'American Idol' 2020 Winner Just Sam Says She Went Broke Paying Back Her Record Label
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'American Idol' 2020 Winner Just Sam Says She Went Broke Paying Back Her Record Label

American Idol winner Samantha Diaz says she’s now “broke” after parting ways with Hollywood Records.

The singer, who won under the name “Just Sam,” said in Instagram stories that she originally hoped that she would be able to jumpstart her singing career by putting out music. But she soon realized that the music industry was harder than she thought to navigate. After winning a contract with Hollywood Records, she left a year later before she ever recorded an album.

“I thought it was gonna be easy, just go to the studio, record, put out music,” she said, according to PopCulture. “And that’s not how the world works. That’s not how the industry works. It takes time, it takes money that I don’t have. It takes patience.”

She explained that she has people in her life who are helping her with her music career, but right now it’s all about surviving each day.

“I have people who are helping me. I’m putting out music when I can and when it’s ready. It’s just hard because I’m coming out of pocket and I have bills to pay,” she said. “And American Idol is not going to pay my bills. Lionel Richie’s not going to pay my bills. Katy Perry’s not going to pay my bills. Luke Bryan is not going to pay my bills. I have to pay my rent. I have to make sure that I’m eating every day, which is hard to do.”

While saying she’s not “broke-broke,” she did explain that it is difficult to release music because of the cost to mix and master music. She also revealed that when she left Hollywood Records, they prevented her from making money on her American Idol recordings by taking them off of iTunes.

"I was not the one that pulled [my 'Rise Up performance'] down from iTunes, Hollywood Records did that," she said, adding that while she’s not sure of the exact reasoning, she thinks it had to do with her leaving the contract.

“I don’t know the logistics behind it. I don’t know the legal side of things. But I believe that when we parted ways, in order for them to keep 100 percent of the money that was made from ‘Rise Up,’ I think they had to pull it from streams so that I wouldn’t get a cut, which is smart,” she said. “Smart move Hollywood.”

She also revealed that the record label had her pay back a large sum for ending their partnership to gain the rights to other songs she made. She said her music currently has to come second to paying for everyday expenses.


“I'm not even going to tell you guys the amount of money that I had to pay after leaving the label to claim songs that I had already recorded, she said, adding that she writes and records every day while making ends meet.

“How can I put music before rent, I’d literally be back in the place that I was in before the show if I did that,” she said. “And I tried, I really genuinely did try to pay off my music, the way that the label suggested after we parted ways. I tried their way and it did not work. I’m doing it God’s way. I’m trusting the process.”


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We are rooting for Diaz’s future success in the music industry.

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