We supported Samantha after having a child, to release her debut album Ancestry

Introduced to epic female voices 

Music has always been a place of solace for Samantha Lindo. One of her earliest musical memories was performing in a school play at primary school and she looks back on the experience as one of the happiest moments in her life. 

We were all working towards a shared event and it was about being creative,” Samantha explains. There was always a home in the arts and it was something I was good at.”

She believes she was fortunate to have an influential secondary school teacher who would allow students to explore and perform music of the artists they were interested in, and this aligned perfectly with the inspiration she received at home.

My dad and grandad love music, and different types of music. My grandad was really into jazz, so I would sit with him and listen to amazing female singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. My dad was into Motown, R&B and soul. Epic female voices like Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Gloria Estefan and Tina Turner were ingrained in me from an early age.”

Samantha eventually moved to Bristol and began writing music with a reggae collective but it was only after going through a difficult time personally that she started writing her own experiences into her songs. She explains that, it was quite a natural process. Music brought out what was hidden in a beautiful way.”

After being introduced to Help Musicians by a friend, Samantha decided to apply for support with releasing her debut album, Ancestry. She was not successful the first time around but remembers a feedback call she had from the charity was invaluable. It was really encouraging to have that call where someone said we really liked your application’ and offered help. That call gave me confidence that my next application was going to tick the right boxes.”

Help Musicians staff are really encouraging so even speaking with them gave me creative confidence. The charity feels human, it isn’t a faceless organisation. They are humans and deeply care about musicians’ lives and journeys.

Preparing to release Ancestry 

Samantha was awarded support the second time around and began putting her plans into action. She wanted help with releasing her debut album Ancestry but rather than assistance with writing or recording music, planned to ensure all the visual content accompanying her release was of an exceptional standard.

For the album cover, Samantha worked with a creative called Ash Kaser and was delighted with the outcome. Ash gave Ancestry a branding which is very true to me. He really understood the essence of what the album is. The cover is beautiful.”

The album is obviously the most important thing. But the way you communicate and share that is so important. In a time where there’s so much content and so much new music, what is your voice? How can you tell your story? Because that’s what means something to people and how you connect with fans and find your community.

She also shot a video for one of the album’s lead singles Like Family’, and enlisted the help of Denise Rowe and Lizzy Goldsack, a choreographer and videographer. For the video, we went to Devon for a three-day shoot and it was a bit of a ritual in itself. The last shot stands out in my memory. As we were filming the final sequence, the sun came out and a drone captured everything. It is a stunning shot and we managed to edit it into the video for Like Family’.”

With support from Help Musicians, Samantha was able to generate a wealth of content for her album release. Not only the video and album cover but also stills and behind the scenes moments, all of which will be important to share with her fans to document the album journey.

As an independent musician, Samantha recognises the value of sharing content like this, because having a loyal community of supporters is what will sustain and build her career. That is what will enable me to keep creating. I think the more authentic and considered I can be in my storytelling the better.”

Unexpected support 

Help Musicians’ business advice sessions were an unexpected aspect of the charity’s support that stood out to Samantha. There were numerous decisions around Ancestry’s release that were tweaked based off advice from industry experts she spoke with. 

We basically talked through my entire plan and sense checked it. It is good to be enthusiastic and optimistic but also sensible. The business advice sessions were a great balancing process for me.”

It’s not just about having the business sessions and learning whilst you’re in them but also being plugged in afterwards so you can hear about new things that will shape how you deliver your plans.

Samantha received a further email from the charity which lead to some wellbeing sessions, organised through the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM). Learning about vocal health and performance from an experienced vocal coach was a fantastic opportunity and has given Samantha insight and tools to protect her voice for the rest of her career. 

She has also received mental health support from the charity and highlighted the music-centric focus of the help as a game changer, particularly with the fact that Samantha was about to give birth. The person I spoke with was great because she understood the nuances of being an artist but also becoming a parent. She had kids as well and had worked with lots of different artists. It was such a nuanced kind of support to have because sometimes counsellors don’t understand what it is like being a creative.”

Another organisation that Samantha has found to be a source of strength over the last year is called MAMA, a coaching group that focus specifically on supporting mothers in their professional or parenting journey. MAMA has been a vital support network for Samantha and she believes this is an area where there could be more help for mothers.

There are quite a few key musicians in Bristol that now have kids and it would be amazing if there was more support for pregnant musicians, especially for wellbeing and balancing. After all pregnancy is such a unique place to be.

Plans for 2024 

Ancestry was released in November 2023 and uses stories from Samantha’s family history to explore themes of dual heritage identity, inter-generational healing, climate justice and community. 

She is greatly looking forward to the album’s live launch which is set to happen at two venues – London’s Ninety One Living Room and Bristol Beacon. Bristol Beacon has been shut for a few years but is open again now. It’s an amazing space and I’m collaborating with a choir on the evening to sing all the harmonies, so it’s a big show I am really excited about.”

In terms of recommending Help Musicians to others, Samantha highlights the thoughtful and specific nature of our support as something that makes it unique. Help Musicians identify the issues that are challenges for musicians, whether it’s financial, mental health or physical health. The charity’s support has helped me continue in a profession and career that can be incredibly challenging.”

The charity’s support is holistic and well-integrated. My advice is be proactive in finding out what is available and make the most out of the support you might receive.