Top of our site’s playlist for a reason, Sam Lao is something special. After her release of ‘Grenade’ earlier last month, covered here, she’s been all kinds of busy with the tsunami of love that the song received – and rightly so.

Artistically constructed videos and two SXSW showcases in her portfolio, she’s got more than enough skill to hang with the best of them in the hip hop scene and I’m telling you, she’s got a world of success headed for her.

Recently at Babes Fest along with a whole host of other talented musicians from Femina-X to The Reputations, she certainly holds her own and it’s very quickly turning her into a hot commodity on the DFW stage.

Happily, she had a minute to speak to us about how she got to where she is.

I know with Grenade, I get very much Missy Elliot vibes – was there any reason you resonated with her style for that video?

When I first heard the beat for Grenade, before I even wrote any lyrics it felt very 90’s, early 2000’s. It made me think of Timbaland and Missy Elliot and Missy has always been one of my favorite artists. She’s not just a great female artist she is a great artist period. Her visuals are especially iconic and I wanted to pay homage to that.

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned during your journey, whether that’s about yourself or about the industry or even something more generalized?

The most important thing that I’ve learned and I still have to remind myself of this often is – there are no rules. It’s so easy to fall into the mindset of “If I do this, this and this I’ll get this result.” But that’s not the case, not when it comes to the arts and especially not in this age of the internet and society that we live in now.

What would your advice be to little girls and boys who aspire to be like you one day?

THERE ARE NO RULES. Learn the foundation, respect the craft and those that came before you but past that carve your own lane. Don’t get caught up with how whoever did it first got where you want to be, their path is not yours and their blueprint will only take you so far. Don’t be afraid to do something in a way that’s never been done. Be you unapologetically.

Are there any aspects of this career that you don’t like?

That there are no rules, everything is a gamble. Something that worked for someone else may or may not work for you. This industry is so fickle you never really know if what you’re doing is going to work.

What was your biggest motivator in your journey?

The joy of creating something new and having other people love it and identify with it.

Author: Megan Matthews