Grammy-nominated DJ, music producer, composer and music/film director Sam I (formerly known as Sam Spiegel)’s new self-directed short film Heaven, featuring acclaimed dancer Nevaeh Meraz alongside Sam’s latest single “Don’t Give Up” featuring Sia, Busta Rhymes and Vic Mensa from his new album Random Shit from the Internet Era (out now via Spectrophonic Sound), is out today. Starring alongside Meraz in the film is award-winning actress Catherine Keener.
Watch/share the film at https://fanlink.to/SamI_Heaven
Sam explains about the film, which addresses issues of depression, suicide, and mental health awareness:
I met Nevaeh through her posting dance videos to my music and tagging me. I was struck by her. She dances with so much feeling. It’s all there…right on the surface. She lays it all out in her expression, not hiding anything.
I love dance, and I knew I wanted to do a film around dance for the album release, so I invited a handful of dancers whom I had connected with through my music, and then I interviewed them all about their lives. Nevaeh instantly struck me as fascinating. At the time she was 18, and she had already lived a thousand lives. She’s battled mental health issues and struggled with depression, but her passion for her art form helped carry her through, and I really related to that because my love of music really helped get me through my depression that I had during and after Lyme Disease.
With some help from my friend Dallas, I wrote a short film based on some of Nevaeh’s real-life experiences and planned to shoot it in March, but then COVID hit, and we weren’t able to shoot. In the meantime, I kept writing and tweaking the script and talking to Nevaeh. We started to hang and choreograph the dance sequence together. As I saw the piece come together I got really excited about it. It was so inspiring to see this amazing dancer express her pain, her struggles, and ultimately her self-actualization, through this art form that means so much to her and at which she’s so good at.
Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services is teaming with Sam around the release of the film to help fundraise for mental health awareness; fans can donate to Didi Hirsch MHS at https://fanlink.to/SamxDidi or by texting “DIDI” to 41-444.
Additionally, Sam is kicking off a new collaborative project with electronic artist Schmuck the Loyal entitled TRY. The pair’s first single, “Hyperspace,” recently premiered during Apple’s announcement of the new iPhone 12. Stream the track at https://fanlink.to/TryHyperspace and share it via YouTube at https://youtu.be/hlmgOuPrbhg.
TRY comes in the wake of Sam’s new album Random Shit from the Internet Era, the highly anticipated follow-up to his landmark collaborative project N.A.S.A.’s critically acclaimed 2009 release The Spirit of Apollo. Random Shit from the Internet Era features a number of recently released singles—“Don’t Give Up” featuring Sia, Busta Rhymes and Vic Mensa; “Used to be my Homie” featuring Freddie Gibbs & BJ The Chicago Kid; “20 Below” featuring Anderson .Paak and Doja Cat; “To Whom It May Concern” featuring CeeLo Green, Theophilus London and Alex Ebert; “One Last Time” featuring Goldilox and co-produced by AlunaGeorge’s George Reid; “Wishin’” featuring Bipolar Sunshine; “Crew” featuring Elliphant and Agent Sasco (aka Assassin); “Champagne” featuring Aynzli Jones and “Perfect” with Tropkillaz featuring Bia and MC Pikachu—as well as never-before-heard tracks featuring special guests RZA, Barbie Hatch and more.
Sam’s N.A.S.A. project (with Brazilian DJ Zegon) debuted in 2009 with The Spirit of Apollo featuring appearances by Kanye West, M.I.A., Tom Waits, RZA, David Byrne, ODB and many others. He has gone on to establish himself as a critically acclaimed music and film director, serving as music director for Kanye West’s “Glow in the Dark” tour and Karen O’s “Stop the Virgens” theatrical project, the latter of which Spiegel co-wrote with Karen and produced.
In 2005 Sam founded his award-winning commercial music house, Squeak E. Clean Studios, through which he has scored commercial campaigns for Nike, Adidas, Cadillac, Honda, Sonos and many more. Other highlights among Spiegel’s film credits include the scores to Spike Jonze’s Yeah Right!, the top-selling skate movie of all-time; HBO’s Pretty Things; and Drew Barrymore’s Whip It.
In 2015 Sam turned his attention to film direction with the video for the final track to be released by N.A.S.A., “Jihad Love Squad” feat. KRS-One. Spiegel recently directed the web series “Wu Tang In Space Eating Impossible Sliders,” starring Wu Tang Clan members RZA, GZA and Ghostface Killah. Watch/share the entire series at http://impossiblefoods.com/whitecastle/#episodes.