'American Idol' Winner Just Sam Faces Financial Struggles, Performs in New York City Subways
Former American Idol winner Samatha Diaz, popularly known as Just Sam, is "super embarrassed" to return to singing in New York City subways for money just three years after winning the coveted reality music show. "I didn't want people to know that I legit needed the money & I didn't want people to know that it wasn't optional," she wrote while documenting her journey on Instagram.
According to The U.S. Sun, Diaz spoke about her ordeal on May 1 with a lengthy note in a since-deleted caption. She explained, "Back in 2021, I was super embarrassed to be going back to the trains. I didn’t want people to know that I legit needed the money & I didn’t want people to know that it wasn’t optional, I was disappointed in myself for allowing myself to fall so low after winning idol, but then I had to take it easy on me and remember that I started my journey with Idol at 20 years old. Not even knowing anything about Hollywood or the music industry."
Diaz then explained that she did learn some valuable lessons from this experience: "Since then, I have learned so much and I’ve been able to take my experiences and share them with other artist in hopes that they don’t experience the same things that I did when It comes to making it in this life. For my season, there was COVID-19 which literally had the world shut down and had many people in hiding unsure of what was going to happen next."
Diaz said that she may not give her followers the story of what happened to her right away, but she will one day: "I was very much unsure of what was going to come. For a few months after winning, I was unsure of what was next, but I was ready and waiting for whatever it was. Everyone wants to know what happened and why this or why that & I will answer those questions someday, but In the meantime, I’ll say this. I never expected to win, but I did, I was so grateful.
Reflecting on her hopes for the future, Diaz said, "I know that people are feeling like I let them down. I used to feel like I let myself and everyone down too. I know that there’s more coming for me. I know that everything happens for a reason and I know that this too shall pass no matter what things may look like right now. I'm not like any other contestant that has ever had a chance to be [a part] of the American Idol production. My year was unlike any other."
She then concluded the post: "My grandmother is who I have and who I have always had and she knows absolutely nothing about the music industry all she knows is how to listen and call out a good singer when she hears one. We didn’t know what to do with the win especially being that we had absolutely no help. There are people who have had more success than me and good for them I’m happy for them, but I am not them. I don’t like my situation, but it won’t be this forever."
Diaz used to perform in NYC subways before auditioning for American Idol in 2020. The season 18 winner had signed a deal with Hollywood Records but soon left the acclaimed label without recording any song. This decision meant that she owed money to the record label, and the artist eventually went broke.
She spoke about this on her Instagram: "I just cannot afford to release music, because mixing and mastering music costs a lot of money. And I invested in myself and ended up broke. That's the truth. Not broke, broke – like I'm living. I have my own place. I'm not even going to tell you guys the amount of money that I had to pay after leaving the label to claim songs that I had already recorded. I'm recording all the time or making music all the time, writing every day, doing what I have to do to survive."
Fans shared their concern about Diaz's condition. One fan wrote, "I can only hope that she remains strong and is able to persevere. I hope she has love in her life. I hope she's okay and healthy. She's immensely talented though and shouldn't be struggling in this way." A second said, "This is super sad." A third commented, "This is completely unfair to her. I hope someone on Idol sees this and invites her back to sing or something." A fourth fan added, "It shouldn't be up to her to do everything when she supposedly won a record contract."