Ask The Artist Vol. 2: Samantha Ribaya

Singer, songwriter and actress, Samantha Ribaya is most known for her work as Margarita Ramirez on Netflix’s “On My Block”. She can also be seen in Taylor Swift’s music video for her song, “The Man” and Ariana Grande’s “Thank You, Next” music video. She released a series of singles in 2019 and her first EP titled “Getting Familiar”

in June 2020. Sony Orchard music soon released a remix of the title track on her 2020 EP called “Picking Petals” in November 2020 leading her to collaborate with DJ Eric B and female rapper, Diamonique aka Miss Sancha on the remix.

Since then, she has cultivated her artistic sound and persona and is excited to introduce her new artist identity as soul singer, Sammie Ray, with her first single titled “Return to Sender” releasing through her new production company, Soulful And Majestic Productions aka S. A. M. Productions this coming June 2021.

Read Samantha’s interview below to receive her amazing advice!

How do you prepare for a theatrical audition? (Can be how do you break down the scene, cultivate the character, etc;) 

In preparing for most theatrical auditions, depending on the length of the sides, for most series regular/recurring roles I will book a 30 minute – 1 hour private coaching with my acting coach, Victor Villar-Hauser. In these sessions we will rehearse the scenes, establish where the major character arcs are, find solutions to any physical actions needing to be conveyed in the audition, and fine tune the character traits that the role calls for.

For co-star and guest star roles, I spend about a day or so dissecting the scene(s) with the knowledge I’ve gained in script analysis classes with my coach and find where I can bring a little bit of “me” to the role. I look at every audition as providing a solution to each casting director’s “problem”… and that solution is ME! Through proper analysis of the script you are given, you have an opportunity to showcase to that CD just what it is that you offer as an actor and your audition should leave them WANTING to book you for your unique and problem solving rendition of the sides distributed. It always helps to remember that the CD’s are ON YOUR TEAM. They want you to win so let go of the doubt and do the scene how you know YOU can rock it. 

Any self-taping do’s or don’ts? 

My list of self-tape do’s/don’ts are more regarding the overall visual and audio appeal of your tape. For instance, a small trick I like to use for my theatrical tapes is using a back light. Front lighting on your face is a given but you can also splash a bit of light onto your backdrop so that your body shadow disappears and leaves a nice glow from behind you. It really makes you stand out in your tape and makes any physical movements you make come across in a clearer way.

You also want to make sure that your reader is never louder than you and use a reader you feel confident in and aids your audition. There is nothing worse than a tape where you can hear the reader is giving more energy or volume than you are and detracts from your performance. You are the star of this tape so start acting like it! 

What’s your favorite job you’ve ever worked on?

Ohhhh that is a tough one because I have had a number of really memorable and treasured experiences on set so far. I’m gonna cheat and say it’s a tie between my first co-star shooting on Netflix’s “On My Block”, playing Margarita Ramirez, and the time I acted with and was directed by Taylor Swift in her music video for , “The Man”. Both such incredible days on set filled with divine alignment and inspiration for more things since each day. I’ll never forget them.

How do you handle nerves or stage fright? 

I love that 10-15 seconds worth of butterflies that I feel right before I go on stage. I don’t do much to calm those because once on stage and in my element they settle naturally.

But the more pesky butterflies that tend to come the night before a shoot day generally keep me up at night because I’m so excited for the next day. I have to drink a cup or 2 of chamomile tea before bed and maybe even squeeze in some bedtime yoga so that I can settle and get good rest before a big shoot day.

Do you have any tips or tricks for commercial auditions?

If I had any sort of tips or tricks to give regarding commercial acting, it again would be the reminder that YOU are the solution to casting’s “problem”. Embrace the being that is YOU and walk into every audition remembering your worth, your value, your uniqueness and perform in a way that gets both YOU and the CD excited about your audition.

Commercial work is fun for me because I already like to smile a lot which is my secret to make anyone want to buy something from me, sometimes I have to remember to keep it “real” and tone down the “happy” that is me sometimes! haha.

What’s your songwriting process like? 

My songwriting process… hmmm… well the good ones come in about 15 minutes or less. I will get an idea for a song and the lyrics/story flows fast when the whole story I want to tell is evident and other times I will build a song after a few sessions working on it a little bit at a time.

Sometimes I will write a chorus, verse or hook and not finish the rest of the track for a few months or even years. It all just depends on the other people I am collaborating with too. Different brains inspire new ways of writing!

How do you prepare for performing in a live show? Is there a ritual you have? 

For my live shows, I will spend the week prior preparing and rehearsing with my guitarist or solo if I don’t have anyone performing with me. I don’t really have a “ritual” per say.

How do you deal with rejection? And how do you stay positive? 

LOL. I actually woke up to a rejection letter this morning from a casting company which I lowkey appreciated because it’s rare, you usually just get “ghosted” after a casting if they go in another direction but overall, I’ve come to find peace in each rejection because it makes that ones that do come all the sweeter and I trust that the ones that are MEANT for me will ALWAYS come. No doubt about it! You gotta stay your biggest hypeman! ALWAYS <3 I take comfort knowing I bring the best of me to every audition and that gets me through.

What’s the best piece of career or life advice you’ve ever received?

“Nobody is going to do or want enough FOR YOU. You gotta make this journey all by yourself, and that is the beauty of it. Proud of you, kid.”

You can find Samantha’s Instagram HERE.

You can find Samantha’s music HERE.