Sam Harris of X Ambassadors Reveals What Inspired Him to Write “American Oxygen” for Rihanna

It started with a road trip, some Bruce Springsteen, and a simple melody.

Sam Harris of X Ambassadors didn’t know that what was first a simple phrase — “breathe out, breathe in / American oxygen” — would turn into one of the hottest songs out right now. “American Oxygen,” the latest single from Rihanna’s forthcoming R8 album, was in the works for over a year before it dropped. When it did, Sam, who penned the song, was both “impressed and satisfied” with his creation’s success.

We talked with Sam about the songwriting process behind “American Oxygen,” his working relationship with British producer Alex Da Kid, and his upcoming VHS album with X Ambassadors—which drops on June 23. Find out what Sam had to say about each of these, and check out the lyric video for “Renegades,” X Ambassadors’ latest single, below.

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