Caught In Conversation With: Sam Tompkins
23-year-old, singer and songwriter Sam Tompkins, is the archetype of a contemporary male musician. Who has had a career that has progressed online over many years; which for those who have been around from the start, have been able to follow him on his voyage into adulthood as both an individual and as an musician (and thanks to the internet, for those of us who haven’t, you can google his old yet timeless covers on YouTube haha.)
Now fully formed into the mature artist he his is today; Sam harbours a refreshingly non-conformative sound - no doubt influenced by listening to a wide range of greats including Ray Charles, Justin Timberlake and Usher to name a few. Alongside some of our most successful contemporaries such as, Ed Sheeran and Drake.
From observing how personable and genuine he comes across on social media, to hearing his wonderful music and seeing the thoughtfulness of his visuals. It becomes extremely clear that the singer’s devotion to producing quality music for his ever-growing listeners, completely outweighs any desires for mainstream success (which we are sure is only around the corner.)
So you say the single ‘You’re the love of my life is about those who “Stick around no matter what”. Who would you that person be for you?
Well, that song’s about my girlfriend, so I would have to say her other wise she’d kill me. However my mum, dad, brother, sister and most of my closest friends all do stick with me no matter what and i’ve always appreciated it.
In the music video for your new single ‘Kings’, we see you showcasing your acting skills - is that something you’d like to explore more in the future?
100%! I would love to act in something one day, but I am super scared of having to learn lines because I’m so forgetful.
What are your hopes for this single? Where do you see it taking you?
When you put out a single like “Kings”, it’s hard to gage where it’s gonna end up. I wanna say it’ll do well commercially, but I couldn’t tell you to be honest. However, I do think it’s gonna help the people who listen to it. If one person takes the message on board, that’s definitely good enough for me.
Describe your aesthetic as an artist in three words?
Colourful, Unapologetic, Me.
Throwing it back to humbler beginnings; Your career started on YouTube - do you feel like that fan base has followed you throughout your evolution as an artist?
I think it’s fair to say I lose fans and gain fans every single day, however a lot of them have definitely stayed. It’s natural as a growing artist from a young age to not always have a fan base that sticks around because they grow up with you, which breeds new interests, new thoughts and takes them down new paths that frankly just don’t include me and that’s cool I think.
You started exposing your talent to the public through busking, is that a method of gaining the exposure you’d recommend to aspiring artists today?
Yes. Busking is so helpful. Not only is it great for getting you more exposure, but also it helps with confidence SO much.
If you weren’t an artist, what career path do you think you’d have taken instead?
I think if I wasn’t an artist, I would’ve probably tried out every single creative industry I could until one let me in and if that didn’t work, I would’ve just become an external decorator as that was my favourite job I had before I went full time with music.
We heard that you had quite an unfortunate experience whilst opening up for the rap collective formerly known as Section boys a few years ago- what did that experience teach you?
I would say the main thing that taught me is that I am not going to be accepted everywhere I go. No matter how hard I work and no matter how good I think I am. There will always be people that don’t like what I do and that’s okay. That was mostly hard for me to take because I knew the people personally who were booing me at the beginning. They were people from my hometown that just didn’t want to see me do well... it then escalated and it was tough when more people started getting involved. however I got paid and that was great back then to be paid for something I loved and although I cut my set short, those people have to live with how they treated me that night for the rest of their lives and I know they feel bad because they have since apologised.
We’ve heard your earlier influences include the likes of Ed Sheeran, Justin Timberlake along with legends like Nina Simone and Stevie Wonder - but who inspires you today?
To be honest, my biggest inspirations these days are my friends who make music. Isaiah Dreads, PJ Anthony, Xander850, Jamal Woon, my band... the list goes on.
What cover were you most proud of or gave you the most recognition?
I would say my cover of “Yesterday” by the Beatles, as that is I think the most coveted song ever and my particular cover is one of the most viewed covers of that song on the internet and I think that’s awesome.
Who would be your ultimate collaboration be? dead or alive.
Ultimate collaboration would probably be Stevie Wonder because of just how awesome that dude is.
Speaking of collaborations, is there anyone exciting on the horizon?
Right now I have some ideas, but we just have to see...
What artists are a must on your playlist?
Still Woozy, Rex Orange County, Jamal Woon, Isaiah Dreads and Jaykae.
So, we took the liberty of scrolling through your twitter and I see you aren’t afraid of showing your followers the real you - how important do you think it is for an artist to attach a personality to their artistry?
I think it’s super weird if you don’t. Who wants to listen to an artist that absolutely nobody can connect with on a personal level. That’s a big part of what music is for me I think.
You took a trip to LA recently, you seemed surprised that you were recognised a few times - does that fuel you to push your music internationally?
That was absolutely crazy. Yeah, it definitely does. It also shows me that the internet is so incredibly powerful.
Where can we catch you live?
I wish I could reel out a bunch of dates, but with everything going on, it’s super tough right now. Just know that as soon as I can, I’m going to make it happen.
Listen to his latest single Kings here: