NEWINGTON - Rebel, rapper and entrepreneur: Samantha Simard is making it her own way.
The 21-year-old Newington resident goes by the stage name “Sampain” - a play on her taste for champagne and her production company, Pain Entertainment.
The aspiring female rap artist founded the business venture after years of grappling with the high costs entertainment venues charge amateur performers. She and fiancé Jerry Rivera sat down in October of 2018 to formulate a new plan - one that would help her and other up-and-coming musical acts get exposure without breaking the bank.
“You shouldn’t have to pay so much to do what you love,” Simard says inside her home studio, currently being renovated.
Instead of paying $200 for an hour-long time slot on stage, artists pay what they can and sell tickets to make up their event deposit. There have been two shows so far and more are in the works. Artists are also offered studio time to record music, photo shoots and other career-enhancing moves.
“I’ve been collaborating with a lot of different artists in Central Connecticut,” Simard says. “As long as you’re willing to work hard I will work hard to help you.”
The Newington High School graduate and Florida native can recall singing songs from Disney’s “High School Musical” around the house with her sister growing up. That poppy sound is much different than the music she’s making nowadays.
Her debut album, “Miss Pain,” is set for a July release, featuring tracks like “Better” - a duet about relationship drama with singer-songwriter Chyanne Katherine. Then “Fall Back” pins a cocky Sampain against haters and challengers - common territory in the rap game.
“Right now I’m a little edgy, but I’d like to eventually rap about real world issues, that’s where I want to be,” Simard says.
She describes her style as “authentic” and “unique” - taking inspiration from fellow female rappers Nicki Minaj and Dreezy. She purchases beats online, but is currently in the process of learning how to engineer her own.
“I like to do things differently,” Simard adds. “I don’t necessarily want to be defined in one category. I strive to be like nothing else you can go out and purchase.”
She has 4,500 Instagram followers and has performed in local entertainment venues, including DMTS Radio Live in New Britain. Simard’s next live performance is set for June 13 at The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center in Middletown. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
She’s also taking online college courses in business management. Not pursuing a traditional degree immediately after high school was a tough decision for Simard.
“It’s hard to tell your family, I want to follow my dream,” she explains. “They said, ‘no, no, do it as a hobby,’ but that wasn’t for me. If I took all the effort I’m putting into my music and my business and put it into something else, I would never make it.”
To those who doubt Simard’s ability to succeed in the industry, she says, “You don’t have to believe in me or support me but at the end of the day, this is what I’m going to do. I’m proud of myself.”
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at 860-801-5097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT: Sammie “Sampain” Simard performs
WHEN: Thursday, June 13 – doors open at 5:30 p.m., show starts at 6
WHERE: The Buttonwood Tree, 605 Main St. Middletown
HOW: Tickets are $12