Samir Abass: a star is born on Channel 5 (and he’s the brother of a champion)

His basketball-playing brother encouraged him to follow his musical passion and he discovered that he enjoyed being in the spotlight. And now he aims to stay there as a soloist.

DiMariarosa Porcelli

Gen 3, 2022

His roots lie in Nigeria and Ghana but Samir Abass was born and raised in Como. When his parents arrived in Italy, thirty years ago, they met through friends and since have raised two successful sons: in 1993  Awudu was born, a young basketball talent at Virtus Bologna,and six years later Samir arrived, a new voice on the Italian music scene. After singing with Marco Mengoni on his latest album Materia (Terra), which was released on December 3rd, Abass was also noticed on the stage of the music talent show of the moment on Canale 5, All Together Now.

The happy childhood of Samir Abass

Right from the beginning, he had a happy childhood and a passion for fashion. “I’ve been lucky, I’ve always had everything. No episodes of racism, many friends to play with and surrounded by caring people,” Samir Abass tells NRW. After studying graphics and communication at high school, he then changed course but remained in the creative field.

Music was always there, my parents listened to a lot of it. Even when I went to basketball training, while others ran up and down, I went around the field dancing. But I didn’t really think it could be a job

It was when he entered the choir at the local recreation center that the idea of becoming a singer began to buzz in his head and, at the suggestion of his brother, he began to take singing lessons.

From Disney soundtracks to R&B

While studying to be a singer, Samir Abass filled his ears with the international pop of Beyoncé, Rihanna and Whitney Houston but he never skipped the Afrobeat lessons given by his mum and dad. “In the car, we listened to many traditional African artists. Not much Italian music, I must admit, sometimes Elisa or Giorgia and even Alex Baroni. I used to like the music from Disney movies like Miley Cyrus’ Hannah Montana. Now I listen to many different things because having a wide range is fundamental to my work. In addition to soul and R&B, I enjoy exploring music from emo to classical.”

The first steps on the road to stardom came with the help of an enlightened singing teacher, who convinced Samir Abass to record the first songs that he wrote himself. “People can relate more to you and your world when you propose your own things and, even you don’t get any feedback from the public at the beginning, you have to keep going.”



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In the studio with Marco Mengoni

After some unusual live shows – such as during the interval of a basketball derby in Brescia where his brother played, in front of 5,000 people – an opportunity came that only a fool would let slip through his fingers: the chance to work with Marco Mengoni.

For the new album released on December 3rd, we recorded together the songs Luce and In Due Minuti. And a few months ago in Milan I was a backing singer in one of his concerts. The experience of returning to be part of a choir was a bit disorienting because I hadn’t done it for years. But I’m very proud of how it went, the team was satisfied and everyone supported me. Now I’m concentrating on becoming a soloist, though

From chance to another, Samir Abass then went onto feature in All Together Now, the musical talent show hosted by Michelle Hunziker, this year in its fourth edition, which has just finished on Channel 5. “I hope this participation will be a springboard for me. I am receiving many professional proposals and I am very happy with how things are going and that there are people who believe in me. And in the meantime, I’m focusing on writing new songs.”

The future of Samir Abass is an Italian challenge

Unlike many of his colleagues who are packing their bags to seek their fortune abroad, Samir Abass intends to carve out his future career at home.

Because of the way things have been moving lately, I want to be in Italy right now. I would like to be able to give something to my country with my image and my personality. I think Italy needs to see more diversity, more people like me who are successful, explains Samir with the air of someone who is ready for the challenge, How many people of my color are famous like Ghali or Tiziano Ferro?

Social media is helping a lot to shift references and create new narratives and Samir Abass is perfectly at ease in the digital spotlight. However, he occasionally receives discriminatory comments: “Once I was told ‘If you weren’t black, the song would be more beautiful’. But this ignorance doesn’t affect me. Social media, especially TikTok, helped me get myself known because I could sing like Whitney Houston but no one would have listened to me without a social channel. I would like to pave the way for those who will come after me, it is a challenge that is worth facing. I think the time is right to tell more stories.”

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