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A former Wawa employee and Delaware Technical Community College dropout is living her best 22-year-old life with a brand-new Lamborghini and a record deal.
The woman with the golden voice gained the bulk of her following by doing remixes (or “Lehmixes”) of other artist’s songs. This includes fierce covers of Coi Leray’s “No More Parties” and QueenNaija’s “Butterflies,” which blew up and eventually led to her be discovered by “Rake it Up” rapper Yo Gotti.
In May, Yo Gotti signed Samia to his CMG record label where she joins a roster of popular rappers that includes Blac Youngsta and Moneybagg Yo.
On CMG’s Instagram page, there are videos celebrating Samia’s signing. One shows Gotti christening her with a thick, iced-out necklace with a “CMG” medallion.
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Another video reveals Gotti gifting the songstress with a pink Urus Lamborghini. Samia, who was accompanied by her family, looked like she was on the brink of tears, before she gives Gotti a warm hug.
“Welcome to the family!” the rapper said in the video.
Even though she lives in Miami, a city where exotic cars aren’t unusual, the singer claims her ride still manages to stand out from the rest.
“I’m the only one in a pink Lambo [in Miami], so they know it’s me when I’m riding,” Samia said with a laugh, during a phone interview with Delaware Online/The News Journal.
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Her TikTok followers had something to say about her new car and record deal.
“Bout timeeeee I knew someone was gonna sign you!!! I said it in a comment over a year ago,” one fan boasted.“I loveeee how yo gotti always look out for his people,” an excited fan wrote.
“Can I have your old car then?” a TikToker asked.
“Gift me with a paid of house [insert laughing emoji] I’ll get a Lamb later,” a fan wrote.
'Ne-Yo was super cool'
In May, the singer dropped her music video “Call On Me,” which has racked up 2 million views on YouTube. The singer is currently working on her new EP, slated to drop before the end of the year, she said.
For the project, she got a chance to work with R&B legend Ne-Yo.
“Ne-Yo’s super cool. I loved working with him. Funny guy,” she said. “We did a few songs. They’re going to be on my EP. Ne-Yo is someone I always listened to.”
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Lately the rising singer has been working a lot on music and traveling for press appearances. She made the cover of Billboard Magazine this spring.
One of the highlights over the last few months was bringing her parents to Miami and showing them her new lifestyle.
“I have very supportive parents. They always try to make it to anything I have going on. They still live in Delaware,” she said.
Miami claims Samia these days, but she spent her formative years in Delaware. The singer was raised in a close-knit family with two big brothers and her parents have been married for 25 years.The TikTok star is a Seventh-day Adventist, and her faith is still important to her. “I need to go back to church. But I still pray every day.”
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The William Penn grad worked a few regular jobs in Delaware, including Wawa, JCPenney and at Aldo’s in Christiana Mall.
She worked at Wawa while she was in high school. So, was it her favorite job? “I hated it."
She flirted with the idea of becoming a nurse. Her goal was to attend Delaware Tech for two years before transferring to Delaware State University. But that plan was canceled after her first year at Delaware Tech.
“I was doing my singing while I was taking my nursing classes. Then singing just took all of my attention.”
Started from the bottom
Samia’s Cinderella story is a little different from many singers who’ve signed record deals because she didn’t have a ton of live performances under her belt.
Singing in church and doing three showcases in Philadelphia is basically the extent of her live gigs.
“Growing up, I used to sing in church. And I did talent shows,” she recalled. “I remember I did a fifth grade talent show. I was singing ‘Promise Ring’ by Tiffany Evans and I had backup dancers.”
Her journey to social media fame began in 2018 when she began uploading videos of her singing on Instagram.
Samia said early on she didn’t have much of a following and she posted only three videos that year, although her account says her first upload was in March 2019.
She used to delete some of her videos if she felt they didn’t have enough views, she said.
In 2019, she began taking Instagram more seriously. She posted multiple times a week and was interacting with her fans. Some of the girls following her would sing her remixes and Samia started reposting them on her page.
“I would do this thing where I would go live and I would let people join my live and we would all sing together. This is when my followers started going up.”
In 2020, she began messaging famous music artists on social media, hoping someone would help give her career a boost.
One of those artists was Gotti.
“I had this message that I was copying and pasting and sending to everybody,” she said. “I was like, ‘Once I get the right team behind me, I know I can [be a star].’ I sent it to everybody and he didn’t say nothing.”
But she didn’t stop. She kept remixing songs and growing her following.
Samia eventually got Gotti’s attention in 2021 around the time she did a remix of Moneybagg Yo’s hit “Wokesha.”
The rest has been history. At one point, she told Gotti the story about him ignoring her.
“We laughed about it,” she explained. “We’re here now.”
Message to fans: 'Keep going'
Some of the singer’s fans on TikTok made comments that they didn’t trust Gotti and she should be careful around him. But Samia said there’s nothing to worry about.
“[My lawyer] gave the OK. They said it’s a good contract,” she said. “Gotti’s a good guy. I feel comfortable. I wouldn’t want it no other way. It was the perfect situation for me and everybody is gonna see.”
Her message to Delaware fans who want to have a career in music and/or TikTok is to chase their dreams and ignore the naysayers as she did.
“Trust God’s timing. Be consistent and don’t give up after one post or one song if it didn’t [go viral] because it doesn’t happen like that most of the time. That rarely happens,” she said. “But just keep going.”
Andre Lamar is the features/lifestyle reporter. If you have an interesting story idea, email Andre Lamar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: TikTok star Lehla Samia talks signing with Yo Gotti and meeting Ne-Yo