Samm Henshaw is a generational artist whose music finds its home in the sweet spot between mainstream appeal and bold authenticity.
The singer-songwriter who hails from South London has finally decided to release his long-awaited debut album Untidy Soul and after selling out O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire in February, he readies himself to embark on a US Tour with his sensational live band.
After already hearing his soul on his latest project Samm gave us even more of himself in this interview. We discussed the development of his musicianship in the church; navigating the unknowns of the song-making process and his favourite TV show to watch during his downtime.
Please introduce yourself…
Hi my name is iniabasi oluwasemilore Samuel Henshaw
Please share a word or sentence which best describes your life right now?
Happy, Content, Satisfied.
Like yourself, there are many artists who have roots in the church, Whitney Houston, Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye to name a few. Why do you think that the church is such an amazing starting point for musicians?
I think it’s a breeding ground for improvisation, musicianship and development, you are playing every week so your literally practising and executing your skills every week, it teaches you professionalism and encourages your growth.
Congratulations on releasing your debut album! I thought that it was really funny that you started the album with the Still No Album skit considering it’s been six years since your last project. Why did you decide that now was the right time?
It was the time that we felt we had the space to put it out, 2022 was the perfect time, we had the time to put it together during the lockdown and we felt it was time.
Broke is one of your most successful songs, and this album features a follow-up Still Broke. Did you know that it would be that successful when you first recorded it?
Nah, I definitely didn’t think it’d be as successful as it was, I just liked what we made and put it out, I think the songs you think will be big usually don’t meet your expectations. Also, I never had experienced any success like that before so I didn’t know what was going to happen.
The song Joy sounds like it’s about the process of unlearning. What attachments did you have that were obstructing your path to finding joy?
I think there were multiple obstructions, myself and fear, there was so much I wasn’t prepared to do because of fear of the outcome. Myself was just the process of getting into my own head.
A lot of UK acts experience a hard time when trying to break into the US market, however, your music has always been really well received in the States (maybe even more so than in the UK). Were you surprised or bothered by this?
I wasn’t surprised or bothered by it, I sort of just saw it for what it was, sometimes the place you want to be accepted doesn’t accept you so you got to go where you’re wanted.
Your music has always had a message, but Untidy Soul definitely strikes a chord as your most vulnerable. How were you able to find the comfortability to be so transparent on songs like Thoughts and Prayers?
I think sometimes when you’re making a song, you fear what people are going to think and how they’ll respond to certain things, I found that it prevents me from creating, so I think with that song in particular I just remember switching that part of my brain off and concentrated on what I wanted to say and how I felt at the time, what was on my mind and heart.
You’re off to a flying start this year with the release of your debut album, what are your plans for the rest of the year?
Tour, do as many shows as possible and maybe put out some more music
You’ve spoken many times about the importance of building strong foundations outside of music (friendships, relationships, passions, etc). Do you have one eye on life beyond music?
Always. Music is one of my current passions but I have multiple.
Getting To Know You…
- A book you have to have in your collection? Good or God – John Bevere
- A song/album that defines the soundtrack of your life to date? – Untidy Soul
- A film / TV show that you will watch whenever it’s on repeatedly? Atlanta
- Something you saw on stage that left a lasting impact? The Shepherds Bush show, seeing my family and friends catching a vibe
- What’s made you sad, mad, and glad this week? Sad – nothing. Mad – haven’t been mad. Glad – life, I woke up this morning.
Samm Henshaw’s Untidy Soul is available to download on all streaming platforms
You can find out more about Samm’s tour here