Platinum-selling Sam Bruno’s first writing placement was for Kanye West, penning and playing piano on his collaboration ‘The One’ with Big Sean and 2 Chainz. She went on to write and produce for stars like Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, Eminem and Chris Lee, sign to Atlantic Records, sync music to movies like Charlie’s Angel (‘Go Go Getter’) and TV shows Batwoman and Good Girls.
As a writing and producing partnership with platinum-selling producer and songwriter Bishop 7, Bruno has an equally prolific slate of achievements: Billboard chart hits with cuts like Lil Wayne’s ‘Famous’ from ‘Tha Carter V’ and ‘U Say’ by The Bonfyre feat 6LACK, movie placements like Bruno’s single ‘Search Party’ on Fox Film’s Paper Towns’ soundtrack and the Skrillex and Good Times Ahead EDM classic ‘Red Lip’s with Bruno also on vocals.
Now she stakes her next claim to pop super stardom with emerging super collective BLACK NEON, combining the talents of Bruno, Bishop 7, Dutch legend Sander Kleinenberg and EDM producer Thomas Helsloot in one forward thinking, transAtlantic-InterGalactic, seemingly prophetic musical entity. Soundrive Music sat down with the multi-talented artist at her home studio in Los Angeles to find out more about the new group and its latest single ‘Midnight In LA‘…
Hi Sam, welcome to Soundrive Music here in South Africa, we’re so happy to have you with us. You had quite the major start to your career getting picked up by Kayne West for his writing camp, how did that feel?
Sam: It was surreal to be honest. I was super young and had no experience in the music business and had just been writing and recording demos for the love of it. So when Ye called and flew me to London to write, it just felt.. aligned. It was an I belong moment I’ll never forget.
You’re probably most known in the EDM/electronic world for the GTA single Red Lips and the Skrillex remix. What was it like to be part of such a huge track and hear your voice everywhere?
Sam: Yeah I would walk into places like my gym and hear it on the speakers and see the music video playing on the tv. That was super dope. I’ll always be proud of that record, it’s a special one!
What doors did it open for you?
Sam: It opened and still to this day opens the door to new fans. They come find me and hit me with a “red lips always lie..” It’s wild when people from all over the world repeat YOUR words back to you. Can’t wait to experience that in a stadium full of people.
Out of everyone that you’ve written for so far, who has been your favourite and why?
Sam: Oof! You comin with the hard questions huh? 🙂 ONE of my favs was definitely Britney Spears. I grew up listening to her on my lil portable cd player and fast forward a couple of decades to the studio where I vocal coached her while she was cutting the song that I wrote in the vocal booth. Life is full circle like that.
So of course we have to say congratulations on the new super collective BLACK NEON. How did it come about?
Sam: Thank you! We originally met just as creatives getting together to create music without planning on becoming a group. But when we ended up with a body of work that we all vibed with, we decided to come together and do something a lil different and BLACK NEON was born.
Tell us about the BLACK NEON sound – what can listeners expect?
Sam: We really pride ourselves in the fact that each member is so different, with a different background, different expertise, different skill set… so you will always get a mixture of genres from us! We love to mesh styles together and deliver it in a unique way, always keeping it classic cool but still mainstream enough to dominate the charts.
There are four of you in the group, what element does each one bring?
Sam: We are all songwriters and producers in our own right. I am a recording engineer as well and I cut and produce all of my vocals. Everyone is a musician so when we’re all in a room together full of keyboards and instruments, someone is always playing or programming something.
Your new single is called ‘Midnight in LA’ – is it quite literally about midnight in Los Angeles? If it is, what makes an LA midnight better than anywhere else in the world?
Sam: You got it 🙂 It’s like a love letter to Los Angeles at night. There’s this magic in this city that’s unlike anywhere else in the world. That’s the best way to describe it. And we encapsulated that magic in this record.
You’re originally from Arizona is that right? How do you find living in LA compared to Arizona? What are the pros and cons?
Sam: Yes, I’m from AZ! I love living in LA to be honest. But I definitely have a growing appreciation for the magic and beauty of my home state so I really have been soaking it up whenever I visit. Pros of living in LA: the food options! The weather, the ocean, the lush green everywhere you look. Cons, I’m away from my family.
For someone who hasn’t been to LA before, what would be your top three “only the locals know about it” destinations to really get a feel for the city?
Sam: Winston House, Bossanova on Sunset and Georgio’s at the Standard
How have Los Angelenos been coping with the COVID situation and the lack of nightlife in the city?
Sam: Believe it or not I’m not a huge nightlife person! Lol I am always in my studio and I don’t go out too often so I’m not sure how everybody’s feelin about the clubs being shut down. But I am in full support of us doing whatever we need to as a city to keep everyone healthy and safe and move forward from this pandemic!
Have you ever been to South Africa before?
Sam: I have not been there yet but I have THE BEST fans from South Africa and can’t wait to go!!!
What are you hoping to achieve with BLACK NEON? Will South Africa be on your list of tour targets once things get back to ‘normal’?
Sam: Taking our music as far as we possibly can, to every corner of the planet! Touching people from everywhere with our sound and message of unity and light. And yesssss of course South Africa will be one of our most important stops 🙂
Thanks for your time Sam, we wish you a most wonderful day!
Sam: Thank YOU! Same to you.