Just Sam – Pain is Power

American singer-songwriter Samantha Diaz, known by their stage name as Just Sam has released their new single, “Pain is Power.”

Just Sam rose to fame after winning the eighteenth season of the singing reality show American Idol.

Just Sam was born and raised in Harlem, New York. When they were six years old, their grandmother, Elizabeth, adopted Diaz and their sister, Anabelle, after their mother had been incarcerated.

Samantha Diaz was the topic of a short documentary in 2018 called Sam, Underground, which was shot and produced by Joe Penney and Ladan Osman.

In the documentary, Just Sam explained that in high school, they were bullied for how they dressed, inspiring their “Just Sam” nickname.

Prior to appearing on American Idol, Just Sam made a living singing in subway trains, and auditioned for America’s Got Talent and the American iteration of The Voice, but neither one came to fruition.

Just Sam auditioned for the eighteenth season of the singing reality show American Idol in Washington, D.C. on October 14, 2019. After surviving Hollywood Week and making it into the Top 5, Just Sam received the most votes to win.

Just Sam was crowned the winner of the eighteenth season of American Idol, beating runner-up Arthur Gunn on May 17, 2020.

Just Sam was also the first African American winner since Candice Glover in season twelve and the show’s revival on ABC.

After winning American Idol in May 2020, Just Sam signed with Hollywood Records, although this arrangement was short-lived.

Just Sam left the label without releasing any albums under them, explaining in 2022, “I thought it was gonna be easy. Just go to the studio, record, put out music, and that’s not how the world works. That’s not how the industry works. It takes time, it takes money that I don’t have. It takes patience.”

Just Sam had to pay Hollywood Records to claim the music they recorded with them, stating that they “ended up broke” in the process, but that they planned to release music “when I can and when it’s ready.”

On March 13, 2021, Just Sam released “Africando,” their first single since American Idol, which they wrote with a co-songwriter named Cat Clark and released with the help of independent digital music service DistroKid.

On September 28, 2021, Just Sam released a second independent single called “Change,” which they wrote and recorded with Cat Clark. Just Sam dedicated the song to family members and friends who were murder victims.

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