Joe Samba bring his reggae-infused music to Sunshine Theater - Albuquerque Journal

Joe Samba bring his reggae-infused music to Sunshine Theater

Joe Samba will open for Pepper at Sunshine Theater on Sunday, March 26. (Courtesy of Eric Fralick)

Eventually, everyone faces obstacles. Many of them, in fact. These obstacles can arrive in a flash and push a person into negativity or depression, some at a more intense level than others.

Joe Samba places positive lyrics in his reggae-infused music to offer comfort to everyone – including himself.

“Every song is different,” Samba said about his writing. “If it’s a groovy tune, it’s going to be naturally more positive, more upbeat, but still with a sense of you can do this … you can get through it. You’re happy, life is good.”

Samba was born in the Northeast and grew up in a musical family. His father and brothers all played bass, and he eventually formed a metal band in high school. Soon he came across the influential and innovative Sublime, and his musical trajectory shifted.

“I worked at a record store and I really liked Sublime,” he said. “It’s still a really cool, unique way to discover music through this one specific band, not just even reggae but … hardcore mixed with island music.”

To note, Samba said he was fortunate enough to form a friendship with Kellie Nowell, sister of the late front man of Sublime, Bradley Nowell. Kellie Nowell is executive director of the Nowell Family Foundation, which aims to provide recovery services for artists who struggle with addiction.

“The relationship with them and that charity is amazing, and they’re doing some really good things out on the West Coast,” Samba said.

Before the pandemic became an unexpected normal in society, Samba relocated to a different coast, Key West, Florida, and started to perfect his sound and style. The move was rewarded when his 2019 debut album “The Wrong Impression” reached No. 1 on the “Billboard Reggae Albums Chart,” eclipsing over 2 million streams.

Filtering between groovy, rhythmic beats, punk-inspired tracks and mellow tunes, Samba touches on different issues while offering a positive spin through his words. All with a catchy beach vibe attached.

This is due to the fact that Samba believes in the value of a full balanced album, not just a reliance on singles.

“How I always consumed music was through full albums, beginning to end,” he said. “I’ve always just kind of had the album mindset.”

Samba maintains his dedication to structure on his 2022 sophomore album “Far From Forever.” The listing is powered by tracks “Beef,” and “Create Something,” the latter currently inching closer to a million streams on Spotify. He does bring out his thrash influence with “Boomer Economy,” but also slows the tempo and timbre with the exceptional ballad “Love Votive,” complemented by a lovely piano.

“Love Votive” has significant meaning to the musician.

“It’s probably the one that most people say they relate to most, but it was also the one that I kind of wrote for myself,” he said. “What I went through and my healing process.”

Samba has had stints with depression himself, but promotes facing adversity and overcoming life’s challenges.

“Finding an outlet for yourself, whether it’s music or whatever, I feel is super important,” he said. “I’m just lucky that my outlet is music and I have a way to express it and relate it to people just through my own experiences musically and philosophically.”

There’s never an ideal time for an obstacle to arise, but, with an open mind, there’s always room for a good time.

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