WORDS HUGO FERNANDES - IMAGES FILIPE PHITZGERARD - FASHION SOPHIE EMMETT
Devon-born, model and singer-songwriter Sam Way [at Models1] is someone who has discovered his passion for music from a very young age; and, since his first interactions with it, Sam has developed a taste that makes him unique in many "Ways" - no pun intended [wink]. When it comes to creating his own lyrics and beats, Way's approach is simple: music is pure raw emotion. His musical knowledge comes from a place of deep and personal connection with what he hears, sees, feels and imagines. These cause him to be inspired to create his very own sounds that speak of love, heartbreak, and everything life has to offer in between them.
Sam is the kind of multifaceted creative that makes you enjoy his musical creations while being intrigued by his perspective on life, love, and liberty. He is a care-free yet focused artist who just wants to allow his music to "take him places" and to "take somebody else there too." With a tender yet powerful voice Sam Way has a heart filled with emotions to share with anyone who wants to listen.
From his modelling career, Sam can be considered an icon and forefather of what male modelling has become. He has walked the walk and seen the world of fashion from inside-out with a CV that includes campaigns, runways, and magazine covers for some of the heavy-weight brands in the industry. Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Paco Rabanne, Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger are just some of the names you will find in Way's resume. We had the immense pleasure of meeting with Sam for a chat about life, love, music, and much more.
Hugo Fernandes: Hi Sam, thank you so much for speaking to us. How are you doing today? Sam Way: Thank you! I am doing pretty well, thank you.
H.F: Okay so let’s start from the beginning. Where are you from? S.W: I'm from a small town in Devon, called Crediton. Not much happens there, we have many pubs, and if you drive for 5 minutes you are out in the great British countryside.
H.F: How was it growing up there S.W: I grew up largely in the care of my mum. Enjoyed school, was a bit of a geek but loved rugby and sport too.
H.F: Can you share anything peculiar about your childhood or when you were a teen? S.W: I had a strange fascination with monsters and dragons as a kid, and then lizards and creepy crawlies as a teen. I even had a pet tarantula called 'Matilda'.
H.F: That sounds interesting. And growing up, what would you say were your favourite things to do? S.W: I always loved music and mum remembers me spending hours just playing the keys on our old upright piano as a kid. I mean, I was too young to even make any sort of sound that could be considered 'pleasant' or 'in key' but I would happily sit there, literally being discordant for as long as I was left alone. As a teen, I would sit by the radio every evening after school and do my homework, or draw.
Sam wears shirt TROUNE DE TRANSMISSION; jacket SOULLAND; trousers DICKIES
H.F: That means that you were already into music back then, right? S.W: Music was in me back then in a big way, for sure, but a few important catalysts like meeting certain people played a part in shaping how I pursue the craft of it as I do now.
H.F: Which artists or bands would you say best describe your teenage years? S.W: Headphones in looking out the windows at school to Eminem - The Marshall Matters LP - Pumping Dr. Dre 2001 from my mum's car and raving to SHYFX in the local University (Exeter) bar.
H.F: That's a pretty great mash-up. What’s the dynamics in your family? Any siblings? S.W: Mum's a hero. Dad is a sweetheart to the core who sometimes has no real understanding of how his actions affect the others around him, and I have a sister. I found out about her existence when I was 16 years old.
H.F: Oh wow. How was that? S.W: She is three years older than me and she is the offspring from my dad's prior marriage, and bizarrely enough we two were going to the same school. Over the years I've known her she has become my true soul sister. I'm lucky to have found her.
H.F: That's sweet. How about movies? ANy favourites? S.W: Shiiiiiittttttt. Hard One. I was totally blown away by Darren Aronofsky's 'Reqium for a Dream', some of those scenes will always stay with me and largely my memory is awful. I think Gladiator is one of those epics too, one of those films you can really re-watch and re-watch. But I really like anime as well, it's pretty much all I watch and there is this one anime film called 'Princess Mononoke'; trust me...you need to see this film.
LEFT: Sam wears shirt TROUNE DE TRANSMISSION; jacket SOULLAND; trousers DICKIES
RIGHT: Sam wears shirt PREVU; jacket WOOD WOOD
H.F: Anime isn't really my thing, but I will definitely give it a go. When it comes to your music, now; what is the creative process for you like? Where do you find inspiration? S.W: Inspiration is everywhere. It just depends on how much attention you look with. The creative process sometimes feels mysterious like you're channeling something bigger than you, and, sometimes, it just feels like plain old hard work.
H.F: Is there a secret to creating good music? S.W: I don't know if maybe the most honest answer is that I'm still working that out too. I feel like music is like maths in some way. There are rules you need to apply and even though I hated maths as a kid, I, thankfully, love music so I am more than happy to spend hours and hours searching for that special something, that 'goodness'.
H.F: If you could describe your music style in three words; what would they be? S.W: That's. Too. Hard.
H.F: You are both a model and a singer-songwriter; do these two worlds collide in any way? S.W: They meet somewhere in the middle some of the time, though they can often feel very separate too. I think from the "awareness" side they can be mutually useful and feeding off one other while still informing each other.
H.F: What do you want to achieve through your music? S.W: This may sound like a cop out, but it's what a feel. I try not to have too many expectations of what music is now or what it will be. I'm someone who pursues his passions and works hard because I love the process of it. The creation is enough for me, the value inherent in the act. But, of course, I have goals too, places I would love music to take me, or for my work to take somebody else there too. A big part of music for me is the emotional connection with the song, be that mine or someone else's reaction to it. If I know it's touching people, or it felt important to write, be that performing it live or hearing a produced version, then I feel that's one of the greatest achievements in it for me.
H.F: What are you listening to at the moment? S.W: I used to be a very active consumer of music, buying CD's, really following artists and buying into albums. But now I consume my music quite passively. Spotify seems to have a knack of recommending stuff I like, so often I just jam out to whatever is on my 'Discover Weekly' and if I really like it I add it to one of my own curated playlists. So right now on the list, is wonky subdued electronica tune 'Poly' by Daphni, some weird thumb piano jazz composition called 'First Born' by James Brandon Lewis and the sounds of a melancholic urbanized siren-ess called Celeste and the tune is Milk and Honey...Enjoy...!
H.F: Do you have any artists who inspire you as a singer-songwriter? S.W: I really rate Nick Mulvey, and, of course, for his wordplay, Eminem, who I grew up listening too.
H.F: In a few words; what is music to you? S.W: Music is life. It's a dance. It's a taking 5 steps forward and 4 steps back. It's finding what fits. It's love. Raw emotion. Pure. An essential force.
H.F: What do you do in your free time? S.W: On my downtime, I've been reading a lot recently, and some powerful books. I just finished 'The Reality of Being' which is essentially the collected vision of a spiritual guru written by his principal student and it's been blowing my mind! And I am currently in the middle of a book called 'King, Warrior, Magician, Lover' which is a psychology book about exploring the archetypes of the masculine energy. Deep important stuff that is really resonating with me right now. Check them out.
H.F: I will definitely check them out. Where and when do you find yourself most creative? S.W: I mean largely it's at home. But often it's just when I create the space to be creative in. If you get what I mean.
Sam wears t-shirt WOOD WOOD
H.F: Yes. Totally. In your opinion, where is the best place in the world you’ve been to? S.W: Indonesia. I went on my own for 5 weeks and that country is just incredible. For the first time in my life, I felt a real spiritual presence start to grow in me when I was there. I love it so much I want to go back like yesterday.
H.F: What is your relationship with social media? Any pros and cons? S.W: I think honestly, social media, has become like a sick addictive game that is really, quietly, eroding our lives away. Still, it has its uses, and it's important right now to be able to get your message out and reach your audience. Personally, I think I need to cultivate a healthier relationship to it; one that's more "real" in the sense that the content I create and publish is a genuine expression of what I am creating and am all about. One that shows, within the scope of the format, my values, my mind, and my passions as much as it does images from shoots, and music work.
H.F: Can you tell us something about you most people don’t know yet? S.W: I was once so nervous on a radio show that I totally froze, unable to say a single word for what felt like the longest minutes of my life!
Sam wears top SCOTCH & SODA; trousers WEEKDAY; jacket PUMA X HAN KJOBENHAVN; sunglasses ACE+TATE
Interview and words: Hugo Fernandes
Photography: Filipe Phitzgerard
Fashion: Sophie Emmett
Grooming: Charlotte Rosie Wilde
Special thanks to Models1
Watch & listen to Sam Way's "Hard Feelings" single