Just Sam: I Returned to Street Performing After Winning ‘American Idol’

Back to her roots. American Idol winner Samantha Diaz — who goes by the stage name Just Sam — revealed she’s returned to performing on the subways in New York City.

The musician, 24, shared a clip of herself singing Ariana Grande’s “Almost Is Never Enough” in a train station during the beginning of May. In a now-deleted caption Just Sam confessed that she had to return to busking to make a living after winning the singing competition back in 2020.

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“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,” she wrote, per The Sun. “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.”

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She continued: “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.”

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Just Sam wowed the judges and viewers on season 18 of American Idol and beat competitor Arthur Gunn to take home the prize. Her season was filmed virtually amid the COVID-19 pandemic. ​The artist noted that she and many other people were “unsure of what was going to happen next” due to the unprecedented times.

“Everyone wants to know what happened and why this or why that & I will answer those questions someday, but in the meantime, I’ll say this,” she penned in the aforementioned post. “I never expected to win, but I did, I was so grateful and I know that people are feeling like I let them down.”

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Despite her success on the show, Just Sam confessed that the win didn’t translate to her daily life — but she’s remaining strong with her family’s support.

“My grandmother is who I have and who I have always had and she knows absolutely nothing about the music industry all she knows is how to listen and call out a good singer when she hears one,” the performer said. “We didn’t know what to do with the win especially being that we had absolutely no help. There are people who have had more success than me and good for them I’m happy for them, but I am not them. I don’t like my situation, but it won’t be this forever.”

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