Samantha LaPorta is a teen pop star, best known for her single, “Own the Night,” a tune that remained on Radio Disney’s Top 30 countdown for four weeks.

The 16-year-old has a passion for singing and songwriting and this week, she returns with "Don’t Say Forever,” a song she co-wrote with a distinctive Latin vibe that pays tribute to her Panamanian heritage.

Radio Disney is adding the song to its Music Mailbag where tween fans will have the chance to “pick” it for regular airplay on the station or “kick it.”

Samantha discussed her music and more via an exclusive interview on August 22, 2018.

Music, style, lyrics, and heritage

Meagan Meehan (MM): You have had an incredible career so far, Samantha, so how did you get into music?

Samantha LaPorta (SL): I’ve loved to sing for as long as I can remember. I went to my first music concert at age ten, and I remember telling my parents afterward, “This is what I want to do!” I started guitar and vocal lessons right after and within a year, I was performing my first showcase at the Hard Rock Cafe in Nashville.

MM: Do you write your own lyrics or do you work with songwriters?

SL: Both! I love to write songs because it makes me feel more emotionally connected to my fans. For “Don’t Say Forever,” I really wanted to write a song with a Latin feel.

I shared my ideas with my production team, Eddie Gomez, and Matt Wong, and we got to work in the studio. The studio is a magical place. Ideas really come together there.

MM: How did you get the idea for “Don’t Say Forever?”

SL: “Don’t Say Forever” is about making promises we can’t keep. Teens are always telling their sweethearts they’ll be together forever, but in real life, it isn’t likely they will.

Change happens. People grow apart. Most kids go in different directions after high school.

MM: How much does your heritage influence your musical style?

SL: So much! I’m proud of my heritage. I love visiting my family in Panama where music is everywhere! It’s literally at every celebration. I remember sitting in the stands at my cousin’s soccer game, and a DJ set up his equipment on the bleachers and started banging his beats right next to me.

You’ve got to love that!

Favorite songs, fans, social media, and the future

MM: What is your favorite song of all and why is it special to you?

SL: I have a regular gig where I play all different styles of music from Bruno Mars, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Rihanna, my songs and so many more. It is a two-hour show, so it takes a lot of songs. I started closing the show with Etta James’ “At Last,” and I love seeing all the couples slow dancing and singing along. It creates a very special moment.

MM: How did you get your songs on Radio Disney?

SL: My manager, Lucas Prata, introduced me to Radio Disney. I performed for them at the RD offices and was welcomed into the Radio Disney family right then and there.

I think it was my favorite day ever.

MM: How much of an impact, if at all, does social media and/or music videos have on you gaining and connecting with fans?

SL: I love connecting with fans through social media. I really love getting videos from fans reacting to or singing my songs. That’s the best!

MM: What other musical projects--or other exciting events--are you working on at the moment?

SL: I am inspired by so many different styles of music. Right now, I’m working on a few songs that range from R&B to Pop. One song, in particular, is looking very promising right now. It’s one of those tracks that make you want to jump up and dance. So fun!

MM: So, Samantha, what are your biggest hopes for the future of your musical career?

SL: I have a wish list of places I’d like to perform at — like Coachella! — And people I would like to perform with. My dream would be to tour with Bruno Mars.

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To learn more about Samantha LaPorta and her music, visit Radio Disney’s Mailbag, find ‘Don’t Say Forever,’ and vote for them to “Pick It”!