American Idol’s Just Sam is Making a Comeback from Busking

AMERICAN IDOL - "315 (On with the Show: Disney/Mother's Day)" - "American Idol" gets closer to crowning the 2020 winner with an all-new episode revealing who America voted into the Top 7, SUNDAY, MAY 10 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC.(ABC) JUST SAM

American Idol 2020 winner Just Sam says she is making a big comeback after ending up back busking in the subways

After Samantha Diaz won American Idol in 2020, life hasn’t been easy. By the end of 2022, Just Sam as the non-binary singer calls themselves was working at a New York City Starbucks and busking in the subways again.

We reported back in January that Sam was uploading videos while employed at Starbucks and back to singing in the subways. And then in early May we wrote about a social media post in which Sam said they were “embarrassed” about returning to busking.

.But perhaps it was the American Idol finale and the SEO opportunities thereof that caught the attention of bigger entertainment sites like TMZ who finally reported on the singer’s plight. Then it was a deluge of attention. And good for Sam, because they are catching the attention of people in the business who may be in a position to help.

Lil Durk and Timbaland reached out to Just Sam

The singer told TMZ in a live interview from Friday (June 2): “Lil Durk reached out to me just to show love. I was recently on Timbaland’s live on Tik Tok. So many people are reaching out and showing love. I have opportunities that my team and I are working on. Collaborations that we’re working on…make happen soon.”

As far as what went wrong after American Idol, Sam has already shared that they went into the Idol experience knowing nothing about the music business. And as a young person who grew up in the Harlem projects with only a grandmother to lean on, Sam had nobody to turn to for advice.

When Sam won American Idol, they figured they had it made and would never have to worry about economic security again.

After winning American Idol, Sam believed they would never be economically insecure again

“I was like ‘That’s it. Me and my grandmother will never…experience the same struggles again.’,” Sam shared with TMZ. “Really, that’s not what it was. It was also difficult because I was the only American Idol in history to win in the beginning of Covid and everything was shut down. People didn’t want to work directly in studios right away. People were still trying to figure out how to get back to whatever normal was going to be for us then.” Sam did end up in a recording studio, but it took a few months. “I was living out of a hotel,” they said.

“Contracts are something serious”

Sam realizes that they need to educate themself about the music business. “I definitely know now that I have to read more. Contracts are something serious. I was just like…just signing things,” Sam laughed. “You can’t just move like that it leaves you in sticky situations. I learned so much from the label.”

Sam also learned that they could release music without spending a ton of money. “Now I’m at a place where I’m like ‘girl it’s OK to record in somebody’s house studio and put it out. The people are going to hear you. They’re going to feel you'”

“I put my heart into my music,” Sam said. “I only have five songs out, and I thought ‘I have to pay the $5,000 to get a professional to mix and master it. No. People are going to hear it and I know that it’s gonna pay for itself in the future even if it’s not the best quality.”

Watch Just Sam’s TMZ interview below.

About mj santilli 35052 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!