winner Just Sam explains reason for performing in subway stations three years after win
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Featured Image Credit: ABC/Instagram/@samanthadiaz
American Idol winner Just Sam has explained why they're performing in subway stations three years after winning the US singing competition.
They may start out as a busker, entertaining commuters as they travel to work. But typically, if they end up winning, they'll swap subway station performances for selling out arenas.
But that has not exactly been the case for Samantha Diaz, more commonly known as Just Sam, after they won American Idol in 2020.
The 24-year-old - who is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns - beat Arthur Gunn in the popular singing competition three years ago, landing a record deal with Hollywood Records in the process.
But things didn't work out for Sam at the record label, as they left before they even recorded their first song.
As a result, Sam now busks on the New York subway, which left some fans rather devastated.
In a recent interview with TMZ, Sam explained further about their current situation while also addressing the assumption their American Idol victory granted them a golden ticket.
They said: "I thought, 'That's it, me and my grandmother will never experience the same struggles again'.
"And really, that's not what it was. It was also difficult because I was the only American Idol in history to win in the beginning of Covid and everything was shut down.
"People didn't want to work directly in studios right away. People were trying to figure out how to get back to whatever normal was going to be for us then.
"It took a few months before I even got into a studio, which sucked. I was living out of a hotel."
Sam also noted how little they knew about the music industry when they went on Idol.
"I definitely know now I have to read more [contracts]," they said.
"Contracts are something serious. I was just like, 'OK, yes,' and just signing things, and that's not how it goes.
"You can't just move like that. It leaves you in sticky situations. That's one thing that I learned."
Sam concluded: "Now I'm at a place where I'm like it's OK to record at somebody's house studio and put it out and the people are going to hear you.
"They're going to see you. Because I put my heart into my music. I only have five songs out and I thought, I have to pay $5,000 to get a professional to mix and master it.
"No, people are going to hear it and I know that's it's going to pay for itself in the future, even if it's not the best quality."