Born out of the haunting and classic voices of jazz greats like Billie Holiday comes Samantha Savage Smith.
Smith began singing as a child and while she was the one who begged for lessons, she was keen to do almost anything at that age.
“I think I initiated it but I kind of wanted to do everything from speed skating to playing violin,” she said.
As a child, Smith spent a lot of time with her mom’s jazz albums.
“I used to pause it and rewind it and write down all the lyrics, you know before the Internet was available,” she said.
While Smith only began taking singing seriously over the past couple years, her debut album Tough Cookie was called the best album of 2011 by Mike Bell of the Calgary Herald.
“The response has been awesome,” she said. “I didn’t expect it at all. I worked really hard on it and I’m proud of it. It’s nice to see the response. To me it’s special so it’s great to see other people enjoy it.”
Smith was discovered in away that is often depicted in movies.
“Lorrie Matheson heard a couple of my demos I did just in the basement and he liked it and saw me play live and offered to make my record,” she said.
The songs on Tough Cookie share themes with some of the greats.
“The usual heartache, torment, failure, rejection waa waa waa,” she said with a laugh. “The inspiration really varies. Sometimes you go see a great show and it’s so rad and you pull from it. It’s a combination of things I guess.”
Smith plays The Royal on March 7.