Sammie was barely a teenager when he scored his first gold plaque for 2000’s From The Bottom To The Top featuring the lead single “I Like It,” which probably ranks among the best R&B singles from any under the age of 18. Despite potential to rise through the ranks within urban music, he just disappeared. Reappearing several years later on the Jazze Pha and Sean Paul ( the YoungBloodz version) assisted “You Should Be My Girl” from his 2007 self titled sophomore album, Sammie eventually earned the biggest hit of his career through his featured hook on Soulja Boy’s multi-platinum selling “Kiss Me Thru The Phone.”

Then, Sammie just disappeared again.

Speaking with him over the phone, it’s clear he didn’t really go anywhere. Between then and now, he’s released a slew of mixtapes and EPs alongside dipping into songwriting for other artists. Rolling around back into the limelight with his upcoming I’m Him EP, Sammie may be exactly what R&B needs at the moment. Less Hip Hop influence or effects-laden mood music and more vocal dynamics and songwriting. With that said, here are five takeaways from HipHopDX’s time with Sammie.

Sammie Explains Why Now Is The Perfect Time To Make A Return

For real for real, the last time you’ve seen me from a solo standpoint was “Come With Me,” which was 2007. Then in 2009 and 2010, I collaborated with Soulja Boy for “Kiss Me Thru The Phone.” That was a huge record. After that, to be honest with you, I went through life. That’s the best way I can put it. It forced me to lock in and hone in my gift so I started writing music on some behind the scenes stuff. I co-wrote “Next Breath” for Tank, which went number one on Urban AC. It really opened my mind up to open for other artists. I dropped some mixtapes and EPs in-between then. I think now is the perfect time to be placed back in the forefront cause I’ve been through so much. I’ve learned so much in mind, body and spirit.

Staying Out Of The Tabloids & Gossip Mill

I was just talking to someone in L.A. about how I’ve been able to stay squeaky clean with all this time I’ve been in the industry. I’ve never had any bad press and managed to stay out of trouble. My mom and pops brought me up the right way first and foremost. They instilled ethics and morals in me, which is something I carried from childhood to adulthood. Also, I understand what I want to be as a man and brand. You don’t make it this far without keeping your relationships clean, growing and evolving. Staying focused and having tunnel vision. I always wanted to be one of the best in my generation and to stay relevant in 2016 is a blessing in itself. I feel like I’m only getting better and I haven’t even peaked yet. It’s beautiful and very knowledgeable for me to stay out of harm’s way and focus on the future. I’m just touching and changing lives while focusing on my passion.

How Instagram Pushed His “I’m Him” Single

I was in Atlanta and I was working on some music at the crib and I had an idea. Usually, I leave little snippets on my Instagram all the time. You’ll see certain songs that I trying out or working on at the time. “I’m Him” was one of those situations. In an hour later, The Shade Room took my clip and put it on their platform and my Instagram went crazy. They literally made “I’m Him” the first single. It was exciting to watch the fans bring me back. I didn’t necessarily had to chose a single. The fans did it themselves.

“I Consider Myself The R&B Savior & I Don’t Have To ‘Conform’ To The Way R&B Has To Sound Right Now”

It’s more Hip Hop-driven these days with a lot of autotune to be blunt. I stay true to myself. Being underground for all these years have allowed me to do mixtapes that are true to R&B. I didn’t have to aim for radio and I didn’t have to appease the DJs or deal with the politics. I didn’t have to deal with any of that craziness. I was super free to do what I wanted to do. If you listen to the content of “I’m Him,” it’s a real R&B record. The beat is still young and fresh. I think it’s the perfect blend of the old and the new. I consider myself the R&B savior and I don’t have to “conform” to the way R&B has to sound right now. I like that I can sound like myself, be different and have my own lane. The blessing was being underground and do what I do.

Why Sammie Never Crossed Over Into Mainstream Pop

To be honest with you, you had “I Like,” “Crazy Things I Do” and “Hardball” which was 12 – 14 years old. My debut album From The Bottom To The Top was certified gold by the time I was 13 as well. I decided to go away to high school. Life changed so drastically for me. To be just a normal kid and all of a sudden you’re doing Jay Leno and on a Nickelodeon tour and all of that. I was even in L.A. living on Sunset for a minute. It’s a lot for a child. When you’re a kid, you really don’t really understand the business aspect of it. All you know is that you can sing, the girls love you and you’re having fun traveling. You don’t understand how much is at stake. Millions of dollars have been invested in you and you have to recoup that. It was too much for me in the fact that I always wanted a sense of normalcy. I don’t care how much money or fame you have, you can’t buy time back.

I went to high school, played basketball for two years, was the homecoming king and got to live a normal life. I think that’s what kept me out of trouble. A lot of my industry peers don’t know what life is like without lights, cameras and action. They don’t know what it’s like when the world isn’t watching them. They go crazy. I had a peace of mind. When I came back and graduated around 2005, I gave you “You Should Be My Girl” and “Kiss Me Thru The Phone.” The next hiatus wasn’t one at all. I had to get away from a business partner who was doing very foul things. I know you’ve heard stories of a plethora of artists who had to fight the same thing. That forced me underground. I was still doing music, but not from a mainstream standpoint. I had to clean out dirty laundry. It took a while to get into the positive space where I am currently. That was most important. I’m one of the blessed few who had stardom and normalcy.