Samantha Mumba might be one of the most mysterious pop stars of our generation. The Irish born singer burst onto the music scene at just 17 years old and took the world by storm. Her sultry voice and undeniable stage presence helped sky rocket her to the top of the charts in 2000. With a lineup of hit singles from her debut album, Gotta Tell You, the “Always Come Back To Your Love” singer seemed to be on top of the music industry.
Mumba went on to top the charts in several countries, earned a Grammy Award nomination and even landed a starring role in 2002’s blockbuster hit, The Time Machine. But even with all of her commercial success, a resume that most artists could only ever dream of, the singer seemed to step away from the music scene after plans of her follow up album seemed to be shelved by her record label.
Fast forward to today, twenty years since her debut, and we were still asking: what the heck happened to Samatha Mumba? We got the chance to hang out with Samantha (virtually, of course) to discuss everything from her first album to her highly anticipated sophomore album.
So, embracing the pop music fans that we are, we couldn’t resist starting off our sit down (which included delicious glasses of wine) with the most popular question from our oh so curious readers. We asked, “what happened?” And the answer might be less dramatic than you’d expect. “There’s no huge drama or horrendous thing,” says Mumba who was glowing during out chat. “I very much so got caught in a merge when all of the labels kind of condensed into two and three large labels. My entire team was wiped out so I had all new people around me and they were kind of walking on eggshells as well. Nobody’s jobs were secure and it was just kind of a weird time.”
“So, I was shelved,” says Mumba. “The label wouldn’t release music but I was still bound to my contract. So, I was in that for a couple of years before I was actually released.”
The singer was all smiles as went on to say that she discussed her hiatus from the music business. She was able to live a relatively normal life away from the lens of entertainment industry. She’s got married and is loving being a mom to her adorable mini-me, her five year old daughter, Sage.
Mumba is ready to make her highly anticipated comeback and is calling all of the shots this time around. The singer is releasing new music under her own independent label, a direction that more old school artists are going in. (You may remember that Brandy recently found success by releasing her latest album independently as well). And she’s making up for lost time by quenching our thirst with not one, but two comeback singles. The sexy mid-tempo “Cool” and the inspirational ballad “Process.”
“I think for me, this is my first time releasing everything under my own label. Doing everything independently myself and so I’m kind of getting a kick out of the fact that the rules don’t apply,” she said. “I can kind of be bold and release two singles.”
“It’s just very much so a vibe that I just love,” Mumba said about the first of the two new singles, “Cool.” She went on to describe the single as “a fun bop” and said that she can’t wait to perform it in the clubs. She also described the sexy music video as a visual about “body empowerment” and “self worth.”
The album’s second single, “Process,” is an inspirational ballad shows a softer side of the singer. And although it was written before Covid, the song is an uplifting track during this pandemic. “And then, ‘Process’ is something that is so dear to my heart,” says Mumba. “And I felt that if I didn’t release it now, it just wouldn’t be a single. And the timing and just everything everybody has been through this year. We’re just all so in the same boat together. It’s been a bad year for everybody. It sucks.”
Mumba expressed her optimism about things getting better for the world soon. “But like anything that sucks and is shit in life, it doesn’t stay that way forever,” Samantha says. “And it does change.”
We also chatted with Samantha about her favorite memories from her first album, her new music, motherhood and female empowerment in the music business.
This is the comeback fans of 2000’s pop music have been waiting for. And, if there’s any doubt about Samantha’s star power, we’ll leave you with this: it’s been twenty years since her debut and the singer’s legacy is still undeniable and her songs remain timeless. Recently, Billboard named “Gotta Tell You” as one of the Greatest Choruses of the 21st Century; a feat that most artists could only dream of.
Watch our full interview with Samantha Mumba above!