Having been on my music radar since featuring on a lot of SBTRKT’s debut released back in 2012, Sampha has been an artist who I have loved and wanted to hear more from. With solo material starting to trickle through at the end of last year and just recently being announced as coming 4th place in the BBC’s Sound of 2014 Poll, I think it is long overdue that I write a new music post about the wonderful Sampha.
With absolutely stunning vocals and the ability to hit a huge vocal range from soft, quiet or deeper sounds to the bigger and high pitched notes most people only dream of reaching but he does so with such ease whilst retaining the beauty of the song and the lyrical content. It’s a skill not many singers have and too few these days really hit me quite as emotionally with just the sound of their voice and the softness and epicness they can bring to it in equal measure but that is something that Sampha does and that is why I’m such a huge fan.
Born in Morden, South London, Sampha Sisay is an electronic singer, songwriter and producer. As I mentioned before he is best known for his collaborative work, especially with SBTRKT, he has also worked with the likes of Jessie Ware, Solange Knowles, Drake and Koreless among others. Though he has also released 2 solo EP’s, 2010’s ‘Sundanza’ and ‘Dual’, his most recent effort which was released just last year and features the single ‘Too Much’.
With such a brilliant back catalogue of work with other artists, it was inevitable that a) he was going to release his own stuff at some point and b) it was going to be good. And ‘Dual’ is good, it’s more than good really, it’s great, brilliant, excellent. With lyrics that completely explore emotions looking at some of the darker aspects has given his music an edge that gives it an instant interest to the listener. With vocals so detached from the music, not in a ‘they don’t fit together’ way but more a ‘making the vocals the main focus’ way, it gives you a chance to listen to the lyrics where essentially he is completely exposing himself and his feelings to the world.
The 24 year old has already gained brilliant reviews and write up’s all over the shop from Guardian’s new band of the day to Clash Magazine’s write up of ‘Too Much’ and there is Pitchfork’s brilliant ‘Rising’ feature on him which features a quote that seems to perfectly sum up Sampha; “Sampha Sisay has a quiet way about him, the sort of soft, hesitant speaking voice that calls for a patient ear. It’s what makes the raw emotion that spills out of him when he sings all the more startling.”
After collaborations and 2 EP’s being released and received very well and given praise at every opportunity, it leaves excitement about what could be next for the London singer/producer. ‘Too Much’ is available to download via iTunes now and is set to be released on 7″ vinyl on 3rd February and that is about all we know for now. I imagine there will be a tour or some festival dates announced soon and I hope he is working on a debut album. This will surely be a big year for him, continuing in the vein, making good music and collaborating with brilliant artists.
Below is the video for the first of his solo material ‘Too Much’ to be released in November last year:
And here is one of the first tracks I ever heard Sampha’s vocals on, ‘Hold On’ by SBTRKT: