To celebrate the release of his brand new album (available now) we caught up with Sam to get the 411 and dig a little deeper into where the fabulous 14-track queer adventure came from. We were blessed with an exclusive listen pre-release and are so proud of our local gem, there’s definitely something in the album for everyone. We highly recommend opening Spotify while you’re reading to get the full and fabulous experience. Enjoy!
BWD: So you’re back with a new album aye, what’s taken you so long?
Sam: I am EVENTUALLY back with a new album, yes! I wanted to make sure it was right haha! In all seriousness, this album has been an exploration and a journey. My first album was all about falling out of love and I didn’t want to repeat that. I lived life, I grew up, I bought a house, got two dogs, got engaged, became single again, saw parts of the world I’d dreamed about seeing, went back to Uni. I’ve been pretty busy but what it did do was allow me to think about different things to write about and explore who I am as a person. Off Script is a celebration of not being a “normal” person and loving the fact you aren’t!
BWD: When did the process of pulling together the tracks for Off Script begin?
Sam: About 5 years ago. After my first album I had a period where I needed therapy for anxiety and depression, something I’m proud to say I needed because I’m only human and there’s times we all need to say we’re not ok. I’d decided I wasn’t coming back to music and during my counselling my counsellor asked me to get back to writing music. I flat out said no but she said she thought it’d help me understand where I was. So I went and wrote Therapy, which is on the album. I got the writing bug not long after and over the next 3 years I wrote the full album. I’ve held off releasing it because I didn’t just want to throw it out there, something I felt the team I had for my first album done. So after the majority of the album was written and recorded I wrote and recorded two EP’s which had the singles ‘Wild Sun’ and ‘All We Are’ on, as a way of saying ‘Hi, I’m back!’.
BWD: Have you taken inspiration from any fellow queer artists?
Sam: I think, in the UK, we’ve been lucky in terms of LGBT artists. Elton, Boy George, George Michael, Will Young just to name a few…where wouldn’t you take inspiration? George Michael clearly inspired Off Script. Will Young you could hear on Change the World. What I love about queer artists is, we all knock it out the park in terms of vocals.
BWD: That’s a fabulous combo right there, we can definitely hear the influence in a lot of the tracks and we’re here for it!
BWD: Which song would you say is the closest to your heart?
Sam: ’No One In The Room’. I wrote that with Hattie Murdoch, who I wrote my most popular song ‘All We Are’ with, and it’s about the death of my grandmother. She died of advanced dementia and was the kindest, most loyal and most fierce woman you’d ever meet in your life. She could teach some Queen’s lessons in how to be fierce! I never had that conversation with her about my sexuality and who I was, I hid it and I am so ashamed of myself for that because that’s something I can never, ever fix. The lyrics ‘when there’s no one in the room, I’m thinking about you’ is a reference to my first ever gig when she stood there on the dance floor, on her own, and cried when I was singing a ballad. It’s just a stunning song.
I struggle to sing that song live but it’s one I feel I have to perform because we’ve all felt that love for someone but whilst I was in mourning when I wrote the song it’s also a celebration of who she was. “You’ve seen me walk, grow, run and cry, with you I never had to try” is me saying that she saw me growing up and I know she loved that.
BWD: That’s such a beautiful dedication, we’re glad you’ve been able to write a love note to such a supportive and fierce angel – may she slay the house down in the afterlife.
BWD: You’ve created quite the diverse mix of ballads, pop vibes, funk and emotional numbers – did you always plan to go cross-genre?
Sam: Yes and no. Look, it’s a pop album in essence. I’m just exploring different elements of pop. It’s all very 90’s influenced but I grew up in the 90’s and that’s what the 90’s was, very mixed in it’s sound! Let’s talk about the ballads and emotional numbers first because there aren’t many of them on the album but I wanted them there because of the topics. They’re all about being strong and empowering.
The funky, pop songs I love because they are a sound I’ve always wanted to create. I even wanted to do it with my first album but then I came up with this concept idea, a Winehouse style album. What I love about pop music is you can explore all these sounds and still be a pop artist.
BWD: Your video for lead single “Off Script” features a whole bunch of fabulous local drag stars, what was it like filming with those crazy creatures?
Sam: ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS! I’d banded the idea around with Risque, who I love, and she just ran with it. She’s an underrated superstar that girl and really helped make it a reality. If you watch the video you’ll see my face, I’m barely able to mime half the time because I’m trying not to laugh. We had 2 hours to film the full video and it flew by. What I love about that video is that it’s not about me, I didn’t even need to be in it, I actually offered to not be in it because it’s all about those drag stars. The song is about being who you are and loving yourself and by god they done it!
I was told we needed to do one more shot and it was me and Mel (the personal trainer) and I needed to do some squats, so there I was doing them. They’d turned the camera off and the things Risque and Delonco were saying I’m not sure I can repeat…I’m glad I didn’t allow phones on set!!
BWD: When you get a bunch of drag creatures in full 80s realness looks you know you’re gonna have a fun moment. We love the Frida face-plant moment (very us after a work-out), the camel toe realness from Dik and is it just us or would Ivy make a fab horror movie star in an 80s flick – kinda like AHS: 1984 vibes.
BWD: Vocally, which song on the album was the most challenging to record?
Sam: Off Script definitely…have you heard some of those notes?!
BWD: If you could duet with any artist in the future, who would you choose?
Sam: I could say any of my idols such as Gabrielle or Anastacia but I’ve always thought me and Mary J. Blige would do a banging track together!
BWD: Those are some absolutely fabulous ladies right there, any of them would make for a wonderful duet
BWD: Any hints toward your next single from the album?
Sam: It’s going to be Never Knew. No question about that one! It’s funky, full of disco and full on sass! I wrote it about a friend who kept on splitting up my relationships without me even realising. I actually found out what was happening in the middle of Zimbabwe during a meal watching tribal dancing. I had to keep my cool. I just kept thinking of every relationship I’d had and how it had messed up. Everything happens for a reason I suppose. He’s no longer in my life and I’ve no intention of letting him back in. But, I did get this song!
BWD: A great choice, definitely has an upbeat vibe that we can all dance around to….even if that is just in our bedrooms while we’re still in lock-down. We’re glad you’ve turned a negative experience into such a fun track and personal growth.
BWD: Where would your dream gig take place?
Sam: At the moment just any gig is a dream gig! I can’t wait to announce a UK tour to support this album. We’ll get back to normal again but at the moment, I’m going to keep performing and I’ll make sure each venue is safe for people.
BWD: Amen to that, so excited for when gigs can get back to normal and we can all enjoy the beauty of live music and drag together again!
BWD: Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
Sam: Be yourself. That’s the most important bit of advice you can give I think, aside from the work hard, do long hours, hone your craft etc. Being yourself is key. People want to come on a musical journey with you, they can’t do that if you’re not being true to who you are
BWD: We couldn’t agree more, as much as we all love a good bop, getting to know the artist through their music is something special and staying true to yourself should always be key
BWD: Now that you’ve launched album two, what can we expect in the future?
Sam: Well I’ve started writing album three, I’ve been told by my management I’m not allowed to wait another 7 years! They want album three out by the middle to end of next year so I have to have it written by the end of this year and recorded by early Spring. We’re well on track. I’m working with some crazily talented people, they put me to shame! Producers with tens of millions of streams, songwriters with the same kind of figures, songwriters which Netflix have singled out to specifically write for their films, songwriters who have had their music all over TV. I’m kinda shocked they agreed to work with me. So, there’s album three. I’m opening for Alexandra Burke and Gabrielle in 2021 and I’m going to be touring with my band too.
I’m so happy in my life right now and music plays a huge part in that.
BWD: We honestly can’t wait to see how things go for you in the future, another album next year is definitely much more desirable than having us all wait so long again. It sounds like you’re in for a wild but amazing ride, we’ll be keeping an eye on you and may just have to catch you at some of those gigs. Thanks for the interview and best of luck – go slay the world!
Make sure to stream, download and share Off Script right away and follow the wonderful Sam on socials to show some love <3