American Idol’s Just Sam Is Singing at Subway Stations Again 3 Years After Winning Show

American Idol’s season 18 winner Just Sam has returned to singing at subway stations because "I legit needed the money."

By Angie Orellana Hernandez May 23, 2023 9:17 PMTags
Watch: "American Idol" Winner Just Sam Reacts to "Life Changing" Win

Just Sam is sharing a life update more than three years after winning American Idol.

The musician has returned to singing at New York City subway stations, where Sam originally performed before launching to stardom on American Idol season 18 in 2020.

In videos posted last week, Sam is seen performing at a station and inside a train, while carrying a white donations box.

"Back in 2021, I was super embarrassed to be going back to the trains," Sam wrote in a now-deleted Instagram comment, per Just Jared. "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. 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."

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American Idol: Where Are They Now?

As for Sam's post-American Idol journey, the singer noted, "I have learned so much." And the artist still wants to make a positive impact on aspiring musicians, adding, "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."

Since winning American Idol, Sam reportedly parted ways with Hollywood Records and had tried releasing music without help from a label.

ABC via Getty Images

"I thought it was gonna be easy, just go to the studio, record, put out music," Sam said on Instagram Stories in January 2022, per Just Jared. "And that's not how the world works. That's not how the industry works. It takes time, it takes money that I don't have. It takes patience."

However, the "Question" singer has had to prioritize wellbeing above a music career.

"I have people who are helping me. I'm putting out music when I can and when it's ready," Sam said. "It's just hard because I'm coming out of pocket and I have bills to pay. And American Idol is not going to pay my bills. Lionel Richie's not going to pay my bills. Katy Perry's not going to pay my bills. Luke Bryan is not going to pay my bills. I have to pay my rent. I have to make sure that I'm eating every day, which is hard to do."

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