Interview: Sam Bradley

Sam Bradley

Sam. Photo by Vanessa Heins.

I was introduced to Sam’s music last year by a friend who knew how much I loved Marcus Foster. Turns out these guys are friends, friends who happen to share a pretty cool talent when it comes to singing and song writing. It has been a pleasure to get to listen to his music and not just that but to see him play live. Since it’s all been going so well I decided it would be rather cool to grab a bit of a chat with him and see if we couldn’t learn a little more.

So here we are, Hammersmith. “At the Hammersmith Apollo”. Sam corrects, a very cheeky smile on his face a glint in his eye. We’re not, we’re outside a pub around the corner from the famous London venue. Quite clearly Sam, like many people, would love to play there, but he hasn’t, at least not yet…

The last time I spoke to Sam, at another of his gigs, he mentioned he was wanting to get a band together over in the UK, so has Sam found any friends yet? “Hahaha, umm well I have a great band in North America, one that we have recorded together many times, a band that I truly believe in. However my life is here a lot and I would love to play some European, well not European necessarily, but London gigs. I’d like to get together just a group of guys or girls you know, not to maybe be my band, because I do feel like I have my band, although right now I can’t offer them too much work. But just a group of people who are willing to make some music with me.”

Do you pay attention to new music? The charts or anything like that? “I definitely pay attention. I pay attention to everything. I pay attention to main stream, also to independent labels, indie bands, I like rap a lot. I love listening to new blues artists, like Charles Bradley, he’s amazing (definitely no relation). You know like, I’m definitely following music. I don’t listen to enough maybe but I think that’s because…. partly because of frustration in myself. I think sometimes if I listen to too much I get frustrated and it makes me not to want to not do it. Because there’s a lot of shit (yes there is). I think I listen to my friends more than anyone else. I like to put on things that make me feel great. There will be songs that come up, bands that come up albums that come up that will become a part of my life, but it doesn’t happen too often.”

How does music influence you? “It definitely gives me ideas. I think influence is possibly too strong a word because I don’t listen to enough. I glance, if you could glance with your ear that’s what I do.”

Sam and Grace. Photo by EK.

This evening Sam’s (also ridiculously pretty and talented) sister Grace played a few songs with her brother on stage, which was great to see. “Grace has been to every single London gig that I have done (all together now: awwww), pretty much, and has also performed at almost every single one. Not all, but most. (Their voices work spectacularly well together, it must be down to the genetics!)

Do you think you and Grace would work on something together? “It is something that some people have recommended that we do. I mentioned it to Grace once and I think it would be a great side project if we did an EP or an album together. I’d love to do more side projects, I really want to make music my life so actually doing something with Grace is actually, I would guarantee it. I just don’t know when.”

At the start of Euro 2012 Sam played a gig in London at the Notting Hill Arts Club. He began his set by explaining that the show had a theme. The theme was how well England would do this year, with lots of mentions of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and with each new song came more hope and more pride. It was an interesting and enjoyable idea so I wondered if it happened often? “No.” OH! What about the possibility of more in the future? “Absolutley. Actually with that Notting Hill gig when I themed it around the Euros and England’s chances of losing …” (lots of laughter) “When I release my new material there will be different themes but what I was really doing was doing my best at trying to make the songs that are familiar to some of the audience members feel more fresh. It worked”I liked it! Sam agreed “me too!”

Olympic fever has been hard to miss the past month, and what with all the talk of the Euros, I asked if Sam were to be an Olympian what he would be, what sport he would do and his answer was out almost before I’d finished the question. “Football. Always football.”

You see what I didn’t know about Sam was he used to play football, and I don’t just mean down the park, as he explained “I used to play football. I used to play football at a pretty good level. (Ooo err!) Yeah, I used to play for Fulham Youth, I trialled at Millwall, I played for Brentford when I was a kid as well. (Who knew?! Not me that’s for sure, makes note to do research before impromptu interview). This revelation was somewhat a shock to me and I couldn’t help wonder why he didn’t carry on. “I stopped because I wasn’t physically strong enough and maybe not good enough and also err ….my mum believes I was good enough hahah. But also, I wasn’t tough enough I think was the big thing. I remember being sort of , not bullied as in boo hoo, but kind of pushed around and that kind of put me off the game a little bit. But MC Harvey, you know MC Harvey? He was part of the So Solid Crew, he was my football coach” [OMG – a whole new possible musical career for Sam slams me in the face. We even discuss his possible Rap name: “Sammy B. No, no… Sick Sam.” Thank God that one didn’t happen then 😉 ]

Sam. Photo by EK.

Before I let Sam get back to his friends I had to find out what was next for his music career; “I’m just about to acquire a new computer and that computer I think is going to change my life. It’s going to allow me to record things on my own. I own a microphone and I’m going to buy a new good microphone. So I’ll be able to record demos and depending on the quality of those demos I’m looking at an idea of being able to release independently, release being a loose term, just put out there more songs and more stuff that I can just do by myself. As I’m sure you’re aware, recording an album is extremely expensive. It doesn’t have to be, but it usually is. I think the beauty of this computer is going to allow me … I want to work on the visual side with YouTube videos, making them a lot higher quality. Also recording things by myself, I know how to operate Pro Tools at a pretty good level, not great. I’m no producer, nor am I an engineer but I’d like to start put more shit out without having to rely on anyone else. And so some of it will, I hope, be for sale and other things will be just out there.”

Well I for one am glad of the new soon to be acquired computer and of course the opportunity to have sat down and had a good old natter to Sam. He really is a guy who knows who he is, what he wants and is very down to earth. All I can do now really is let you have a listen for yourselves….

Listen to Details by Sam Bradley here:
Listen to Woman You Crazy by Sam Bradley here:

Sam Bradley is also playing live at Ronnie Scotts on Tuesday 4th September


2 Responses to “Interview: Sam Bradley”
  1. imloco2 says:

    Great interview. I’ve had the pleasure of watching Sam play in person and know firsthand just how good he is. Everyone should have that opportunity. Now I have some more insight as to the man. Thanks for that.


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    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

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