Blues,Guitar,Pop,Singer Songwriter,Songwriter

Blog interview: Sam Martin

Hello Sam,  how are you?

Hey Del! i’m doing well thank you! have just been getting everything ready for the new single drop next week which is exciting, really grateful to be chatting to you guys! 

You are a musician, singer, songwriter how did it all begin for you?

It all started from a super early age for me, i started playing guitar when i was 5 or 6 and piano when i was ten, guitar had always been my first love though. I grew up in a very musical household and both of my parents had this insanely extensive record collection. It was pretty inevitable that me and my siblings would grow up hooked on music because of that. i learned so much through just listening and playing along with every song i got obsessed with. 

What did you listen to growing up? 

My mum and dad had this unbelievably eclectic record collection. Rock, Folk, Jazz and Soul music in every form. Everything from Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Nick Drake to The Stones and Zeppelin but i also got really enamored with great songwriters who were really articulate players too, they kind of changed the game for me. Artists like Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and BB King had a huge impact on me as a kid. i fell in love with Jeff Buckley and Stevie Wonder at about 15 years old so i always wanted to combine all of those influences from soul and blues songwriting into something of my own. 

Congratulations on the release of your new single. How does it feel? 

Thank you so much! that’s really kind of you. It’s been an amazing feeling getting to finally share this song with everybody, I mention it on my socials a lot but i really feel like it’s the start of a new era in my music and i feel like my whole journey as an artist until this point has been bridging the gap between being a singer and a guitar player. i think this song comes the closest to closing that gap. 

What’s the story behind it?

I was sat on a plane to Los Angeles in 2019 and i just had a lot to say to myself. the song is about having bit of an identity crisis and worrying if who i am as an artist would always need to reflect how i felt. you know? it’s kind of like in lockdown how some of us have really beaten ourselves up at times for not always “seeming” okay. The line at the end of the chorus is “Do you know me? you don’t own me at all” which is basically me addressing the fact that a lot of people who had a lot to say in my career didn’t know how tangled up my mind was. I landed in LA and started recording the demo of it which sat on my hard drive for over an year. then we walked into the studio a few months back and before we knew it the song was done. 

You recorded it at Abbey Road, what was it like recording there? 

Honestly i still can’t believe it happened! I was working with a friend a few days before we booked it up and we were working on some of his tracks then at the end of those sessions he asked if we’d want to come by and work on some songs if i had anything in mind? obviously i said yes (faster than i’ve ever said yes in my life) and we walked into Abbey Road on December 8th 2020 to finish recording “Do You Know Me?” It was utterly surreal being stood in a space with such a significant musical history, you can feel it in the walls and the floor. It’s like being stood on hallowed ground. I’m insanely grateful that i got to record in that legendary space even just for a day. 

You’re a blues pop singer who are your favourite blues singers?

My love of blues goes back the furthest as far as history goes. I grew up listening to Charlie Patton and Robert Johnson, Ella Fitzgerald and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Then when i was ten or eleven i heard Layla my Eric Clapton for the first time and i was hooked. that was really it for me, there was no going back. i got obsessed with Clapton and Hendrix and would spend hours learning how to sing those runs. I also fell in love with Stevie Ray Vaughan thanks to an old cassette that got stuck in our tape deck as a kid. THAT sound! That soul and the feeling you get in your stomach when you hear someone like BB King sing “The Thrill Is Gone” it was unreal to me.  

You play multiple instruments, how does a typical writing session begin for you? 

Usually with music first. Once i get a chord progression or rhythm down I’ll then try and work an interesting melody around those chords and try and build it out harmonically.  a producer I’ve been working with this year gave me such a cool idea a few weeks ago called “spot writing” where you just mic up the vocal booth, stand there with an acoustic guitar and just play and sing whatever you’re feeling. that’s actually how I started writing this song called “Cowboy” (which I hope will also be out soon!) so it varies I guess! 

What artists are getting you excited at the moment? 

So many! this week i’ve been listening to Alec Benjamin and his lyrics have made me cry like ten times! just so poetic but still accessible.  I’m really loving the new Lianne La Havas album, we supported her in 2014 and she is just a powerhouse live! those are two that are getting me really excited right now.  

You have an EP coming out in the spring how’s it going? 

It’s nearly there, just putting the last few finishing touches on songs now! Covid held things up quite a lot and when we went back into lockdown 3.0 we packed things up in the studio so I’m really looking forward to getting it done, honestly I’m so proud of what we’ve made though! 

What’s your favourite song from it? 

I’d have to say Cowboy. it’s the fastest I’ve ever written a song and it just kind of fell out of me that afternoon in the studio. I had this really lovely chord progression written and was just walking around with an acoustic guitar humming the melody and just got so lost in the song.  Within like twenty minutes I’d written the melody, lyrics and all the music to it and we started working on it right away. The song is about just wanting to be someone’s and wanting to spoil that person. buy them flowers, take them on a date and be a gentleman instead of worrying about seeming like a “cool kid” I think it’s basically my ode to chivalry not being dead. 

Covid has affected the creative industry in a big way in the last year. What’s kept you motivated?

2020 was absolutely the most challenging year of my life and i know I speak for everybody in this industry when I say that. It was absolutely heartbreaking to have so many plans cancelled and to not know when things would be normal again. We had something like 16 festivals booked for last year and some of them were the biggest shows we would’ve played. So that was horrible, but once I had made peace with that initial heartbreak it kind of unlocked this sense of stillness in not being in control; which might sound funny. I’ve spent my whole career as captain of my own ship and my manager has always said to me “chaos ensues when you loose control” so I think just staying creative, recording, releasing music and spending time working on my heart really helped keep me level. Also meditating and exercising has been a big thing for me too. I’ve been going on 5k walks most days and working out a lot. 

What are you looking forward to next? 

I can’t wait to see my people. To see everyone stood there at a show, smiling and laughing together. I can’t wait to hug all of my friends again, to be on tour and bring these new songs to everybody. Ultimately all I want is to always do what I love and keep pushing myself more and more with every single, every EP and every show. Our live stage setup is going to be so much more immersive and beautiful than it ever has been when we get back out there. I’m just so excited for normal life to resume and do what I love more than anything else in the world. 

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