It contains only 12 lines of lyrics, which are stretched about across the songs three and a half minute run time. As a caregiver, you can become a little bit numb because you have to be very functional,” he said.
sampha happens – Biography & History
Known for co-writing and singing on SBTRKT’s critically acclaimed debut album, ‘Dual’ saw Sampha establish himself as an artist and producer in his own right. Sampha stopped by the NPR offices to perform 3 tracks from Process. The result is a Tiny Desk Concert as intimate as it gets (and that’s saying something). It’s just him, a piano and these heart-wrenching songs that we reckon double as coping mechanisms.
SBTRKT brought Drake out as a surprise guest at a 2011 concert in Toronto, which is where Drake and Sampha first met. Two years later, the two would premiere Drake’s sixth single from Nothing Was the Same, “Too Much,” featuring Sampha, on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. The September 2013 performance was Sampha’s first major appearance on U.S. television. After that, we quickly came to know Sampha as a collaborator. He would spend the next few years shaking that label, carving out time to commence working on Process, even as he continued to work with other, larger artists across a variety of musical styles.
But even by Sampha’s description, 2017 has been special in its own right. His first full-length album dropped at the beginning of the year, and its title, Process, summarizes both the LP’s years-long construction as well as its rollout over a series of interviews and festival appearances-the trappings of newfound fame that might not come easily to the introspective-bordering-on-reticent Sampha. The nerves might abate incrementally with each new performance, but as he’ll admit, there’s still something daunting about staking his claim in the ever-crowding alternative R&B genre.
In February, after years of being mostly a featured singer, Sampha (who opens for the xx on Saturday at Merriweather Post Pavilion) took his most significant step forward as a solo artist when he released his debut album, “Process.” The record has been well received, and as Rolling Stone remarked in its four-star review, proves Sampha is more than a “hook man to pop’s most advanced megastars.” He is their peer.
Most music fan’s first introduction to Sampha, whether they knew it or not, was on Drake’s 2013 song Too Much.” The airy vocal sample that comprises the hook of the song is pulled directly from a Sampha song of the same name, also released in 2013. Sampha was later featured on Kanye West’s 2016 song Saint PabloÛ, a late addition to The Life of Pablo, exposing him to an even larger audience in advance of the release of his debut album Process in the February 2017. Process was released to widespread critical acclaim, winning the 2017 Mercury Prize for best album by a British artist.
Michelle Zauner’s sophomore album is Twin Peaks levels of dreamy and magnetic. Laced with extraterrestrial atmospheric intros and outros, her voice shines over melancholic arrangements. The songs’ spacious, expansive sounds envelop the listener in warmth. (Shout out to Syd’s Fin and Anna of the North’s Lovers).
Following the release of ‘Dual’ Sampha came fourth in the BBC ‘Sound Of 2014’ list. Sampha’s highly anticipated debut album, Process, will be released on February 3rd on Young Turks. Singles ‘Blood On Me’, ‘Timmy’s Prayer’ and ‘(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano’ are available now. ‘(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano’ was named Best New Track by Pitchfork.
The original motion picture soundtrack for Beautiful Boy was released today by Warner Bros. Records. The soundtrack includes Treasure,” the latest music from acclaimed U.K. artist Sampha , which will play over the end credits.
The standout comes in ‘(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano’ – with just his voice and that instrument, Sisay weaves the powerful tale of the piano he first learnt on, in his mother’s home and – while a little schmaltzy – it is quite beautiful. Without the intrusive glimmers of electronica, this track gains a real sense of warmth and intimacy that feels lacking elsewhere. When he says You would show me I had something some people call a soul”, he blurs the line between talking about the instrument and talking about his mother, and it’s a touching conceit.
Before he died, Sampha’s father purchased a piano from a neighbor to serve as a productive distraction and in turn provided Sampha the first steps to his musical career when he was three years old. This is the piano that Sampha sings about in Like the Piano,” written in the final year of his mother’s life, who also died of cancer in 2014.
Sampha announced a tour of the United States in conjunction with the release of Process. Unfortunately for those wanting to see him locally, he performed at the D.C. venue, The 9:30 Club, last night. Fans that are still interested in seeing the artist will have to wait a few months before his follow-up performance on May 6 at the Merriweather Post Pavillion. At the Merriweather show he will open for the British band The xx.
With lustrous production and a harrowing emotional background, it’s a shame how easily this can be filed away under middle of the road” – a record that doesn’t bring something particularly new to the table. For his remarkable voice, Sampha’s debut album shows him far less at ease with his own story than with that of others.
For those not familiar with Sampha, co-writer Kanye West on song Timmy’s Prayer,” should be enough to pique one’s interest. Here he begs for forgiveness; hurting after a painful breakup. This song will definitely send you bobbing your head back and forth.
The truth then, is disappointing – not because this album is terrible, but because it’s underwhelming. This is not to say it doesn’t have beautiful moments, it is not to detract from Sisay’s exquisite voice; but overall this feels like one in a long line of emotive indietronica” records that slots into one of those chill and alt R&B” Spotify playlists. It’s fine, but it’s kind of forgettable.
However, Process is gorgeous, superbly building on the R&B genre with its own nuanced themes and musical production to earn a place among the top albums of the year. Before her death, Sampha had been touring studios all over the world to record as a guest vocalist for iconic artists like Kanye West and Solange.
While “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano” is a song for Sampha’s mother, the other great highlight of Process, “Incomplete Kisses,” is a song for his father, or rather for the ideas his father has come to represent. On “Can’t Get Close,” from Dual, Sampha laments the unbridgeable distance between them in a melody that collapses in on itself, struggling for space. “Incomplete Kisses” is, by contrast, tightly drawn, with a huge, sweeping chorus, sticky little yelps of melody, and crisp, bouncy instrumentation, exhorting the listener not to hide from their heart and mind.
And what a singing voice he has. Forceful yet gentle, Sampha’s voice is a dazzling instrument that demands your attention, and when he reaches into his upper register, a breathy falsetto, it pulls you even closer into what he’s singing. Sometimes he’ll incorporate vocal tics and gasps into the production, as he does on Blood on Me” (one of the album’s standout tracks) and Under.” On previous outings, Sampha’s voice could come across as kind of distant, but here, it’s at the forefront of the songs, where it should be.
The album’s title is meant to be literal, as it sees him tenderly navigating love, anxiety, loneliness and the loss of his mother. It came at a time when I realized that I recover best in solitude as a person,” he confessed.
Earlier this year, XL artist Sampha released Process, a mesmerizing debut solo album that arrived five long years after the Londoner first burst to fame (not to mention onto the radars of the likes of Drake and Kanye West). Ahead of his performance at London’s Lovebox Festival this weekend, the Solange collaborator tells Al Horner why he’s glad he slow-burned to success – and whether his next chapter will be another half-decade wait.
In 2009, Sampha’s mother was diagnosed with cancer in her stomach lining, and, just as his music career was beginning to show some potential, he was compelled to be with her. She eventually went into remission for a few years, during which time Sampha was able to travel the world and make connections and share his excitement with her that Drake wanted to use his beats. But the cancer returned around the end of 2014, at which point Sampha returned to his childhood home to care for her. He plays down the pain as less than what some people have to deal with, but it seems titanic nonetheless to have lost both your parents to separate cancers by the age of 27, and the grief of that naturally colors his music, too.