9 Things That Inspire Sammy Jean

The Calgary musician talks about why she loves running in Mission, watercolour painting and Green Apple Pop Rocks from Freak Lunchbox.

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With a bold voice to match her dynamic sound, Sammy Jean is one Calgary musician to watch. Fronting Sammy Jean and the Samsonites, this singer/songwriter’s diverse influences —Motown, jazz and soul — are wrapped up in a retro package. Expect to find a few of her favourite things peeking out through the lyrics on her next album, Wine in the Bathwater, which is slated for release this spring.


Giving a straight-razor shave

I was a barber for five years and my main reason for getting into it was giving straight-razor shaves. I love the Lucky Tiger grooming kit — it’s an all-natural line started in 1935 and it smells so clean.


Bath time

I’m always go-go-go-go, so I love the quiet of a bath using the Kama Sutra Treasures of the Sea bath salts. I like sticking my head under the water and listening to the muffled, distorted sounds that come to me; I like to try to imitate them in my music. 


The Show malbec wine 

It’s really, really bold and it has such a full flavour. I love having a glass when I’m writing. It’s a good way to relax and think outside of the box.


Watercolour paint

I’ve always loved painting, but I like watercolour, especially. There’s a lot to play with, watching the colours blend with other colours, but it still requires a lot of focus.


Running in Mission

I love early-morning runs, especially in the Mission area. It’s so beautiful down by the river when you get to see the sunrise. 


Driving through the Kootenays

There’s something about the smell — it smells fresher there, so I feel refreshed. Taking the Greyhound is my favourite, because I can just let that inspiration take over and I’m ready to write almost instantly.



He’s the only superhero who doesn’t have superpowers; he’s just a guy trying to save the world. I like that he worked hard at it and built himself up past his limitations. 


Freak Lunchbox

Walking into Freak Lunchbox on 17th Avenue S.W. is like walking into my mind. I just love how it’s so bright and colourful and weird. I get Green Apple Pop Rocks there, because I love apples. I refuse to go onstage without an apple.


Janet Jackson concerts 

There’s a whole scene created with giant grandiose stages. I love that it’s more of an experience than a show. I’ve seen Janet Jackson twice, and they were among the top live shows I’ve seen. 


This article appears in the January 2016 issue of Avenue Calgary. Subscribe here.


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