Samantha Tieger has two passions in life: music and language. “I really have this strong desire to connect with other people, whether it’s through language or music,” the Cincinnati-born, now Nashville-based singer professes.
She marries these two passions on her debut self-titled EP – particularly on poignant closing number, “You Light Me Up,” premiering exclusively with Audiofemme. Tieger has established a self-described “chill pop” sound: cinematic violin and piano layered over soft vocals that evoke a dreamlike feeling, capturing the sense of peace Tieger felt in the relationship that inspired the lyrics. “You light me up with your love,” Tieger sings, comparing that feeling to walking on air and brightening up the night. “I think it can be so easy to write about heartache and the negatives in a relationship, and for me, writing is such a good way to work through all of that,” she explains. “In this song, I really wanted to focus on positive elements of a relationship and I wanted the production and the vocal elements to reflect comfort and peace and joy.”
Tieger drew inspiration from the “good parts” of a previous relationship that were as sweet and simple as watching TV and cooking dinner together. When writing the gentle number with Ed O’Donnell, Tieger had a specific idea in mind of wanting the listener to feel as if a weight had been lifted off one’s shoulders. “I wanted the song to be like a sigh of relief and a breath of fresh air of ‘now I feel okay at the end of the day because of you,’” she describes. “You Light Me Up” is the light at the end of an EP that was born out of a series of emotional experiences Tieger endured through past relationships and breakups. “Close My Eyes” is particularly relevant, as Tieger wrote it about feeling distanced from her friends and family a year before the COVID-19 pandemic kept the world six feet apart.
At that time, writing the EP was simply about Tieger processing complex emotions. “I think it’s easier for me to close the book on certain chapters in my life after I’ve written about them. I feel really frustrated and sad about certain things and once I’ve written it down, I can move on,” she says. “To hear a song come to life that I wrote about an experience that was so emotional for me to go through, hearing the music come together, it’s thrilling and emotional at the same time.”
The EP is a reflection of Tieger being a lifelong learner of music and language. She grew up studying Spanish, French and Latin around the same time she had a budding interest in music. She later pursued a degree in Romance Studies at Duke University, her language studies taking her to immersion programs around the world in such countries as Spain, Argentina and Costa Rica. “Somebody recently said ‘you just have this strong desire to connect,’ and I think language is such a key to connection and music is a key to connection,” Tieger analyzes. The singer at one time was writing music in Spanish and French, a skill she hopes to resume in the form of cover songs in foreign languages.
It’s through the relationship between music and language that Tieger learned how to communicate her emotions, a gift she combines with her global perspective and transcendental sound that’s bound to leave a distinct mark on the Nashville scene. “Music really became a way for me to understand my thoughts and feelings and what I was going through,” she asserts. “Life’s too short to not tell people how you really feel.”