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What’s Good with Stam Goody

When you hear of places like Camden, NJ or Wilmington, DE, your first imaginable vision is probably one of indifference or of a traditional American town. For Stam Goody, it was very much the contrary, yet these places are where he and his family called home. These were the places that helped mold and make him into the artist and person he is today. Lessons and messages from OG’s (older mentors) that have helped in creating the ripple effects he has thus far in the creative spaces he occupates. Despite the grit, and trauma that can be encountered in these places, there are hidden gems that make these places the treasures they are. We got a chance to chat with Stam about his music and docu-series, basketball, changing the narrative, and legacy. Read below for the conversation that transpired:

Thank you first and foremost for being gracious enough to give us your time and sit down with us to have this conversation.

No problem, thank you for wanting to get behind this and wanting to share.

For those who may be unfamiliar, let us know where the name Stam Goody originates.

It comes from two places, one: taking trips with my father and older sister to Sam Goody to pick up whatever the latest and greatest in music, and the feeling of family it brought. 

Two: Freestyling, I was given the nickname “Young Stamina” coming up for being able to freestyle for so long. In an old song I had written, I put the two together and it flowed so well organically, I decided to run with it.

What made music the main lane you wanted to pursue professionally?

A combination of things, writing for sure. People thought I was mute because I would be so quiet and writing constantly. Obviously, at that age, I didn’t know I was writing songs but it was something I enjoyed and was naturally good at. 

Another is sports, basketball, in particular, was a focus ever since I was 16. But music was my first love. Music wasn’t the initial objective, it wasn’t even at the forefront of my mind. I didn’t even know where to go in terms of direction, I had no rules or structure to set in place, but once I discovered my purpose I just used my natural talent.

Who were some of your musical influences both early and now?

It’s really like a 1a and 1b that are interchangeable with me. My 1a, would be Jay Z and by 1b would be Stevie Wonder. Both were very visual songwriters, the images they could create with their own words was one of the first things I noticed about them. To this day you can find me starting my day with Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed” and mixing some of Jay-Z’s The Blueprint or The Black Album in there as well.

Are there any lessons from your times in New Jersey and Delaware that find their way in your music?

I wouldn’t say lessons, but there are codes I like to live by and try to shed light without coming off preachy. Things like: minding your business, showing respect, and handling disrespect accordingly. People have gotten lost in the likes and going viral that basic human respect is no longer present.  Also, uplifting women and letting them know the power they have as well as the principles that were once instilled in manhood.  

I noticed that a lot of your titles and messages in your songs are there to encourage or motivate, was that the plan or did it just play out that way?

A bit of both, as an artist, one’s life organically comes together. What I wanted Stam Goody to stand for was optimism, encouragement, and motivation. Over time it just continued to mesh well enough that I decided to lean more into it. For example, my songs “Clutch”, “Stamina”, and “Super Set” all have these notions.

And do you find yourself being motivated by your own music to keep going whenever you’re down?

I would say I listen to my music when working out when I’m jump roping to start things off for the day. I’m a little OCD so it’s hard for me to listen to myself over and over in the studio then during my workout and not mentally critique it.

You spoke about the importance of basketball in your life, did any of its principles make its way into your music?

Basketball helped a lot. It was a tool to see new environments and gather new experiences. Before basketball, no one was even talking to me about college or life post high school. There were things it taught me that I was able to translate into real life. I played point guard, so that involved a lot of people reading, and maneuvering on the fly in case a coach’s game plan couldn’t be executed. Within music, it’s been the same thing, those principles have aided in the relationships I’ve built and maintained as well as being flexible when things go left or right while creating.

Are there any athletes that you look to for inspiration to be great?

I’d say, LeBron James, just because of the man he is on and off the court. We’ve never seen a player of his magnitude use his power and influence to build schools and empower the same group of people he grew up with to be moguls in their own right to create change. 

Switching gears, you take your visuals very seriously, as a true artist does. What made you want to submit the video “Clutch” into the LA Film festival and how did feel when you won an award?

I didn’t go into the video thinking that way, it didn’t hit until Christopher, the director, and my team while we were finalizing the treatment after months and months of work that we had something big organically brewing right in front of us. To get invited was amazing in itself, we were in the same category as Radiohead, A Tribe Called Quest, and other major funded videos we were just happy to be involved. In regards to winning, I didn’t expect to do so, but after finding out, it made those five and a half 14 hour days of hard work worth it. It meant the story and the narrative really resonated and touched the core of those who viewed the art. It also serves as an example to the next wave of creatives from Camden and all over that it can be done.

Is film somewhere you want to exist?

Yes, for sure, it is a medium that I want to dive into just finding the right opportunity to excel.

Legacy is an important cornerstone in how you move…what made you want to partner a docu-series that explored your family trauma with your latest EP “If Anything Happens”?

The art that I make is dictated by my real life, and the narrative of being black in America. It was a suggestion from a director friend of mine, Christian Nolan Jones, the EP itself had more of a personal narrative with it and it flowed organically with the current state of wellness I was entering physically, spiritually, and mentally. In black families, we don’t get taught how to deal with the traumas we go through, we’re just told to deal. I wanted to change that narrative and offer something that could be therapeutic and helpful for other families of all colors.

Describe the process, was it hard getting your family on board to have the dialogue in general? Did the addition of cameras make it harder?

My family was open to the idea, which shocked me; my family is private, but they are also very proud of what I do and am trying to do. The addition of cameras didn’t make it hard, but my older sister was a bit hesitant at first.  

 Uncovering personal family trauma couldn’t have been easy at all, did going through this process result in positive changes for both you and your family?

One of the main things I’d say I’m proud of, is the feedback from folks from my hometown and seeing the ripple effect its making on the youth that if someone from here can make it, they can too.

At the end of it all, what is the legacy you want Stam Goody to be celebrated and remembered for?

Hopefully, my team and I can say we inspired change at the end of this journey; the ripples we continue to make it what I’m grateful for. Honestly, I just want my little nieces nephews to see what I’m doing, and see why I was away or missed out on certain things. I want to at the very least directly affect them cause that’s what it’s all about touching lives that are within our immediate proximity. 

You can check the latest episode of Stam’s “If Anything Happens” Docuseries here: 

Images courtesy of Chimera Rene

Stay tuned to Milk for more music moments.

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