From Kent to LA, Sam Sure has printed his name across the whole of Pop culture. His unique vocals and sophisticated productions have made an impact on the London scene, catching the eye, or ear, of DJs Zane Lowe and Annie Mac. He’s taken Soundcloud by storm after racking up over 1 million listens.
Sam’s had a busy career so far working on the TCTS hit You and touring with Indie Pop band Years & Years, but it’s yet to end there. Sam is set to release his album in the summer with high expectations surrounding it. With that, touring is the only thing on his mind right now.
His latest release #Powers is a collaboration with DaVinChe, Scorcher, Getts which appears on the self-funded album of 32 artists, which is set to be a great movement.
It all started in Kent for you, did your upbringing inspire your career far?
Well it’s a small city where I was brought up in Canterbury. It’s got a lot of musical history there but more in the Folk scene. There was a mini Hip Hop community of graffiti writers and there were only about 50 of us, but I saw that as more inspiration because it meant I could make more of an impact. All I cared about was my mates liking my music or my graffiti. I never really had any ambition to take it any further.
Have you always been close to music?
Yeah I guess, but I never thought about being a singer, I always saw myself as a rapper, trying to emulate my New York heroes.
How did you land yourself with getting signed by Black Butter?
Once I came to London and started putting records out, but I only know how to do things my way, so when I got here, I started to play some live shows and wanted to more, but the more we did the more people liked it. Within the record industry if you do everything yourself it creates a bit of a buzz because it’s less work for them basically and you might be able to do it with the record company, and so people started paying attention and then I got in connection with Black Butter, who were growing as well, but most of the major labels showed interest but Black Butter were prepared to go a bit extra at those early stages.
Was it through them that you got the collaboration with TCTS on the track You?
Yeah, there was some connection to Black Butter, but I got introduced to him and so we just went into the studio together and we didn’t even know what we were making. By that time I had stopped fully rapping and I was singing and had been for two years. I was still trying to find my voice, but I was really enjoying writing lyrics. It was quite a simple record, but it ended up doing really well and I’m proud of that. I didn’t really know him before the collaboration but we are good friends now!
Your new single is Sirens, what was the writing process behind that?
I wrote it with a really talented producer and drummer and he went into this little studio and smashed out some stuff, but then the next day we were lucky enough to work in Relentless Studios on Denmark Street and we kind of just did it all then. We got in there and got really deep into finding a concept for a modern Greek Odyssey and trying to put a spin on it, but I really like the production of it because he is just doing his own thing and isn’t influenced by anything. It was a very organic session.
Were there any influences for the track on your part?
Not really, not when I write. I sort of write like an autobiography and just try and inject much of myself into it as possible. If I was to write for someone else, I would try and get inside their head and write it for them which is true and honest. You just have to let the song go where it wants to go. Some people would listen to Sirens and say that it sounds like The Weekend and then some people would listen and say that it sounds really Eighties, but I guess if you listen to The Weekend that it does kind of sound Eighties. I try not to listen to music that is coming out right now because it doesn’t help my progression, so I listen to stuff that came out in the Seventies because I like the art of songwriting and I feel that was a good time for songwriters. There are things I just can’t not be influenced by though, like the new Bon Iver record is phenomenal and Tame impala is phenomenal.
Did you try and stick to a similar feel through all your writing?
When I do the album in the summer, I will want a consistent sound just so it is a complete piece because that’s how you do an album, but these days it is rarer. A recent record I did has been made to sound like it was all done in one study with one producer, but that’s not true.
Do you have a specific place to write your music?
Not really, I write all over to be honest. But I tend to work in London Bridge or Notting Hill, but today I am up in Manor House.
So you toured with years and years, that must have been an experience!
It was! They weren’t young in their career because they had been on the scene and done what we all do when we are coming up but they had managed to hit a peak right at the point I started to support them and it was a really exciting time because they were getting new fans every show and all the fans that were coming were really into it and we were still playing small venues like King Tuts in Glasgow which is a 300 capacity that goes off. But we went all over England like Manchester, Brighton, London, Nottingham and all the major cities. I think the Manchester show was really good on the second day, but the Scotland show had the best crowd. There were a group of barrier girls who would beat us to every show and be at every show on the tour who were there for Years and Years, but it was still amazing to see.
Where would be your dream place for a live show?
I’d really like to go to Japan. It’d be interesting to see what it’s like out there because I’ve never been. I’d like to know how they would receive my music. All the travelling I do, I try and relate to music. I don’t really like to go on holiday but I like to travel to use it for my music. Japan has a big market and it’s a bit of an oddity for the west. They still sell CDs and embrace the artist in a different way.
You’ve been kept quite busy in 2016, do you expect to be at the same level this year?
Yeah, I did a lot last year. I shot a video in Cape Town, released tracks with Black Butter plus headed to America for a LA show. This year I really want to do more. I want to release something every month and have the album out in the summer. I want to go back to LA because I had such an amazing time out there writing and recording with people. It’s all about touring this year for me because I feel like I didn’t do enough last year. There was just never enough time but I’d really like to do more this year.
And finally, if you could create a super group, who would make the cut?
I’d love to have Bon Iver and Tame Impala in a band with me, I’d be happy just to play tambourine in it! I think it would be all weird and happy. I suppose for me, there is still room for Joni Mitchell because I’d like to see what she could do with someone like Drake because of his crazy lyrics and beats!
Sam’s track Sirens is out now via iTunes and for all his latest info head to www.samsuremusic.com
Interview by Georgia Packham Anderson
Photography Anna Urik
Grooming Chantelle Phillips
Production Assistant Tamara Borodaneva