The ‘Queen of Oklahoma’ walks on the Wilder Side
Carter Sampson is an Okie-born singer/songwriter with a big voice.
The Oklahoma City-based artist is blessed by a musical family legacy that includes talents like Roy Orbison.
Her journey as a naturally independent, free-spirited musician has seemed almost predestined at times. At age 15 she began experimenting with sound as a way to pass the time; now her creativity has matured into the dedicated and passionate performance that makes her a favorite female vocalist.
“I’m pretty much the same me working on the same goals … maybe a little more grown up. I think I am more confident than I was when I first started playing. I’ve always been brave, but I’m more sure of myself now,” Sampson exuded.
As a relatable artist, her empowering music appeals to a wide range of folks, who are incredibly and admirably loyal to her and her work. She’s the founder and director of Oklahoma City’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls, which always partners with nonprofit organizations that empower girls and women through music education.
The inspiring artist also averages about 220 shows annually – in areas like Oklahoma and Arkansas, as well as Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. But as the self-penned ‘Queen of Oklahoma,’ Sampson’s red boots are happiest when they’re on her home turf.
“I am proud to be from Oklahoma and really proud of the music that is coming out of the state right now. I wish we were more progressive in a lot of areas, but it feels like slowly change is happening.”
Though she travels for the love of making music, she’s no stranger to awards. She was named a Top 12 Finalist in the 2012 Mountain Stage NewSong Contest and performed at Lincoln Center in New York. This year, she won first place in the general category of the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at Merlefest in Wilkesboro, N.C. – with her song “Wild Bird”, which was additionally released by Pinecastle Records.
She also won fourth place in the Colorado-based Telluride Troubadour Contest at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and was a Top 10 Finalist in the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival’s Songwriters Showcase in Lyons, Colo.
Her third album, Good for the Meantime, was released in 2008. Then in 2011, she launched a Kickstarter project for Mockingbird Sing, in which she gave supporters rewards to help secure adequate funds within 30 days. After that huge success, she recorded a five-track acoustic EP, Thirty Three, at Treelady Studios in Pittsburgh/Turtle Creek, Penn.
“I feel like I am right where I am supposed to be doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing,” Sampson said, reflecting on the long road that led to right now.
Her fourth full-length studio album, Wilder Side, was released on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. Like Good for the Meantime it features the heady handywork of producer/multi-instrumentalist Travis Linville, who, like Sampson, has a unique sound all his own.
“I loved working with Linville on Good for the Meantime; he was so laid back, encouraging and fun to be around. I’d been thinking about asking him to engineer my new project, and when I heard his last EP (Sun and Moon) I knew I wanted him to help me with it (Wilder Side). I love the dreamy feel that EP has and there’s a lot of that on Wilder Side,” Sampson said.