- Words Paige Sims
- Photography Pip Bourdillon
- Fashion Jennifer Eleto
- Hair Sheila Safo @ Evolved Artists
- Makeup Buster Knight @ The Only Agency
- Photo Assistant Kevin Anaafi-Brown
- Fashion Assistant Korede Alabi
After a busy few years, performing arts triple-threat Samira Mighty takes centre stage with her anthemic debut single.
Although most of us will recognise her from our screens on Season 4 of Love Island and X FACTOR: Celebrity, London-based artist Samira Mighty is ready to cut her teeth in the world of pop-lead dance music. No stranger to performing in front of huge crowds – she trained as a ballet dancer from a very young age and made her West End debut at the age of 20 – Samira’s time in the spotlight has been a long time coming.
Now, with an impressive musical background, Samira is returning to her love of music and releasing her debut single “I Love Your Smile” with producer collective W.D.C. Promising all the feel-good summer vibes, the track is a reworking of the 90s hit by Shanice. Delving deep into Samira’s pop sensibilities, W.D.C. position her mighty vocals in front of an addictive dance beat to create a track full of energy.
To celebrate the release, Notion caught up with Samira to talk about fate, finding creativity and just how much of a performance is needed when doing karaoke.
- Jacket and trousers JUICY COUTURE
- Bra BOOHOO x MEGAN FOX
- Ring SHEDEAN
You’re dropping your debut single – are you excited for it to be out in the world?
I am so excited! It’s been a very, very long time coming. I feel like from the last couple of summers we’ve had, staying inside and with Covid, it’s so nice to finally have a song which is just so positive.
You’ve worked with W.D.C on the release, how did the collaboration come about?
It was just a no-brainer for me to do a song like that with them. I was just like ‘YES! Let’s do it’.
The track is a refreshing take on Shanice’s song “I Love Your Smile”, which is a total classic. So, why this song? Does it have a personal meaning for you?
Funny thing you say that; my sister is called Shanice and she was actually named after the Shanice. You know when something comes back around like that, I was like ‘I was meant to do this song’. And it’s my mum’s favourite song from back in the day too, she used to dance to it. I think what’s so great about it is that it fits every age – every single person knows that song. My mum played it to her dance students, there’s ages from 5 to 80 and every single person is absolutely loving it and dancing to it – which is exactly what I want people to feel when they hear the record.
It’s such a good song and it’s really cool to have a modern twist on it too.
In my head, I was like ‘I can’t believe it hasn’t been done’. But I feel like I was meant to be here for that song, especially with the connection to my sister, so it’s a definite no-brainer.
- Suit COLLUSION
- Necklace and bracelet KAREN MILLEN
Completely meant to be!
It was meant to be, and I think it’s such a great track to introduce me to the world as an artist because music is something I’ve always wanted to do my whole life.
Can we prepare ourselves for more collaborations in the future?
Oh yeah, 100%! I’ve been working on music basically since Covid happened and it’s only just got super serious in a year and a half. There’s a lot more to come and you’re going to see a lot of exciting things and I’m so excited. I’ve collaborated with such amazing producers and writers, and I’ve just absolutely loved being creative. I’ve got some absolute bangers that are going to be released soon.
Although Covid was such an awful time, I think many of us finally had so much time to be creative and delve into those passions.
Obviously Covid was a really hard time for everyone, it was a lot. But it gave me an opportunity to force myself to be like ‘You know what, discover your own songwriting’. I’d be up until early in the morning just staying in and going on YouTube, listening to different beats and watching a lot of old music. I always get asked who I look up to in the music industry and I always say people like Freddie Mercury, Jimi Hendrix and Amy Winehouse because the way they write and put everything into their music just connects with me so much.
You were previously a West End actress, you’ve been in Mamma Mia, Dreamgirls and Beauty and The Beast – how has your performance style changed from stage to being a recording artist?
I loved Mamma Mia! It was my West End debut, and I was really young – I think I was 20 – which is a really big deal for someone that age. And I love ABBA – I mean, who doesn’t? It really launched my career in the West End and then I went straight into Dreamgirls at The Savoy Theatre, which was incredible. I absolutely love the music and I absolutely love performing. It was a great opportunity.
I think the reason why I steered away from theatre a little bit is because you get to play a character – obviously that is your role, to play that character – and I loved doing that, but with becoming an established artist, you have the creativity to be who you want to be. You can create and discover so much more about yourself and push the boundaries much more than being in the show.
- Unitard ASYOU
- Bangles SHEDEAN
- Necklace and Bracelet ANISA SOJKA
Does that make the solo work scarier?
It’s really exposing! It is definitely scary, but I feel like once people hear the stuff that I’ve done and realise it’s not just been done last week, it’s taken months and a lot of stress, it’ll be even more fun.
Most of us might also recognise your face from Love Island, what did that period of time in your life teach you about yourself?
It was such a mad experience and one that I will never ever forget. I’m even watching the season now and I’m like ‘Oh God, I really just want to go in there and cause some carnage’. But it really showed me that I can do other things, because being in the musical theatre industry and being a dancer, you can get stuck doing the same thing until you’re 45 and then you’re like: ‘Shit, what have I done?’
[The show] gave me a lot of opportunities and it pushed me to meet other people. I trained as a ballet dancer originally and my school was really small, and I didn’t go to uni. I didn’t really have as many experiences as the normal teenager growing up in London, I was training constantly from the age of 12 so I didn’t really have that space to let go. I think going on Love Island really gave me the opportunity to meet other people that aren’t in the same bubble as me and also explore loads of opportunities. It’s made me who I am now.
Are there any mantras you now live your life by from those experiences? Has it made you more open to things?
I’m definitely more open to different things, but it’s also helped me have a clear headspace of knowing exactly what I want to do. I came out the show and I was doing loads of bits, and you can get caught up in the whole reality stuff side of things. Especially as my season of Love Island was so huge, you get a plate of opportunities. It kind of made me focus on realising I wanted to be a recording artist.
How are you hoping your fans and followers will receive the song?
As soon as I came out the villa, I was always doing what I was doing before by posting videos on Instagram of me singing. I think I did one literally a week after I came out and it got a lot of traction, people were saying ‘Omg, this is what you need to do’. I always get loads of messages from people asking when a new song is coming out or that they can’t wait to see me back on stage. So, I think they’re excited.
Y’know what, it’s easy to come off a show and put a song out, it might not be serious, but I think people will be shocked at how serious I am about this, and I think they’re going to really like it – I mean, I hope so.
- Bikini EVERLANE
- Bracelet SHEDEAN
- Bracelet and necklace ANISA SOJKA
Where’s the best place for us to enjoy “I Love Your Smile”?
I’d probably listen to it on a beach. But that’s what’s good about it, you can listen to it anywhere. You can listen to it if you’re cleaning your house, on a rainy day, or you can listen to it at a BBQ with friends or somewhere warm, a terrace, a balcony, or just in the park! I think it’s just one of those songs that is so uplifting; saying to someone “I love your smile” is such a personal thing and it’s a good opportunity for people who may be feeling a bit anxious about the past couple of years to actually feel good about something.
What’s in the pipeline for the rest of the year for you?
I’m so excited and nervous. I’ve been waiting to release some absolute bangers. What you can expect is just a whole performance, real “Maneater” by Nelly Furtado vibes. Absolute woman power and just really going for it, a lot of dancing and a lot of creativity. Just madness to be honest.
I feel like we need some of that at the moment.
Yeah! I need to get out there, and it’s about time someone did this.
And finally, if you were to head out to a karaoke bar one night and your friends were like ‘Samira, it’s your turn to hit the mic…’, what song would you choose to sing?
I was actually at a karaoke bar not so long ago, and I obviously sang Dua Lipa. But what am I choosing? Oh gosh, I really don’t know. It really depends on if I’m in the mood to sing a little Billie Eilish tune – I love her song “wish you were gay”, that’s a really sexy song. Or if I’m in a real dance mood, maybe I’ll do a Dua Lipa “Don’t Start Now”. It just depends on how big the stage is y’know? First of all, I’ve gotta see if I can do a kick or a split full out.
When I came out the villa, I actually did karaoke with Dani Dyer and Zara Larsson. We were all singing her song and I was giving it loads of riffs and Zara was like ‘OK riffs, I see you!’ And I was like, ‘You know Zara, let’s go do a collaboration…’
- Bikini EVERLANE
- Skirt and bracelet SHEDEAN
- Bracelet and necklace ANISA SOJKA
- Boots PALLADIUM