SoSuperSam is the LA DJ Putting R&B on Her Back

By Kimberly B. Johnson
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For an artist as expansive as Samantha Duenas (DJ SoSuperSam), it’s hard to pose questions nonchalantly. How do you casually inquire about what it’s like DJing a Vanity Fair photoshoot? Is there a way to find out what EPSN parties and Complex Magazine shoots are like without sounding too thirsty?

Well, perhaps; but Sam is too on, and her clientele roster is on a searing high voltage level of lit that made me want to drop all journalistic integrity and bust a a ‘no girl seriously, what’s it like?’ Lucky for me, Sam is equally cool as she is professional:

“Vanity Fair shoots are super intense; it’s more of a mental exercise of reading both the photographer and her subject, and guiding them into a mood that creates a good photo. And the catering is always superior.”

As the quintessential jet-setting, head bobbing, bright but sensuous bad bitch archetype, Sam adds insult to injury as a legitimate scholar and accomplished DJ. The local mixtress embodies an atypical type of swag that I hope some of our Generation Zs peep; maybe they’ll be mixing futuristic bangers of Bryson Tiller songs on whatever newfangled concoctions they have in 20-who-the-fuck-knows. Either way, Sam is the here and now, a local femme fetale present for all of our musical needs, supplying the remedy only rhythm and blues can offer up.

So upon returning from work travels, DJ SoSuperSam – the LA DJ putting R&B vibes at the forefront – took time to give us insight, music suggestions and more.

sam hat

Over the last 5 years you’ve done a lot of interviews— basically all of them start out asking how you got into DJing. At this point, ‘how could you not’ is genuinely a fair answer. Still, can you talk a little about your family dynamics growing up in LA as a young Filipino girl surrounded by the era of 90s Hip Hop, R&B and house parties?

You know, now that I look back, growing up as a Filipino kid in LA in the 90s was a very unique formative experience. Filipinos typically have huge families, mine was no exception. Every weekend was spent at a family party with 20 older cousins who I would admire as they’d DJ with their crew, form R&B groups with their friends, practice dance routines. That early exposure led to my own pursuits in singing, dancing, performing and eventually DJing.

Was your family ever into LA Lowrider culture like mine was? Any other regional subcultures come to mind?

Not particularly.  The mainstay in my family was the Lakers.  For most of my life, our family bond was ordering tacos in, gathering around the TV, and watching the game.  We took many trips to The Forum and eventually the Staples Center.  I always wanted to be a Laker girl, and I still do.  If I could have any other job for a day, I’d want to be a Laker girl, learn all the routines, wear the sick costumes, and perform at a game.

sam portrait

Yes, a common ground – there’s definitely a Lakers-customed whip in my family. You have a background in fashion, public relations, dance, performance etcetera, but you also have a degree in economics from UC San Diego. Why economics as an area of focus? The production and transfer of cash is a really interesting area of study; what were the driving forces behind the major?

For as much performing I did as a kid, I never thought it would translate to an actual career. I always thought I’d grow up to be some hot shot advertising exec or a real estate mogul.  I envisioned a life of power suits and corner offices in highrise buildings.  I read a bunch of Robert Kiyosaki books during high school and when university came around, economics seemed like the right choice.

Fair enough. Powersuits reference totally made me think of [this]. Your monthly R&B-centric events titled 143 are the talk of the town still after several years of being in rotation. You’ve taken the experience to Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco and Boston in addition to its three year run in LA. The early fliers for the event promised “Slow Jams, Love Songs and Bed Squeaks;” my question is, are you guys still up to business as usual? If I come for the bed squeaks, will I leave satisfied?

Yes you will!  143’s music direction is all R&B from any decade, any tempo. Throughout a typical night you will hear everything from Jodeci ballads, to a jiggy Ja Rule and Ashanti song, to a soothing Sade, to Selena.  You will hear Drake and Bryson Tiller, and you will hear classics like Keith Sweat and Bobby Brown.

 What’s been good with the event as of late? And what will you be using to give people the feels in January?

We just wrapped up a special performance from Ginuwine! It was amazing and a surreal dream come true!  I’m currently obsessed with the Jeremih album, I will probably play every song from that album whether you like it or not [laughs].

 Hell yes. You’re a big foodie in addition to a 90s R&B music authority which is a fantastic pairing. Can you give us your five go-tos in LA for grub?

 At this moment: Ohana Poke Co., BCD Tofuhouse, Sqirl, Alimento, EP&LP

As of December 15, 2015, who are your five favorite producers?

Kingdom, Brenmar, Falcons, Mr. Carmack, Gravez

What’s your zodiac sign, and does your character match the astrological profile? Do tell. 

 I’m a virgo; a textbook virgo.  Perfectionist, organized and orderly, hyper-critical of myself, emotional and analytical.


sam bw
Your apparel and style varies immensely from streetwear to a crop top to a little black dress. Where’s your style head at these days? What pieces are you reaching for?

I’m reaching for turtle necks because I am freezing.  Adidas campus, culottes, snuggly cardigans, boots, anything from Acne. DJing and traveling require a reliable and chic backpack, in my current backpack rotation is a nylon Prada and a pony hair Kara.

What are three things your lover must exhibit for it to work?

 Kind thoughtful heart
Silly sarcastic sense of humor
Excellent taste in music

Top five favorite R&B records to drop in the last decade?

Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
Drake – So Far Gone
Justin Timberlake – Future Sex Love Sounds
Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
Raphael Saadiq – The Way I See It

sam white

You’re signed with the globally loved Soulection team which is based out of LA and doing crazy things within the music scene currently; holding a weekly show Saturdays on Apple Music’s Beats 1, the team is now broadcasted to over 100 countries worldwide. Can you talk a little about linking with Soulection and the work you’ve done with them so far?

I’d been friends with Soulection before I officially joined the crew.  So it was a really natural fit for me when I came onto the roster, as I had already been hanging out and playing shows with them.  As part of the DJ roster, I’ve been able to play for some incredible audiences and represent a group of people that I adore.

How has releasing your vocal tracks and original productions been coming along? What can we look for from you in the future?

It’s going well, I’m learning so much every day.  I’ve been in the studio and writing more regularly, the consistency is something I’ve really had to carve out for myself; it’s hard to stay consistent with things when you’re always traveling. [Currently] collaborating with friends on some things I’m really excited for! 2016 is gonna be next level.

I’m going to close this out by asking you a question I stole from Yasi Salek when she interviewed you for The Hundreds. I’m going to list five emotions, you give me songs to accompany the vibe:
Feeling myself:  Kool John – Bitch I Look Good
Feeling apathetic: Bryson Tiller – Sorry Not Sorry
Feeling ‘in the mood:’  Jeremih – Feels Like Phil
Feeling like ‘f*** that fool:’   Rihanna – Bitch Better Have My Money

Feeling ready to f*** s*** up like it’s Friday and Monday is a holiday:  Drake/Future – Big Rings


HYPETRAK Presents SOSUPERSAM’s Exclusive ‘SUP? 2’ Mixtape

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