‘American Idol’ 2020 Winner Just Sam Says She’s Back to Singing in N.Y.C. Subways: ‘I Was Super Embarrassed’
Samantha “Just Sam” Diaz has resumed performing in New York City subways three years after winning American Idol.
The musician recently opened up about her journey since winning the popular competition series on Instagram, noting that she was “super embarrassed” to inform fans that she is back busking. Last month, she began posting videos of herself singing in subway stations.Alongside a clip of herself singing Ariana Grande’s “Almost Is Never Enough” in a subway station, the 24-year-old performer explained her situation on May 1 in a since-deleted caption.
“Back in 2021, I was super embarrassed to be going back to the trains. I didn’t want people to know that I legit needed the money & I didn’t want people to know that it wasn’t optional,” wrote Diaz, according to The Sun.”I was disappointed in myself for allowing myself to fall so low after winning Idol, but then I had to take it easy on me and remember that I started my journey with Idol at 20 years old. Not even knowing anything about Hollywood or the music industry,” the performer, who won season 18 of Idol in 2020 over runner-up Arthur Gunn, reportedly continued.
Diaz added, per the outlet, “Since then, I have learned so much and I’ve been able to take my experiences and share them with other artists in hopes that they don’t experience the same things that I did when it comes to making it in this life.”
She reportedly noted that her season of Idol occurring in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic left her in a state of uncertainty about the future, but she “was ready and waiting for whatever it was.”
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“Everyone wants to know what happened and why this or why that & I will answer those questions someday, but in the meantime I’ll say this,” wrote Diaz, according to The Sun. “I never expected to win, but I did, I was so grateful and I know that people are feeling like I let them down.”The musician reportedly admitted that she “used to feel like I let myself and everyone down too” but holds faith “that there’s more coming for me.”
“I know that everything happens for a reason and I know that this too shall pass no matter what things may look like right now,” wrote Diaz, per the outlet.
She added that her grandmother, who knows “absolutely nothing about the music industry,” is her main guidance and support system. “All she knows is how to listen and call out a good singer when she hears one,” Diaz reportedly said.
“We didn’t know what to do with the win especially being that we had absolutely no help,” continued Idol winner about her journey on the series, per The Sun. “There are people who have had more success than me and good for them I’m happy for them, but I am not them. I don’t like my situation, but it won’t be this forever.”Diaz, who performed in NYC subways before auditioning for Idol in 2020, previously opened up via Instagram Stories about how she “ended up broke” after parting ways with Hollywood Records.
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“I am making music,” said the performer last year, per Just Jared. “I just cannot afford to release music, because mixing and mastering music costs a lot of money. And I invested in myself and ended up broke. That’s the truth. Not broke, broke – like I’m living. I have my own place.”
At the time, she revealed that she left the label — which signed her in May 2020 after she won Idol — before releasing an album and owed money to the company.
“I’m not even going to tell you guys the amount of money that I had to pay after leaving the label to claim songs that I had already recorded,” she said. “I’m recording all the time or making music all the time, writing every day, doing what I have to do to survive.”
Earlier this week, Iam Tongi won season 21 of American Idol.