Check out our interview with Grammy nominated songwriter, producer & singer Ben Samama who celebrates the release of his latest co-written/ co-produced track “Runaway” from OneRepublic.
When asked about writing this new single “Runaway” for OneRepublic Ben said, “Writing and producing with the band was a dream come true. We really connected on our love of 70s rock for this record! We really wanted to dial in the organic feel and the punchy rhythm section, while keeping the melodies timeless but not pastiche!”
To date Ben has amassed over a billion streams across his songwriting credits, penning releases with artists such as Lukas Graham, Black Bear, MONSTA X, Lil Wayne, Lukas, John Legend, David Guetta and more!
Follow Ben @samamasongs
OneRepublic - RUNAWAY (Official Music Video)
Hi Ben, please tell us a little about you?
Hello, I’m Jochanan Benjamin Samama, originally from The Netherlands. When I moved to the US, I just made everyone call me Ben. A lot easier!
Describe your sound in 3 words?
Future Boomer! hahah everything from the 60s and the 70s
Who influenced you and why did you choose to make music?
I come from the classical music and jazz world. My family are all musicians, so I did all that till I was about 22 when I moved to the US to make pop music. My biggest influence as a producer would be Mark Ronson and Jeff Bhasker. They always surprise me and have incredible, if a little adventurous, musical taste.
Do you play any instrument?
Keys, voice, guitar like a 5 year old, midi drums, handclaps and tiny tiny egg shakers.
Do you ever get nervous?
I used to get so nervous when I had to get on stage to perform at my old College. It’s one of the reasons I prefer being a studio rat. As long as I can take my time to write a song, I don’t have to perform RIGHT THIS SECOND, I’m always fine.
Tell us about the release of the OneRepublic Single “Runaway” and your work as Co-Writer And Co-Producer? That’s amazing!
Thank you very much! I’m very proud of it
How has being part of the great team at Bigger Picture Publishing helped in your journey and is there anything in particular you have learned from them that has helped your growth as a songwriter?
They have been paramount in my success the last few years. Apart from the great connections they have given me, their biggest strength is their ears. Knowing how to challenge my writing, how to evolve me into a stronger songwriter and creative. I thought I was good at my job before I signed with them, but I realized I was only halfway there.
What’s the story behind the song?
I have a real love for New Wave records from the late 70s and early 80s, so when we landed on this groove and chorus I was over the moon that I finally got to do something like this, and with one of my favorite bands!
How was the creative process and how challenging was to create this amazing song?
We went through a few production versions of this song, that was the most challenging part. We knew the chorus was undeniable, but then what? Where do you go with it? half tempo? Double tempo? modern sounds or older sounds? In the end we just went with what we thought was the sickest version, regardless of what any other artists are currently doing.
What is the feeling of your success and to have Grammy nominations! Congrats!
I’m very grateful to have success in this industry. Coming from Holland, the LA industry seemed like a completely different planet. It took me 12 years to get here, did all kinds of jobs to pay the rent, took any work I could get in music in order to not lose my Visa. It’s been a long journey, but eventually it paid off. For a long time I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to feel like I belong here, but now that I’m here, I’m just looking towards the next chapter already
You have worked with some of the top names in the industry like Lukas Graham, Black Bear, MONSTA X, Lil Wayne, Lukas, John Legend and David Guetta. Tell us about it and if you can pick, can you name 3 artists or groups in your bucket list to work with.
ooh, bucket list? Bruno Mars, The Police, Disclosure
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
Making music with writers, producers and artists that give me the same feeling as I got when I saw Stevie Wonder live for the first time. Just pure stank face and adrenaline rush
What book should every entrepreneur read?
Lord of the rings! hahaha
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
Stick with it, it’s gonna take a minute but it’s worth it in the end
How would your best friend describe you?
If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?
Zen and the art of never having zen
What’s next for Ben Samama in 2023?
More music! I’m doing a lot of work with the One Republic guys, they have incredible taste
What is your favorite healthy food?
The number 7 juice at CJ’s on Pico and Hauser. I don’t eat enough veggies so this is how I stay healthy haha
And your favorite cheat food?
Silver Lake Ramen, the Blaze Ramen
How would you explain your fashion style?
I don’t have any. I’m terrible with fashion. I’m a dad without the kids attached
What is your own definition of happiness?
Making what I love with people I love
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Jeff Buckley! He’s a one in a Billion artist
What would be the dream holiday, and who would you go with?
Were going to Indonesia for our honeymoon in January! that sounds pretty nice to me
Best advice ever given?
pffffffff. Find what you love and find a way to make money with it
Do you support any charity?
Wren foundation! Carbon offset
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
Still in LA, working on music I love with people I love
What is your favorite song to belt out in the car/for karaoke?
KC and JOJO – All My life!
What do you think of Social Media?
It’s a necessary evil! But it’s a great way to stay updated with my family back home in Amsterdam!
Where can we follow you?
@samamasongs on IG
Favorite Movie: Lord of the Rings
Favorite Tv Series: Firefly
Favorite Favorite Food: Street tacos
Favorite Travel Destination: Home to Amsterdam