Documentary Sam, Underground shows the life of 2020 American Idol winner Just Sam

The documentary Sam, Underground was released before Just Sam's popularity in the music industry.


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The documentary Sam, Underground shows the early life and family background of the famous African-American singer Just Sam.

Released in 2018, the documentary was written, produced, directed, and edited by Joe Penney and Ladan Osman.

The major aim of the documentary is to show the struggle of talented young singer Samantha Diaz, mostly known as Just Sam, who sings on subway trains.

It’s been over five years since the documentary was first released, and in the meantime, the life of Just Sam went from being a superstar to a subway singer again.

Just Sam started singing in the street to pay bills for their adoptive grandmother

Just Sam was born on November 23, 1998, in Harlem, New York, in a family who was barely able to make ends meet.

After their mother had been incarcerated, they and their sister Anabelle were adopted by their grandmother. At that time, Just Sam was just six years old.

The 25-year-old musician reveals that their life was not easy even after they started living with their grandmother.

Since the seventh grade, they have been singing on the street with the help of their sister and a close friend named Tiffany. Later, they discovered singing on the trains, which completely changed their lives.

They used to earn approximately $30 a day singing in the street, while on the train, it could reach up to $100 per day.

People on the train used to admire and praise their voices, which led to their popularity in that area and later helped them get an opportunity to audition for the 18th season of American Idol.

In the audition, they impressed all three judges by singing Rise Up by Andra Day. With their amazing voice, they won the eighteenth season of American Idol, beating runner-up Arthur Gunn, a Nepalese-born American singer-songwriter.

After becoming an Idol, Just Sam lived a lavish life for a while, recording and making songs. However, after a few years, their popularity dropped, which brought them back to the same life they had before fame.

As per their Instagram post, due to financial problems, they again started singing on the subway trains to pay their bills, which made many Idol fans furious toward the media.

Now, with the support of their fans, they are again rising in the music industry. They recently attended the Met Gala and performed on the 22nd session of American Idol.

Additional Information

  • Just Sam is the first LGBTQ+ to become the winner in American Idol’s history.
  • Samantha Diaz changed their name to Just Sam after they were bullied for how they dressed up.
  • Just Sam does not have a good relationship with their biological mother, as they said they never want to work with their mother.
Ruhi Tiwari
Ruhi Tiwari
Ruhi Tiwari, a passionate content writer with 2 years of experience, weaves captivating tales through her words. Beyond her profession, she immerses herself in the art of storytelling, channeling her creativity into compelling narratives.


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