Gotta Tell You
“There are a lot of female artists my age around at the moment, but they’re all American and blonde and blue-eyed and smiley. I’m totally the opposite of that. I want to show a bit more attitude and I have an opinion.” Samantha Mumba
A teen pop/R&B singer of Irish heritage, Samantha Mumba became a musical phenomenon for her meteoric success with the platinum debut album Gotta Tell You (2000). In an instant, she rocked the music industry with the chart-ruling “Gotta Tell You” and the Grammy-nominated “Baby Come On Over.” She also has some gigs on the big screen, including a role in The Time Machine (2002) and Mark Hammond’s action movie Johnny Was (2005). Mumba’s recent works include the horror film Nailed (2006, starring Charles Porter), as well as a collaboration on a song with Filipino artist Jay-R titled “Just The Way You Are” (2006).
Outside the spotlight, the Irish-Zambian artist takes a hard line on racism and feels strongly about black issues. Fighting against child poverty in Sierra Leone, the singer/actress visited the country twice in 2003, in her role as a UNICEF representative. The big fan of Kylie Minogue and Puff Daddy, Mumba is now the wife of Charles Porter.
Childhood and Family:
“I’m black and I’m from Ireland. It’s kinda like, uh-oh… but it means I’m something totally different.” Samantha Mumba
In Dublin, Ireland, Samantha Mumba was born Samantha Tamania Anne Cecilia Mumba on January 18, 1983, to Barbara Mumba (airline hostess) and Peter Mumba (Zambian immigrant, aircraft engineer). Sam (Samantha’s nickname) is also the sister of actor Omero Mumba.
Sam attended a dance class and made a television appearance when she was four. When she was seventeen, she dropped her studies at the Billie Barry Stage School in Dublin and began to pursue a career in music and acting. On a more private note, the teen artist is now married to actor Charles Porter, her costar in Johnny Was (2005) and the upcoming Nailed (2006).
The Hot Mikado
In September of 1998, Samantha Mumba made a professional stage performance with a starring role in the Dublin stage adaptation of Gilbert And Sullivan’s “The Hot Mikado.” After performing in a local nightclub, she met Louis Walsh, manager of Irish pop stars Boyzone and Westlife, who helped her secure a deal with Polydor Records. Deciding to fully commit herself to music, in 1999, she quit school and focused on recording and co-writing her debut album.
Released the following year, the pop/R&B album Gotta Tell You surprised many as it perched on the charts for 6 months and was quickly certified platinum after selling 1 million copies. Its title single instantly topped three Irish charts, flew to the runner up spot on the British pop charts and even peaked at No.4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album also set off the club track “Baby Come On Over,” which gave her a Grammy nomination for Best Non-Classical Remixed Recording. The recording has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide.
Following the massive success, Mumba released the single “I’m Right Here” (2002) for her sophomore album, Woman. However, the meager sales of the lead single, in both the US and UK, forced her to leave Polydor Records and cancel the production of the album.
Not giving in to the single’s unfavorable response, she emerged with soundtrack work for the failed comedy The Guru (2002, sang “Read My Mind”) and the straight-to-video Barbie as Rapunzel (2002, performed “Wish Upon a Star”). She also utilized her acting talent and made a debut with the small part of Mara in the adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel The Time Machine (2002). She then took a role in the Irish movie Spin the Bottle (2003), a comedy that also featured Michael McElhatton and Louis Walsh. Two years later, Mumba fared better in the Mark Hammond-helmed action movie Johnny Was (2005), where she had the supporting role of Rita. It was followed by her lead role of Jessica in the comedy horror Boy Eats Girl (2005), a story about a boy-turned-zombie who tries not to devour his girlfriend.
Getting involved in Irish motion pictures, Mumba will be seen as Sapphire in the horror Nailed (2006, along with Charles Porter), and is set to act alongside her brother in 3 Crosses (2006). Recently, she also made collaboration with Filipino artist Jay-R in the song “Just The Way You Are” (2006), which will be put on Jay-R’s upcoming album. Reportedly, Mumba is now working on her next album under a new label. The recording is scheduled for a 2006-2007 release.