Samantha Testa, 21, is a bona fide pop rocker. Writing music, playing guitar and piano and singing her soul out is just another day in the life for this young Ottawa talent.
From singing for the American and Canadian Women’s Olympic Hockey teams to co-writing with Suzie McNeil from Rock Star: INXS, Testa is making waves in the music industry.
OLM’s Marie Waine got an exclusive insider with Samantha Testa about her rise to stardom, passion for music and ever her guilty pleasure karaoke tune!
OLM: When did you first know you wanted to be part of the music industry?
Testa: I pretty much did what every little girl did when they were nine-years-old—I grabbed my hairbrush and I would be singing and dancing in my bedroom. The first time I sang for anybody in public was in my elementary school talent showcase and I think that’s when it really got started. When I sang for the first time, I really didn’t understand what would happen when I opened my mouth, or if I would say anything when I opened my mouth. I guess the response was enough for me to think how cool it was and to keep going with it.
OLM: What was it like at the beginning of your career?
Testa: We tried to get some anthem singing done within the city and some talent shows. It kind of progressed from there and it just became more fun for me. It started to feel normal, so we just went from there!
Testa: I spent a lot of time watching music videos on television and I used to read a lot of poetry. It was something about the way words and then the music would make me feel, that made me want to do something along these lines. Even today when I write songs, I listen to all the old music and try to understand how it’s making me feel and how I want to make people feel when I write.
OLM: Who are your biggest musical influences?
Testa: I would say Queen, the Beatles, Nirvana, Kelly Clarkson, Pink and Michael Jackson–all of those guys!
OLM: Those are major talents! Do you hope to reach their level some day?
Testa: I really do want to play big stadiums! I got a little taste of it in Toronto when we went to Toronto. I played for 6,000 screaming cheerleaders at one of their competitions. It was crazy. Having them sing along to not only the cover songs, but to my songs too, it was the most surreal moment.
OLM: That must have felt amazing!
Testa: Oh ya! You see Taylor Swift on television and people singing along and you always wonder, ‘That would be kind of cool.’ But until it happens—I stood back and was like, ‘Did that really happen?’ That is something I definitely want to make sure I can do in the future.
OLM: Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Testa: I like to brush my teeth before I sing. I don’t know why but it makes me feel like I sing a little bit better!
OLM: What is the best part about being on stage and performing?
Testa: The energy is pretty great. Once you have the crowd moving along and dancing along, I like to go in the crowd. Definitely interacting with people—getting near them, having them sing along with you, it is pretty cool!
Testa: It was that you need to stand out. Basically, no matter what you are going to do in your life, you need to stand out because that’s how people are going to find you. But you don’t need to be or pretend to be somebody else—you can stand out just being who you are.
OLM: What advice would you give to anyone who wants to make it in the industry?
Testa: I actually just told this one girl to just not stop. It doesn’t matter if what you think you’re doing on stage is going to be weird or if people are going to look at you. Just do what you think is cool and going to wow people and make them feel something. And don’t worry about a plan B. Once you go for what you want, you’re going to get it!
OLM: So you’ve been on the scene for a few years now, what keeps you passionate about the music?
Testa: There are certain people in the music industry that gave me a light and feelings towards certain songs that I can’t even describe to other people. I really want to be able to do what they did for me, to other people.
OLM: Just for fun—do you have a favourite karaoke song to belt out?
Testa: I do like to rock out to Stacey’s Mom by Fountains of Wayne quite frequently!
To hear and download Samantha Testa’s music, visit her website.