Not just a talented singer but a great songwriter, too, Sam Brockington has had the best year of his career in the past 12 months, and looks set to go on riding that huge wave of success.
We got the chance to put some questions to Sam about his music, future plans and more in a new and exclusive interview - check out what he had to say below.
For those who may be to your music, how best would you describe your sound?
It's always hard to pin point a genre on my music, it does change from track to track but someone described it as folk-influenced-pop with elements of soul and blues and I felt like that was the best description I'd heard so far, so let's go with that!
What challenges have you faced in the music industry so far?
I have fallen in and out of love with my own music for years now and I think that is one of the biggest challenges when starting out as a solo musician. Having been in bands until I was 20 and not really being the songwriter, initially finding the confidence to believe in my original songs were good enough to play to people and try and make a career out of was hard. Luckily the reaction from the people around me was good and helped encourage me to continue.
How difficult would you say this career path is in terms of making a name for yourself?
I think it is possible one of the hardest industries to make a name for yourself in. It's been said a million times but there are now so many musicians out there with the capability to record and release music. So of course the competition is strong but I don't see it as a competition. I am driven to get as many people to hear my music as possible but in terms of making a name for myself, I understand that there are so many musicians out there more talented that never will. I am lucky enough to be able to take my music full time at the moment, but I don't think it would play on my mind if I never made a name for myself, as long as I am still enjoying my music.
How important is it for you to have creative control over the work you produce?
I do not insist on creative control but I have a pretty good system worked out. Personally, I have to write all the lyrics and chord patterns, as well as having the final say on production decisions. I have however been working with the same guy, Oliver Larcombe Moore, since I was 11. So I take the lyrics and chords to him and we work on the rest of the instrumentation together, then take it to our producer TJ Allen. As you can imagine we have built up a good partnership over time and it's great because we now know exactly what each other would want in each song. I have tried working with other songwriters but couldn't get past small details I didn't like about the outcome and have even ditched whole releases because of this!
What should we expect from you in the coming weeks and months?
I have new single 'Follow', available now on SoundCloud before its official release on December 7! The release includes my debut video and will be available everywhere! So go have a listen right now and see if you're feeling it! Also, gigging in Bristol, Plymouth, Cardiff, Hay Festival and my debut UK tour is in spring, 2016!
Where do you draw influence and inspiration from for your work?
I find that most of the time I draw influence from the people around me, my housemates playing piano or violin. We are quite a musical household, a nice way of phrasing, loud neighbours! But when I'm alone and singing I am most influenced by the work of Jeff Buckey, Sam Cooke and Bill Withers.
If you could collaborate with anybody going forward, who would you choose and why?
I've thought about this before and it would have to be Nina Simone, because she is an absolute genius and I would ask her if we could duet her version of 'Baltimore', written by Randy Newman.
Tell us a random, funny fact about you that not many people know.
I have a not very secret love for every E.L.O song ever written, whereby I can sing every harmony, and there's a lot! They came on in the supermarket the other day and I genuinely got really excited and couldn't help but sing along. I must have looked pretty crazy. And another rather embarrassing thing most people don't know is the first piece of music I ever bought was Aaron Carter's classic cover of 'I Want Candy' on cassette. It was meant to be for my 6-year-old crush at the time, but the song was just so catchy I kept it for myself, which was the start of the end for me and the girl!
Do you have definitive aims or goals for your career?
There is nothing I have definitively set in my mind. I think the goals for me have changed, which is a great thing. I have achieved more of my dreams in the last year than I thought I ever would, playing a full festival circuit including Glastonbury and Leeds, whilst having people choose to listen to my music and come see me live. It's a great feeling but realistically I know I want to extend those goals, so getting as many people to hear my music as possible as well as playing bigger stages as I progress. I would be lying if I said it wasn't a goal of mine to take my music career as far as it will allow me to go but what that is I don't know.
Where do you hope to be by this time next year?
This time next year I hope to be still enjoying my music career, anything more is a bonus.