Shining A Light On Sampa The Great
Sampa Tembo (born 9 August 1993), known professionally as Sampa The Great, is a Zambian singer, rapper and songwriter. Between 2014 and 2020, she was based in Australia.
Her debut solo album, The Return; peaked at No. 12 on the ARIA Albums Chart. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2019 she won Best Hip Hop Release for her second single, “Final Form”. In the following year she won the same category for The Return, as well as Best Female Artist and Best Independent Release. In March 2020 Sampa became the first artist to win the Australian Music Prize twice: for Birds and the Bee9 and The Return.
Sampa was raised in Zambia and Botswana, as the middle of five children. Her mother, a dancer; is Bemba while her father, an insurance broker and some-time DJ, is Tumbuka. Her sister, Mwanje is also singer. She received both piano and singing lessons and started writing poems/lyrics from the age of nine. In the early 2010s she studied music for visual media at the Academy of Art University, San Francisco for two years and Los Angeles for a year. While in San Francisco she recorded two tracks. She then moved to Sydney in 2013 and was based there until 2018. She completed a Bachelor degree in audio engineering at SAE Institute in 2015. Sampa acknowledges her family and communities in both Botswana and Zambia as the foundation of her success.
She released her first Mixtape “The Great Mixtape” in 2015 under Wondercore Island followed by Birds and the Bee9 in November 2017 under Big Dada. She released her debut album “The Return” in September 2019 under Ninja Tune and her current album “As Above, So Below” was released under Loma Vista on 9th September 2022. She went on a worldwide tour in 2022 with her all Zambian band, covering several Cities including Coachella, Glastonbury, Lollapalooza, Sydney Opera House and a Homecoming show in Lusaka at the Music club. Her song Never Forget featuring Chef 187, Tio Nason and Mwanje featured on the trailer for Black Panther Wakanda Forever to much praise and jubilation back home in Zambia and Globally. #MusicAppreciation