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'American Idol' 2020 winner Just Sam returns to singing in New York subways

By NICK GARCIA Published May 24, 2023 1:15 pm Updated May 24, 2023 3:25 pm

American Idol 2020 winner Just Sam has returned to singing in the subways of New York City.

Just Sam, born Samantha Diaz, has been sharing videos of their busking since April, as they also have a donation box with them.

The Harlem-born 24-year-old singer's latest Instagram entry was last May 17, when they sang a rendition of Beyoncé's Listen while on the train.

In a now-deleted caption of their May 2 video, Diaz said they were "super embarrassed" to be going back to busking since winning American Idol three years ago.

"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," Diaz initially wrote, according to The Sun. The caption reads as "#justsam" to date.

"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," Diaz continued.

Noting they didn't know anything about Hollywood or the music industry, Diaz said they have "learned so much" and have been able to share their experiences with other artists "in hopes that they don't experience the same things" they did.

Diaz said their family didn't know what to do with their win, especially since they 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," they said. "I don’t like my situation, but it won’t be this forever."

In 2022, Diaz took to Instagram Story to lament how they have "gone broke" after their deal with Hollywood Records went south even before they were able to record a song. Diaz was forced to pay the record label back, according to The Sun.

"I thought it was gonna be easy, just go to the studio, record, put out music," they are quoted as saying. "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."

Before joining and winning Idol, Diaz has already been singing in subway stations. They also auditioned for America's Got Talent and The Voice.