Grounded, approachable and very at ease, as if this young man had been on stage for years. The audience in front of him: young & buzzing, clapping, grooving and mostly singing.
Last Saturday, Bitterzoet in Amsterdam hosted quite a special and talented young man from the UK. The official introduction to a great new soulful sound from the UK.
Samm Henshaw ladies and gentlemen, a soulful voice, shaped by live church music, successfully filled an intimate setting with an excitement and vibrance. We were able to meet & greet Samm before his concert, to have little chat about his music, witness his concert from up close with as a result: a great visual diary of an buzzing evening at Bitterzoet by correspondent photographer Richard Rigby.
Welcome to Amsterdam, Samm, great to meeting you just after your soundcheck, with less than an hour before kick-off. Tell us a bit more on how and when did you started?
Professionally, last year. I just graduated from university and kinda gone thrown into it. I graduated, a month later I got signed and the following month I was on tour with James Bay. And the next thing I do, is being on the road non-stop, making music.
But music has always been part of my life, probably for 18 years. I grew up in church, so all I knew was live music.
I was telling one of my band mates, we didn’t grow up listening to conventional albums, the well structured put together records. We grew up listening to a lot of live stuff. And now a career in music, which was quite scary at the beginning. Things were just happening and things were coming my way.
Do you see yourself as a singer songwriter?
I guess a singer songwriter, but really, there are too many people, too many boxes and artists, who only care of how they’re being perceived by everyone else instead of only by themselves. I’m just a guy making music and who loves music, more than anything else.
You’ve released your first EP? Why named as the Sound Experiment?
Yes and a second one just now, the Sound Experiment. It all really started in university, it’s when I considered taking music seriously, as an actual profession, opposed to just this hobby… I was making music with my house mates at the time and we ask ourselves: if you’d ever became an actual artist, what would your sound be? That’s a really good question. I listen to so much music so I just said: I’d rather make a body of work where we mock around with different genres, styles and see what happens from there.
So basically, it was an excuse for not really have to confine myself to one style or genre. If you listen to some of the songs they might seem to be normal structured, but most of the experiment lies in the journey. We’ve really tried so many different things.
And this journey has also now brought you to Amsterdam…
This might be my 6th or 7th time and I came here last year with James Bay. The first venue I played in was Paradiso and it was really buzzing.
But tonight at Bitterzoet, completely sold out…
I know, I can’t believe it, 350+ people and quite some guestlists.
We could say that this is your official introduction to Amsterdam. What are you hoping to inspire them with, tonight?
It’s a mixture of things, there’s a message in each song and each message is different. There’s a song called ‘These Hands’ which is about not really giving up and being able to say: I need to work hard enough to get to a place where I need to be. And there’s ‘Redemption’, being able to be redeemed. We all fall short and sometimes do things that are redeemable. So, regardless of what happens, people forgive, people forget and everyone deserves a second chance.
And in terms of overall vibe and sound, I just really want to put stuff out there and let people have a really good time. And being able, taking people’s minds away from their stresses, the 9 to 5, the problems… allowing them to be in the moment and have good time.
Thank you Samm for your time and staying true to the mission of the night. Present, in the moment and a smile on our face. We’re wishing you all the best and luck with the journey you're in. For more info: www.sammhenshaw.com
Photo Reportage by Richard Rigby
Interview & Copy by Robin