It’s just under a year that 21 year old Samm Henshaw has gone from trying to pass his degree in Popular Music Performance to currently being touted as the next big thing-indeed he is simply class.
It’s his unmistakable, slightly gravely soulful vocal that places him within the genre of I expect soul but he is far from being restricted by said genre.
His debut ep the six track, The Sound Experiment is literally saturated with powerful, slick and intoxicating numbers. It’s a time machine of an ep transporting you back to artists like Otis Redding and Stevie Wonder-it is an ep which displays a bonafide artist.
Indeed his stripped vocal performances on The Mahogany Sessions with his track Only Wanna Be With You further cements his status as a name ready to burst through music mediocrity.
As we step into the latter part of 2015 Samm Henshaw’s star continues its steep incline and I was stoked to get some time to talk to the talented singer, song writer and instrumentalist about his; musical history, a coming tour with James Bay, pivotal moments in his career thus far and a strange liking for train journeys while remaining seated in a car.
Let’s talk briefly about university and your management who have been hugely supportive of your academic aspirations and even held off pushing your music career until things were stable.
I have been with my management for three years and they have been hugely support of me even when I had other ideas. I was just so keen to get things sorted out and just get out there gigging but we all spoke and I calmed down a bit so I did not gig for a year. It’s only recently that I started gigging because I graduated at university where I studied Popular Music Performance. It’s just a great time that now I can actively pursue things in my music career while having a great team behind me.
Cheesy question but were you always destined for a career in music?
I was probably heading there unconsciously. When I grew up I wanted to be Indiana Jones and do things in archaeology but despite all the other things I wanted to do, I realised that music was always there. Going to church I was always singing so I was always doing something in music but it was more of a hobby for me rather than a job or some tunnel vision focus on being a singer. When I got to secondary school I studied music technology and then I thought I might as well go to college and study music and then I thought when I go to university I might as well study music-it was as simple as that. I then figured out by university that maybe I want a career in music!
Church is obviously very important to you.
I am a Christian and so for me it is as simple as everything that has happened to me is by the grace of God. I look at it and I wonder how things have happened at this time, this way and with this speed? I can only point to God as the divine power that has helped me and I am just so grateful.
So I know some artist dislike genres but where would you put yourself?
This question! A lot of people say I am soul and I do not disagree with it because my voice is soulful but I play around with a lot of genres for example, Redemption. A lot of people say Redemption is a soul track but when I was actually making it I was trying to make folk track but what came out was completely different. I do not have a problem with it. I think I have just got used to the fact that my voice will change some of the ideas I have in my head when I actually sing them. In terms of genre I am not that worried about it though.
What’s a pivotal moment in your career?
I get excited by weird stuff to be honest so I got so excited when we travelling (it was related to my music) and we were in a car but on a train travelling to our destination I just thought it was absolutely brilliant but I expect I cannot say that as a pivotal moment! I expect the biggest moment would be selling out two headline shows-that was absolutely massive. You get to the gig and find out that people could not get in that was huge –a pivotal moment in my career so far.
Ok so let’s talk about the ep even though most of us have heard that rather brilliant debut-give us in sight into the creative process.
The process is always different. The way I made Only Wanna To Be With You was not the way that I made Better. For example Better happened around the time when I was at university. My friend (who is not a producer) made this beat on Fruity Loops and I asked him if I could use it. So he was like ‘yes’ but then I left it for about a month before I got back to it because I really could not come up with anything then one day he starts playing the track on the speakers and it reminded how good it was. So I ran into my kitchen where I wrote the track in ten minutes. I then called my producer to work on the track and we got the track down in a night. The process is always mad different.
So does spontaneity equal a banging track?
For me, the tracks which are doing well are the ones that were spontaneous. Redemption and Only Be With You for example were extremely spontaneous. I think the best songs come off a vibe rather than being this really deeply thought out process.
Lastly what’s on the musical agenda- I know you are going to tour with James Bay-that’s huge!?
Touring with James Bay is massive and I have to admit I am just so continually excited about that so look out for the tour in September. My ep The Sound Experiment comes out in September but it is currently on pre-order but that’s going to be exciting as well. Lastly I have started work on my next project so we have a few things laid down but I don’t know what form that music will come in but it looks like it will probably be another ep. Whatever we do however I am just happy to be doing what I love.
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