If there’s anything we could use in 2020, it’s something we can dance to and leave it to Sammy Arriaga to do just that.
The rising Cuban Country singer is paving the way for something new in the genre, as he is adding a unique flare of Latin pop to its storytelling with his newest single “Something We Can Dance To.” Released last Friday (August 28), the upbeat track seamlessly blends Arriaga’s influences – a fusion of country, pop, Latin and rap – and features Charlotte Sands and Ollie Joseph, who’s previous collaboration with Arriaga, “Hoodie,” garnered over one million streams on Spotify.
“SWCDT was born from a conversation with a best friend of mine,” shares Arriaga in a statement. “We were talking music and thinking about what the world needs to hear during these weird times. Verbatim, he said ‘we’re all in a constant funk and just want something we can dance to.’ My songwriter mind kicked in and we all know what happened next…”
Celeb Secrets Country was able to chat with Sammy about how the new single came to be, challenges he faces pursuing such a unique style of music, a possible collaboration with Jimmie Allen, and more!
Celeb Secrets Country: You’re releasing your new single “Something We Can Dance To.” Can you talk about how the song came together and what you hope fans will get out of it?
Sammy Arriaga: “The inspiration for the song was from one of my really good friends. Recently, we’ve been going through some really weird times which is safe to say for everybody. Everybody is kind of in a place where it’s hard to focus on music and are just scrambling trying to figure out how to get day to day. So my buddy was like, ‘Look, if you’re trying to write songs and looking for cool ideas that people are going to resonate with, everybody just wants happy songs right now because everything is so depressing. You should write something we can dance to.’ And so I literally took the words right out of his mouth and said I’m going write ‘Something We Can Dance To’. It was perfect, it just flowed right out. And I used it as a title and wrote it as a crowd friendly song. Also the whole TikTok wave is coming through so I wanted to write it to cater to that as well. That’s how it was born. I just want to bring happiness to everybody and get people’s bodies moving.”
CSC: Can we expect to see a music video for this song? If so, do you have an idea for the video?
SA: “Funny you bring that up — I’m actually shooting the video for it. I’ll have Ollie Joseph and Charlotte Sands joining me for the song. Charlotte is a really killer pop artist here in Nashville and Ollie is a killer rapper and hiphop artist out of LA — they’re both really good friends of mine and I’ve always been a really big fan of their music. So I had Charlotte come out for the video shoot and I flew Ollie out from LA so he’s going to be part of the video as well. We’re going to keep it pretty simple. My friend Dylan Rucker is going to be directing the video and I have a couple friends that are going to be the lead girl and the lead guy. It’s a pretty simple concept. We’re going to have them walk into a gas station together holding hands and being cute with each other and then busting into dance moves in between all the aisles and then you have the cashier screaming, ‘Get out of my store!’ And then when they get kicked out, he jumps in his truck and turns on the song and cracks it up and she gets on the truck bed and does a bunch of cool dances on the truck bed. I have another friend of mine who goes by ‘The Robot Guy’ on Instagram and he’s a killer dancer out of Memphis and he and his 10 year old son do synchronized dancing. So the dad will bust into a crazy one minute dance move and then he’ll pass the dance onto his 10-year-old son and his son will keep the dance going. So it’s going to be really cool. It’s not going to be a big crew but it’s going to be cool to keep it simple and yet make sure the concept of ‘something we can dance to’ is the main thing. I’ve been pretty stressed about it because I’m a perfectionist so I’m always freaking out but I’m just really stoked deep inside. I’m really excited.”
CSC: You’re known for mixing the beats of pop and the storytelling of country music. What inspired you to do that?
SA: “I’m originally from Miami, FL so the country culture is not very prominent there. I was raised on salsa, merengue, EDM, everything but country. Growing up I’ve always had a really big appreciation for the guitar and writing music and I’ve always known the genre of country is literally the definition of songwriting, guitar players and honesty. I’ve always been a fan of that and I’ve always wanted to somehow incorporate my roots — being from Miami and being raised by a Cuban family — and finding a way to infuse that with today’s pop-country sound, especially with what’s going on in the world today everything is coming to light. There’s more diversity these days than ever before. I feel like now is a good time for me to bring that fusion out and just maximize on it. It’s very natural for me — it’s not something I need to sit down and figure out. I can just apply what I’ve learned in the 9 years I’ve lived in Nashville and blend it with my upbringing. It’s been a really cool experience to see my songs come to life in such a cool way.”
CSC: Is it nerve wracking going down a unique path of music that hasn’t really been done before?
SA: “Oh absolutely. When I stepped into Nashville for the first time, I noticed that the country genre is just a really loyal genre and they stand very firmly by their beliefs. Me being from Miami, that instantly kind of triggers a, ‘oh so you’re not country. You’re from like South America.’ So it’s been a hurdle to jump over to sort of win over the crowd but doing something different can also be a really cool experience. It’s scary, but I would rather be scared and be on my toes with what people are going to say than be told, ‘I’ve heard that a million times. This is vanilla. I’m not even interested.'”
CSC: Is there anyone in the country music industry you draw inspiration from? Or is it difficult because you style is so unique?
SA: “I’ve noticed that Kane Brown recently has been incorporating a lot of Latin into his records and I’m a huge fan of that. I’ve always been a fan of Kane. And you have Thomas Rhett always stepping out of the box. I’ve always known that Thomas has a huge passion for pop music and so do I so I really resonate with him. And then obviously Keith Urban. Keith is my all time favorite. He’s one of the reasons I even got into country music. Keith and his guitar skills are just out of this world. So I just feed off of them a lot.”
CSC: Can you talk a little bit about your previous single ‘Obvious’ which was released earlier this summer? How did that song come together?
SA: “Marty Dodson and I are actually pretty good friends and we’ve known each other since I moved to Nashville. So that was cool to get reunited after so many years since we hadn’t written in awhile. And then coincidentally Marty and Jason Duke write pretty frequently together. They pretty much just said, ‘Hey look — we’re really passionate about what you’re doing and Jason has a really cool thing going on with what he writes and Marty has got that beat and that romantic, sensual lyric’ which is where I gravitate, so I hopped in on their write that they already had booked and I just brought the idea of the title ‘Obvious’. I’ve always wanted to incorporate a ‘Sorry’ by Justin Bieber kind of vide so I brought up the reference and they’re like, ‘yeah we can definitely find a way to incorporate that kind of Latin vibe and rhythm with lyric that would be heard on todays country radio.’ So who better to do that than Jason and Marty.”
CSC: Do you have any other projects coming up like an EP or any collaborations?
SA: “I’ve actually reached out to some other artists on TikTok and Instagram to see if I can get some features going. I’ve actually made it a rule in my life to really push for features because features and collaborations are where it’s at right now. Look at Ed Sheeran and Jimmie Allen — you’ve got Hardy doing all these collaborations and all the weight isn’t on just the one artist who is singing the song. You’re stepping into territory you’ve never stepped into before just by featuring someone else. So you might be picking up fans from other realms you wouldn’t otherwise pick up, and that’s kind of where my head is at. If I were to do anything soon, it would be more singles with features on them or I’d potentially make some kind of collaboration project like Jimmie Allen just did and feature some of my friends who I’m really close with in the industry.”
CSC: Is there anyone specific that you’d really want to do a collaboration with?
SA: “I’ve actually reached out to Jimmie Allen recently and asked him if he’d want to do some sort of collaboration with a Latin touch because if you hear Jimmie’s recent project, it’s so diverse. It’s just a no brainer. I literally picked up my phone and said, ‘dude if there’s anybody in town I’d be willing to do something different with it’d be you.’ And I’m also really close with him so I have that trust that I can just reach out and ask him that. But somebody like Kane, we know each other but I’m not like boys with him. But hopefully soon we can collaborate on something and be closer.”
CSC: Since we’re Celeb Secrets, can you tell us a behind the scenes secret or interesting fact about you that fans wouldn’t know just by listening to your music?
SA: “I listen to a lot of instrumental music and multicultural music. With me being Latino, I listen to a lot of music on a daily basis, despite me being a country artist. And every once in awhile I’ll also get into like Nigerian music, or African inspired music, and Middle Eastern music as well — like Bollywood stuff — because I’m a huge fan of the elements and diverse instrumentation of their music. I always find that listening to that music is a way to find new melodies in my mind or new ways of singing a certain lyric and then applying the Nashville touch to it. I’m a big fan.”