Samantha Grimes got back into the music scene just time for the pandemic.
Grimes grew up in Forest Lake, Minn. and started playing guitar when she was five. She played in seveal bands as a teenager and briefly toured the tristate area before taking a temporary hiatus in her music career. She picked music back up in around 2016 and has been refining her style and sound over the course of the last few years. Her current band is made up of herself, drummer Nick Engelhart and bassist Jon Larson.
“I finally got a band and got everybody down pat with my music and then the pandemic hit,” she said. “So we couldn’t perform.”
The band transitioned to virtual concerts and live streaming events just like everyone else, and did their best to weather the storm. Not too long into the pandemic Grimes got an email from a fan, asking how the band was handling COVID.
“I had no idea, but it turned out this guy was starting his own record label,” Grimes said.
The man who reached out was Jonathan Sherman of Return Records, which signed a distribution deal with Sony music company The Orchard shortly after contacting Grimes.
Grimes signed a record deal with Return Records this spring. So far they’ve produced and released two singles with three more to come in 2021. The project will come to a creshendo in the first quarter of 2022 with the release of Grimes’ first album.
The deal has been a bit of a whirlwhind to Grimes, who said she’s exstatic to be able to widen the reach of her music.
“For so long my music has only been in the Twin Cities,” she said. “And it’s just crazy that right now the UK, Ukraine and Germany are our number one listening fan base. It’s surreal.”
Grimes’ music is most often refered to as blues and alternative rock. Grimes doesn’t mind the label, and said her sound has changed a lot since she began playing.
“I was more folky, singer-songwriter when I first started. There were some elements of pop to it but it was a little more immature,” she said. “And now from a vocal standpoint my voice has aged a little bit. So it has a little more grit, which is really kind of fun to play with.”
Grimes writes all of her own music, and always has. She said for her there are two elements to the process.
“The initial element is writing the song and whatever you were feeling, whether it’s good, bad or ugly or messy it all kind of comes out. It’s about getting that emotion out and dealing with it. It’s just kind of launching all that stuff into the universe,” she said. “But then once the song is produced, mixed and mastered and all done, that’s it’s own catharsis as well. It’s all the hard work. People don’t realize the time that goes into it to get this final product that you can say is yours. That’s it’s own feeling of satisfaction.”
Grimes’ album doesn’t yet have a name, but it is set to release sometime early next year. She and her band are also finally able to play live shows again, and will be at the Stillwater Rivertown Fall Art Festival this Oct. 2 at 4 p.m.