'American Idol' winner Just Sam says they're singing in NYC subways for cash just 3 years after win

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By Asiya Ali

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American Idol winner Just Sam has returned to singing in subway stations three years after being crowned champion.

The 24-year-old - who uses they/them pronouns - won season 18 of the hit competition back in 2020. But, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they missed out on the weekly performances in front of the judges and a live studio audience and were crowned the winner in their apartment.

Just three years on from winning, Samantha Diaz revealed that they are back to showing off their vocals in New York City subway stations so that they can earn a living.

They have taken to their social media to document their performances, posting clips of them covering songs like Beyonce's 'Listen', Adele's 'Easy on Me' and Koryn Hawthorne's ' Speak The Name'.

Watch their performances on the subway below:

According to The Sun, the Harlem-born singer opened up about their career path, saying: "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," the singer said.

"Since then, I have learned so much and I’ve been able to take my experiences and share them with other artists in hopes that they don’t experience the same things that I did when it comes to making it in this life," they added.

They reportedly noted that when their season of Idol aired, they were left in a state of uncertainty about the future, but "was ready and waiting for whatever it was".

"Everyone wants to know what happened and why this or why that and I will answer those questions someday, but in the meantime, I'll say this," Diaz said, per the outlet. "I never expected to win, but I did, I was so grateful and I know that people are feeling like I let them down."

Just Sam has previously spoken about how they "ended up broke" after parting ways with Hollywood Records.

"I am making music," the performer said last year, as cited by Just Jared. "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."

At the time, Diaz revealed that they left the record label - which signed them in May 2020 after they won the show - before releasing an album and therefore owed money to the company.

"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," they disclosed. "I'm recording all the time or making music all the time, writing every day, doing what I have to do to survive."

Featured image credit: Lucy Clark / Alamy

'American Idol' winner Just Sam says they're singing in NYC subways for cash just 3 years after win

vt-author-image

By Asiya Ali

Article saved!Article saved!

American Idol winner Just Sam has returned to singing in subway stations three years after being crowned champion.

The 24-year-old - who uses they/them pronouns - won season 18 of the hit competition back in 2020. But, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they missed out on the weekly performances in front of the judges and a live studio audience and were crowned the winner in their apartment.

Just three years on from winning, Samantha Diaz revealed that they are back to showing off their vocals in New York City subway stations so that they can earn a living.

They have taken to their social media to document their performances, posting clips of them covering songs like Beyonce's 'Listen', Adele's 'Easy on Me' and Koryn Hawthorne's ' Speak The Name'.

Watch their performances on the subway below:

According to The Sun, the Harlem-born singer opened up about their career path, saying: "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," the singer said.

"Since then, I have learned so much and I’ve been able to take my experiences and share them with other artists in hopes that they don’t experience the same things that I did when it comes to making it in this life," they added.

They reportedly noted that when their season of Idol aired, they were left in a state of uncertainty about the future, but "was ready and waiting for whatever it was".

"Everyone wants to know what happened and why this or why that and I will answer those questions someday, but in the meantime, I'll say this," Diaz said, per the outlet. "I never expected to win, but I did, I was so grateful and I know that people are feeling like I let them down."

Just Sam has previously spoken about how they "ended up broke" after parting ways with Hollywood Records.

"I am making music," the performer said last year, as cited by Just Jared. "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."

At the time, Diaz revealed that they left the record label - which signed them in May 2020 after they won the show - before releasing an album and therefore owed money to the company.

"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," they disclosed. "I'm recording all the time or making music all the time, writing every day, doing what I have to do to survive."

Featured image credit: Lucy Clark / Alamy