‘Different strokes for different folks’: An Interview with Samm Henshaw
Interview and Photos by Karan Teli
It’s been over two years since Samm Henshaw’s last project; an EP entitled The Sound Experiment 2. Understandably so, worldwide tours with the likes of James Bay and Chance the Rapper have taken up a lot of his time. But, ahead of his sold-out show in his hometown at Hoxton Hall, the ‘warm-up’ to his bigger headline show at Scala on October 30th, I sat down with the Soul and R&B singer to talk about his ‘comeback’, where exactly he has been and just about everything else.
I asked a few people that I knew if there was anything in particular they wanted me to ask you while I had the opportunity. Most people said; just ask this guy where has he been all this time?
I’ve just been living! I was so busy touring and making music before, there wasn’t much time to be a normal person, so it was nice to just live a normal life for a while. You don’t realise how crazy it is until you get into it. It was nice to be able to chill with the loved ones. Do normal stuff like go to museums, I don’t remember the last time I went to a museum.
What music have you been listening to over the past two years?
A lot of Hip-Hop from the late 90’s and early 2000s. You know like Miseducation, the early Kanye stuff, Talib Kweli, Common. A lot of conscious rap. I love the Sonics of it, I listen to different music for different things. Of course I’ve been listening to all the Kendrick stuff, been listening to Anderson. Paak.
What do you think of Blonde?
I love Blonde! It’s not Channel Orange for me, but it inspired me heavily as a song writer and overall as an artist and a musician.
It’s been a while since Samm Henshaw has performed in his hometown of London. Online, this show at Hoxton Hall was being billed as his “comeback” show, with a chance to test the waters with new music before his headline show at Scala. “I guess it is in a way. I’m ready to put out new music and people are ready to hear it. So we were like let’s do a show. It’s always a way to test the waters.”
What did you learn from being in the studio with Pharrell?
A lot. One of the things that stuck with me was opening my mind up to merging different styles within the same song. I don’t think I’d ever tried merging styles together. To not be afraid of trying that sort of stuff. To see how fearless he was and the fact that he could even think to certain places. It’s insane!
Samm Henshaw has been working on new music. Of course, getting the opportunity to work with Pharrell Williams for two days was not going to be wasted, so new music is definitely on the horizon. “We got the name, I’m not gonna tell you! We’ve got a month that we plan to drop in. No specific date though.”
Let’s throw it back to University. A lot of upcoming musicians are skipping university to chase their dream. What advice do you have to those people?
I saw this Instagram post the other day and this girl got asked a question and her reply was ‘different strokes for different folks’ – I’m basically gonna use that. Not everyone’s journey is the same. I wouldn’t have met my friends or my manager without going to Uni. It allowed me to develop who I was and become who I am. Leaving home allowed me to be my own person. Even if you’re not going for the course, but you just need a bit of independence, I’d advise someone to go to Uni. You need to figure out how to become your own person. You might not find it in Uni, you might find it afterwards. But…
Different strokes for different folks.
You might not be on the Love island hype, but your song was on Love Island. I think that makes you British royalty.
I know man! I watched it last year as well, but this year I didn’t have time! But a lot of people heard it this time and they were hitting me up online. I knew we were gonna be on it, but I was in L.A, so I couldn’t even be with the hype. I’ve kind of kept up to date with it, it looks like it’s been funny this year. You know how it is.
Tickets for Samm Henshaw’s headline show at Scala are available HERE
Samm Henshaw’s latest single ‘BROKE‘ is out now!