American Idol winner Samantha “Just Sam” Diaz is back performing in New York City subway stations three years after winning the competition. 

“Back in 2021, I was super embarrassed to be going back to the trains. 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 wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post, The Sun reported.

Diaz explained she had to try and find a way to be kind to herself, even though things didn’t turn out as she had hoped.

“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,” she wrote. “Not even knowing anything about Hollywood or the music industry.”

She added she didn’t know what to expect after winning Idol.

“We didn’t know what to do with the win especially being that we 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. I don’t like my situation, but it won’t be this forever.”

Ultimately, she hoped telling her story would help artists have a different experience.

“Since then, I have learned so much and I’ve been able to take my experiences and share them with other artist in hopes that they don’t experience the same things that I did when It comes to making it in this life,” Diaz wrote.

However, regarding what happened after she won Idol, Diaz said she would tell that chapter of her story when she’s ready.

“Everyone wants to know what happened and why this or why that & I will answer those questions someday, but In the meantime I’ll say this. I never expected to win, but I did, I was so grateful and I know that people are feeling like I let them down.”

According to People magazine, Diaz previously spoke about how she “ended up broke” after parting ways with Hollywood Records on Instagram Stories.

Just Jared reported the singer said in 2022, “I am making music. I just cannot afford to release music, because mixing and mastering music costs a lot of money. And I invested in myself and ended up broke. That’s the truth. Not broke, broke ⁠— like I’m living. I have my own place.”

Diaz told fans she left the label, which signed her after she won Idol, before releasing an album. Her departure left her owing the company money.

“I’m not even going to tell you guys the amount of money that I had to pay after leaving the label to claim songs that I had already recorded,” she said. “I’m recording all the time or making music all the time, writing every day, doing what I have to do to survive.”

The Sun reported Diaz is recording music. But unfortunately, she can’t afford to release music because “mastering music costs a lot of money.”