Amazing Artist Born in Zambia & Gained Popularity in Australia — Meet Singer Sampa the Great

Kareena Koirala
Nov 05, 2020
07:30 A.M.

Sampa the Great, the multihyphenate talent who hails from Zambia, moved to Australia to start a career as a music artist in her adult life. When she came back to her roots, she did not get the reaction she was hoping for.


A darling in the Australian music scene, hip hop sensation Sampa the Great bagged a trophy in the Best Live Act category during the National Live Music Awards in the country on October 20, 2020.

It was the evening's biggest award, and after Sampa was announced the winner, she made history because she is the first solo artist and female musician to ever take the top spot.

Sampa the Great during the Planet Afropunk Performance for her song "Black Atlantis" video released on October 26, 2020. | Source: YouTube/SampaTheGreat

Sampa the Great during the Planet Afropunk Performance for her song "Black Atlantis" video released on October 26, 2020. | Source: YouTube/SampaTheGreat


The singer was over the moon and thanked everybody who worked behind the scenes to make it happen. Things were looking pretty great for her, and with a bunch of ARIA nominations for 2020 already on her name, she could not have been more grateful.


Sampa could have never imagined she would be the displaced one someday.



When the time came to trace back her African roots and return to her homeland to share her musical gift, she wanted to feel the same kind of gratitude, but instead, she was terrified. She feared they would not get her there. Talking about her insecurity with The Guardian, she said:

"A person coming out of Africa and playing globally while still being themselves and pushing for their own culture – to go home and not be understood."


The fear was real, and it had seeped into every part of her when she stepped on the stage during her first-ever show in Africa. Luckily, everything went well, and the audience ended up singing back to her.

While she enjoyed the wave of success, her heart always cried out for Zambia, her true home. Having moved to California at the age of 19 and then to Sydney where her career took off, returning home would be a remarkable and memorable moment. Or so she thought.



When she went to Zambia, her worst fears were realized. They said she was different. People could note the displacement in the way she spoke her mother-tongue. She shared how that felt like in the interview with The Guardian and said:

"I became the diaspora, which was a perspective I had sympathized with but didn’t think I’d have myself."



Sampa could have never imagined she would be the displaced one someday. People labeled her Australian and amid the confusion and unpleasantness, she felt lost in the narrative. But then one friend reached out, reminding her that she was a Black artist and her job is to create.

Her 2019 album "The Return" explored the themes of displacement, heritage, and her home. After things started to fall back in place, she filmed the record's videos in Africa, the most remarkable of which is the video of "Final Form."

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