Funk Rock Goddess Samantha “GhettoSongBird” Hollins took the word “ghetto” and created a new meaning for it. Growing up in North Philadelphia, she found peace amidst the chaos. No matter what was going on around her, she knew that music would bring her back to her center and make it all make sense.
She fell in love with music at a young age and decided to dedicate her life to be part of the change-makers in this industry that are paving the way for the generations next in line. Pulling from her ancestors’ footprint, she yields a natural aura that inspires others to pick up the guitar and rock out. GhettoSongBird talked to us about the dimensions of energy that lay the foundation for her powerful music and legacy in the making.
Tell us a little about your musical background. How old were you when you started playing guitar, and what inspired your passion for music?
My music career started with playing the keyboard by ear at the age of 12. My songwriting style grew from blending genres and melodies that were inspired by my mom’s extensive funk/rock record collection. When it comes to guitar, I always say it chose me. Over the years, I struggled to find a guitarist that could accompany my sets on a consistent basis. So at the age of 25, I decided to pick up the guitar and learn it for myself. I had no idea I would fall in love with my 6-string Liberator and eventually become an extension of it.
What inspires you to wake up every day and continue pursuing your dreams?
Ancestral energy drives me to the third power. There are so many untold stories and harmonic vibrations that live inside of me and are pushing to escape or express themselves. Even when isms attempt to stifle my passion, I get lifted by purpose, and I continue to feed my passion.
Also, being a mom gives me that extra dose of stamina to be the example that will motivate my children to follow their dreams.
Take us through your songwriting process. What types of environments do you feel you need in order to be your most creative?
Songs come through me in different places, spaces, times, and dimensions. They are never written. I keep them all in my memory and will write them out someday. The thing is, I never consciously decided to not write down the lyrics to my songs. I would pick up my guitar and would strum chords, and the words would form out of that. When I pull out songs I haven’t sung in a while for shows, the words begin to flow right back to my memory.
I started out on the acoustic, so having an acoustic guitar is always a great way to allow songs to be born at any given time. Also, I love playing acoustic gigs. It’s a totally different experience with just words and music flowing. I do grab my electric guitar when I feel I have something heavier to say with my music and words. My live band allows me to go outward more so.
What guitars are you playing right now? Name your top two or three, if possible.
My main electric guitar right now is the Vintage VS6VGHB Reissued Series Vibrola Gun Hill Blue guitar. I say “right now” because I switch guitars like I switched my style over the past 20 years. I like having that level of freedom of expression.
Then there is my Ibanez GA35 Thinline Acoustic-Electric Classical Guitar that I’ve been creating on for over the last five years. This guitar is my baby! I chose classic because, although that’s not my genre, I love to mix tones and textures to keep the sound fresh.
Finish this sentence: I believe music…
Is a super-shero!