Sampa The Great (Sampa Tembo) is a poet and singer-songwriter. Expressing herself through music, poetry and visual art, Sampa captures listeners with thought provoking words, while encouraging people to enjoy the simplicity of creativity.
The rise of Sampa The Great has been spectacular to watch. Having previously released two mixtapes in The Great Mixtape (2015) and Birds And The BEE9 (2017), the Zambian-born, Botswana-raised and now Melbourne based artist shared her debut album The Return, in 2019. The Return sees Sampa delve into conversations of freedom, expression, heritage and displacement that have filled a four-year journey towards finding home within herself. It is a walk beyond her journey to selfdiscovery, rather a formative climb to enlightenment and contentment fuelled by her experiences as an artist in Australia and the physical, spiritual and cultural influences of her ancestors and birthplace in Zambia.
Mixed predominantly by Stones Throw’s Jonwayne and BoyBetterKnow’ s go-to engineer MsM and Andrei Eremin (Grammy Nominated Engineer). The Return blends hip-hop, neo-soul, gospel, afrobeat and jazz and features productions by Silentjay, Kwes Darko (Slowthai) and Clever Austin (Perrin Moss of Hiatus Kaiyote) as well as collaborations with Ecca Vandal, Blue Lab Beats, Jazz-collective Steam Down and many more. Released on Ninja Tune, The Return, it’s debut single “Final Form” and the live show have seen Sampa The Great awarded many accolades, including an ARIA for Best Hip Hop Release, two Triple J Awards for Video of The Year and Double J Artist of The Year, as well as Hip Hop Act of The Year at both the Music Victoria Awards and National Live Music Award.
Alongside her industry praise, The Return found radio support with international heavyweights like Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden (Beats 1) and Annie Mac (BBC Radio 1). Elsewhere, the record was supported heavily by NPR, KCRW and peaked at No.1 on the US College Radio Charts, as well as all Australian community radio, Triple J and Double J. While receiving love from the likes of The Guardian, NPR, Pitchfork, The FADER, Billboard, OkayAfrica and countless others, Sampa also made her European TV debut, opening series 54 of Later With Jools Holland, performing her standout singles “OMG”, “Freedom” and “Final Form”.
The fruits of Sampa The Great’s back catalogue has accumulated over 33 million collective streams since her 2015 breakout The Great Mixtape, which was described by OkayPlayer as “an adventurous young mind-pushing out against all boundaries”. Following that, Sampa released her HERoes EP and HERoes Act 2 EP, the latter being a collaboration with Estelle, Rahki and Red Bull Sound Select. Her second long-form release, Birds And The BEE9 – produced by Silentjay, Kwes Darko and Sensible J (REMI) – was defined by The Observer as an album in which “categories dissolve around her”, won the Australian Music Prize as Best Album Of 2017 and received support from NPR, Clash, OkayAfrica, Bandcamp, XLR8R, Complex, Noisey, Huffington Post, Gal Dem, The Guardian and more. In 2018, Sampa ended the year with her independently released single “Energy”, which premiered via Zane Lowe’s show on Apple Music’s Beats 1 and has over 2.6M YouTube views to date. To date, Sampa has 33.5M+ combined streams and over 571k monthly Spotify listeners of which the UK and Australia are her #1 territories.
Entertaining audiences across the globe, Sampa has won a wave of adoring fans with her live shows. She’s recently wrapped a sold out Australian and European tour of The Return and performed at some of the most iconic festivals in the world, including Glastonbury, Splendour in the Grass, Laneway, Sugar Mountain, Vivid Live, Dark Mofo, Love Supreme Jazz Festival, Down The Rabbit Hole and more. Keeping in the company of greatness, she has supported the biggest names in music including Burna Boy, Kendrick Lamar, Ms Lauryn Hill, Thundercat, Hiatus Kaiyote, Ibeyi and Little Simz. Sampa The Great has a penchant for poetry and weaves lyrical mazes with her verses, drawing listeners into a lush, imaginative world. Her music bonds from spoken-word to rap, with stops at psychedelic and blues along the way; it’s the sound of an adventurous young mind pushing out against all boundaries.