Sami Akbari, known musically as sami.the.great, had a unique musical upbringing. As a child, her family exposed her to popular artists of their time like Otis Redding, Bob Marley, John Denver, and...Googoosh.
For anyone who hasn’t heard of Googoosh, her level of pop-stardom is comparable to the likes of Madonna. However, Googoosh is a celebrity whose iconic status and undeniable fame is not common knowledge in America. Her career reached great and admirable heights in the Middle East, specifically, Iran.
Sami’s father was born and raised in Iran, and Sami spent many months there growing up. After a short stint living in Iran’s capital city, Tehran, during fifth grade, Sami returned to the United States. As an adolescent she was somewhere between American and Iranian cultures, causing her to feel out of place among her peers. It was around this time that she started listening to The Beatles. Sami connected to the music, and in it she felt like she finally found somewhere that she belonged. Even though Sami had been singing and writing poetry for most of her life, it wasn’t until college that she finally had the courage to sit down and combine the two into writing songs. Once she did this, there was no turning back. Sami was driven by her overwhelming desire to play music, and she began performing around Roanoke, VA, where she attended school. Immediately after graduating, Sami moved to NYC to pursue her aspirations with music.
Today, Sami’s music is a sonic portrayal of emotion and wit, of melancholy and humor. Her songs reflect the notion that great things come in small packages. The music showcases a small-framed singer whose impassioned voice fills the spaces and lives around her.