We've all got more than fond memories of tunes such as Gotta Tell You and Always Come Back To Your Love, and soon we'll be hearing brand new music from the versatile singer.
We sat down for a chat with the woman herself, and once our starstruck fever calmed down, we managed to ask her a few questions.
There have been whispers of musical comebacks for many years now, considering her first album Gotta Tell You was released back in 2000 when she was only sixteen-years-old.
While the rest of us were figuring out creative ways to abandon school for a few hours and day-dreaming of Zack Morris from Saved By The Bell, Samantha was making CHUNES.
So why choose now to release her long-awaited album number two? Samantha is a woman of many talents, trying her hand at Masterchef in 2017, as well as appearances in Dancing On Ice and on ITV's Loose Women.
“It’s been in the works for a couple of months, so for me I did Manchester Pride last summer, and I was so blown away by the response. As I was onstage I was literally like, why don’t I have any new music to perform? This is stupid, like it’s ridiculous. I’m one of those people who gets in their own way all the time. Even if I think of doing something, I’ll think of 20 reasons not to do it. I thought, ‘No, enough it enough’. I was afraid to do it again. The timing just feels good, and now I’m seeing that everyone is coming back, I thought, ‘What is going on?’ Hang on a second, I was coming back first!”
Damn right she was. Samantha's popularity with a range of audiences and people of all ages has to be noted, but why do so many listeners seem to relate to her?
“That’s a great question, and I don’t really know the answer. It’s just one of those things, a nostalgia thing. I also think because I was so young when I started, a lot of people literally feel, and they have, like they’ve grown up with me. People have even stopped me in the street to say, ‘Oh hey, how are you?’ as if they know me. I’ve been around for a while, I think there’s that kind of connection where people have really gotten behind me, it’s like I’m a cousin of theirs. It’s that kind of thing, it’s brilliant.”
Samantha still returns home to Dublin fairly regularly, and her little daughter Sage calls it her home too. We wondered if she had stayed up to date on Ireland's current homelessness crisis?
“It’s scandalous, it’s absolutely shocking. That’s why I thought this Just Eat campaign was just such a no-brainer. I’d love if they could double what they did last year, which in itself was incredible. Even especially being home at the minute, and it’s so cold, you just think, ‘Oh my God’, it’s not right. There’s a lot of young kids that are homeless, and it’s heartbreaking. Being a mother now myself, it’s just awful. You never know what goes on in someone’s life, it can happen to anybody, you just never know what kind of bad things could come somebody’s way. It can happen to everybody, and everybody should chip in," she says.
She's partnered up with Just Eat this year for their annual National Takeaway Tuesday to raise funds for the Peter McVerry Trust, who do vital work for the homeless. To date, Just Eat customers have generated over €50,000 for the Peter McVerry Trust, enough to move five people out of homelessness and into better futures.
Samantha comments; "This takeaway campaign is perfect, because you can order food on a Tuesday, get a 10 percent discount and chip in 10 percent to 2019’s Just Eat charity of choice, the Peter McVerry Trust. So you’re doing something good."
Does she notice the homelessness which is also prevalent in Los Angeles too, while she's spending her down-time there?
“Again, who am I to talk about anything, but there are definite areas. Santa Monica area and Downtown area, what I find is that a lot of the problems there are mental health. These people should be in facilities, in LA for me I notice, it’s a lot more of that. Whereas here, it’s more people who are getting a bad run of things. It just seems to be different circumstances, I suppose," she emphasises.
Her daughter Sage was born in 2015, with her husband Torray Scales. We're immediately jealous of Sage, because she's already heard some of her mum's new material;
‘Nightmare before Christmas is her thing. We listen to that soundtrack, and I love it as well, so it’s great. Sometimes she said, ‘I wanna hear mummy’s songs’, she approves of the new songs, thankfully. She’s very sweet, but other times she’s like, ‘Ok, back to Disney’, she laughs.
“She says she lives in LA and lives in Dublin, she loves being home. She gets totally spoilt rotten at home. The back and forth is her norm, she doesn’t know any different.”
We couldn't let Samantha go without trying to get the dates for her new music to be released, it had to be done. For the good of mankind. Luckily, she was ready for the question;
“I was hoping to have a date already. I have to have it within the next two weeks, because I want my first release to be latest end of March, early April. So we’re working on it. I’d love to have two singles out by the summer, and the album definitely will be later on in the year, but I’m on it.”
Me: “Calm down, Shane. It’s only January 4th.”
Also me: “Okay, Samantha Mumba and Madonna, it’s 2019–where are the new albums?!?”
One core difference between now and when Samantha started is, of course, the power of social media. She's aware of it as a tool, and this time it's going to connect her even more to her fans;
“That’s what I’m enjoying the most, there’s no random people telling me what I have to do, I’m fully in control of everything. That’s kind of the most exciting part for me. The people I’ve been working with in the States are so creative, they’re really pushing me out of my comfort zone.”
In terms of teasing some collaborations in the pipeline, she's revealed a song with MNEK has been created, and we are SO HERE for it. The artist is known for working with some of pop's biggest names, among them are Dua Lipa and Zara Larsson.
“MNEK I have done work with, yes, I adore him. He’s incredible, he’s so talented. I have done one song with him, and I have my core group of people to work with. I think he’ll actually be in LA again in another couple of weeks, so we’ll do another session there as well. I’d love to bring him in with my people, because I think they’d all mesh really well. I’m excited for what that will bring. He’s such a talent and a joy to work with.”
Is there anyone she's especially got her eye on, in terms of new female talent?
“I just discovered her and I’m obsessed, it’s Donna Missal from the US. She’s incredible, I love her."
Samantha is 36-years-old, and time has only given her even more glamour, wisdom and thick-skin for the tough music industry.
Her new album is set to encompass that sense of maturity;
My new music is pop R’N’B, it’s current to where I am, I’m a grown woman who’s lived a life. I have a lot of things to say. I’m just expressing them, and hopefully other women will relate to it."
Samantha is the newest 2019 mood; let her reign begin anew.
“My first memories are of the barbed wire at the end of our street.”
Memories are very important to Deirdre Mackel. In honour of International Women's Day, we sat down with the Belfast artist and Deliveroo cyclist to chat with her about art, feminism, cycling and everything in-between.
“My art is inspired by the little memories I have of childhood. They’re symbolic, but not overtly so,"she says of her art.
“I get the memory and I go with my trail of thought and see what comes out of it.”
What comes out of the past has a lot to say about the future. Several of Deirdre's works tackle the construction of femininity and break down what exactly it means to be a woman in today's society.
"I did an ironing board sculpture and it really represented the futility of domesticity. Why do we bother ironing? Why are we wasting our lives doing the same thing day after day?"
An image that Deirdre keeps returning to are dresses. For her, they have a personal meaning as well as feminist one.
"I remember drawing myself on the back of a wedding invitation when I was about three. I was curious about it so I tracked down that same paper online. I didn't realise that they were the colours that I always used in my painting."
Dresses are not only a source of memory for Deirdre, but they also represent something deeper.
“For me, dresses represent conformity and non-conformity. They’re the christening gown, the communion dress and the wedding dress. They represent what’s expected of a nice, Catholic girl.”
After studying Fine Art in The University of Ulster, Deirdre now brings art and creative projects to Belfast's local communities. She's passionate about finding healing through art. A recent instillation finds beauty in barbed wire.
"That was my childhood. There was barbed wire at the end of our street, that was my play-ground growing up. That's why I call these instillations accidental gardens. It's all about finding those tiny spots of beauty."
She works with community groups bringing out creativity in everyone from children to elderly groups.
“One of my favourite things is creating art in what are known as ‘problem spaces’. These are places that have a lot of bad feelings and memories attached to them.”
One such problem space was an old RUC police barracks. With Deirdre's help and encouragement, a seniors group used their croqueting skills, tuning a place that many of them had loathed and feared into a colourful knitted garden.
"Seeing them have a tea party in the garden surrounded by their work- that's the kind of thing that drives me."
Historically, certain communities in Belfast suffered real or perceived barriers accessing art galleries. With the help of EU funding, Deirdre is breaking down these barriers.
"You only have to look at the giant murals on the Falls road to know that the creative instinct was always there. They’re phenomenal works of art, now we have tourists come just to visit them.
“Twenty years ago, there was a distinct lack of place for the arts and creative activities. Now a lot of the community art projects are funded by the EU. We’re working with artists to create public art trails around the city. It’s all about turning the physical scars of the conflict into something people can feel proud of and have ownership of.
“It greatly contributes to the health and wellbeing of people in the community, being about to claim ownership of a sculpture or a piece of art is a powerful thing. It’s one of the reasons why I’m so passionate about art in the community.”
As well as looking out for the community, Deirdre also takes care of her own health and wellbeing and makes some extra cash dollar at the same time.
“I've always loved cycling. I remember seeing lads on Deliveroo bikes and thinking that that was something I’d like to do.
“I saw an ad not long after, so I just decided to go for it.”
Being out on the bike is a fantastic way to keep fit, after her first day she "couldn't move for days" but now takes it all in her stride, or spin if you will.
While there are good and bad days on the bike, the positives far outweigh the negatives of the job.
“Some days it can be freezing for you can get soaked. I’ve fallen off my bike once or twice but the great thing is you just hop back up and keep going.
“I really enjoy it, I get to see parts of the city that I never would otherwise and have made some great friends for all different kinds of backgrounds.”
Most of Deirdre's co-cyclists are men, which "surprised" her.
"I definitely think that it's a great job for both men and women. You get out and about in air, there's just so many advantages.
"Or maybe I'm just mad," she laughs.
Her advice for any aspiring creative types out there? Just go for it.
“If you want to do something, all you need is to want to do it. There’s just this switch that decides ‘right, I’m going for this now’. Listen to it."
An artist with a spinning ambition, Deirdre is definitely one to watch this International Women's Day!
To find out more about becoming a Deliveroo driver see here.
This is Tal Peleg, she is an artist and began using her eyes as her canvas for some of her creations.
She loves make-up and that is what led her to these creations, she told Bored Panda "Makeup is an amazing form of art, and I use it in order to make my eye tell a story."
"I don’t just paint on the eye, but try to use the shape of the eye and its natural curves as part of the illustration in a creative way."
"Inspiration is all around me, and I give my own unique artistic interpretation using makeup. It can be inspired by emotions, movies, fairytales, animals, food, important social matter and more."
"I create all the eye-art on my own eye, and I use mostly eyeshadows, eyeliners and watercolors, and of course – super tiny brushes. It takes hours of work, and lots of patience, but I really enjoy every moment of the process!"
One Direction’s Harry Styles has been immortalised forever in cracker form.
Food artist Nathan Wyburn was asked to create portraits of some of the UK’s most famous faces in Jacob’s snacks as part of the company’s new £10million campaign.
While artist Miss Cakehead built UK national treasures such as Stonehenge and the London Eye out of the snacks, Nathan focused on famous faces.
His inspired creations – made out of cream crackers and mini cheddars among other treats – include Cheryl ‘Cheddars’ Cole, Kate Middleton (Duchess of Creamcracker-bridge), Holly Willoughby (Holly Odditybooby) and now, Harry ‘Minicheddar’ Styles.
Over 12,000 Twiglets, 54kg of Cream Crackers and over 10kg of Mini Cheddars were used to make the artworks, which were unveiled last night at a London art gallery.
Nathan, a semi-finalist in 2011’s Britain’s Got Talent said, “We all know and love Mini Cheddars so to have the opportunity to create Cheryl Cole and Harry Styles out of them was so much fun.”