Interview

Samm Henshaw

Samm Henshaw is a musician’s musician, and there’s every chance that he’s at the top of many of your favourite artists’ playlists. Handpicked by both James Bay and Chance the Rapper to support them on tour, the soul man has also worked with the likes of Pharrell, Rag N Bone Man and Wretch 32. His music is infectious, melodic and dance worthy, the type of tracks that you simply can’t sit still through, most evidently with his latest single “Church” which has already clocked up over three million views. Next up is his biggest headline show to date in London, and after that? Sky’s the limit, it seems.

You released your debut EP in 2015, how do you feel your sound has evolved since then?

I think my earlier music was more about me experimenting with music, hence the titles of the EPs (The Sound Experiment and The Sound Experiment 2). Since then I’ve honed in on my sound, creating a much more singular sound. Sonically, I want all of my music to fit.

What is inspiring you to create music now, and has that changed over the past few years?

My current music has been heavily inspired by the early Kanye music, everything he produced from John Legend to Common, all of that early stuff. Not only Kanye though, a lot of the legends have inspired me too: Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke.

You've toured and worked with a list of impressive names from Chance the Rapper to Pharrell, what has been the best advice you've received?

The one thing I’ve learned from all the people I’ve met is to work hard. Pharrell is already majorly successful but he works as though he’s never had any success, we were working until around 3am every night. There’s something about seeing this level of work ethic that is inspiring. With Chance it was a similar thing, he’s able to deliver the same show level night after night, no matter the circumstances.

What would be your dream collaboration?

I’d love to work with Quincy Jones, he’s one of the few living musical geniuses and has seen it all. He’s basically created so much culture, I’d love to be part of that too.

You can take three albums to a desert island – which ones are they?

Firstly, it would be Lauryn Hill’s ‘Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’. Over 20 years on, and it’s still going strong. Imagine making one album and being able to tour off of it for more than 20 years! The proof is in the pudding, an absolute monster of an album.

Then it would be D’Angelo’s ‘Voodoo’. This is an absolute classic, he almost never needed to make another album after making something as timeless as this, most musicians would still play this album even now.

Lastly, I would choose Kanye West’s ‘Late Registration/Orchestration’. I know this is technically two albums but the live one is incredible and the studio album is one of the best albums ever made, in my opinion. The quality of production, songs, features... it just had it all.

Can you talk us through what you have coming out for the rest of the year, what can fans expect?

The plan will be to release new music, do some more shows and overall keep feeding the public with more Samm Henshaw!

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