SAM WAY ON 'GIVE ME SOMETHING'
THE DEVON-BORN SINGER-SONGWRITER TALKS ABOUT THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, SOCIAL AND RACIAL UNREST AND 'GIVE ME SOMETHING'
WORDS FILIPE PHITZGERARD - IMAGES COURTESY OF KIRK TRUMAN
Devon-born, model and singer-songwriter Sam Way is someone who has discovered his passion for music from a very young age; and, since his first interactions with the art form, Sam has developed a taste that makes him unique in many ways. When it comes to creating his lyrics and beats, Way's approach is simple: music is pure raw emotion and every lyric is deeply inspired by his very own emotions and experiences. Sam's musical knowledge comes from a place of deep and personal connection with what he hears, sees, feels and imagines which causes him to be inspired to create his very own sounds that speak of everything life has to offer.
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.
As the world was forced to go into this unprecedented set of changes, triggered by crisis, fear and the unknown, Way took it to the pen and paper to create his latest single where the core mantra is 'something's got to give'. While dealing with the current lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Way has teamed up with London-based photographer and long-time contributor, Kirk Truman, to create the arthouse film that follows his new record 'Give Me Something' drawing us in while moving, challenging and inspiring his audience to reflect on what life used to be and what it is now. Way states; 'I wrote 'Give Me Something' to voice a side of me that was battling a mounting sense of defeat in my personal life and I knew something had to change, but as this extraordinary global pandemic began changing life as we knew it, the meaning of the song also transformed for me."
For Sam Way, music serves as an avenue to express real emotions and by doing so connect with those who listen to it. Way is an artist who is willing to develop and change even his own creations in order to remain pure to the emotions he feels and shares. The pandemic has brought out a deeper and more matured perspective, perhaps, triggered by the chaos and absence of peace and security the world experienced. Sam also states that; "As we were yoked together in this strange and challenging experience, 'Give Me Something' began to strike a more powerful human chord." which has been perfectly captured by multifaceted creative Kirk Truman. When speaking about the collaboration, Sam says; "When I saw Kirk's photography documenting the haunting scenes and desolate streets of London, I reached out to see how we could collaborate on the upcoming release. I didn't know what to expect, but we've made something truly powerful.' And from there another beautiful and powerful creation came to happen.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Sam before the release of the new record and video for 'Give Me Something' to find out more about how the pandemic has affected him personally, his creativity and processes, the collaboration with Kirk Truman and more.
Filipe Phitzgerard: First of all, thank you for taking the time to chat with us. It is ways a joy to speak to you. Now, you mentioned in your press release that 'Give Me Something' was birthed out of your own need to address the battle within and then the pandemic happened. How has the current pandemic and social distancing norm shaped this project, and, you personally?
Sam Way: Thanks for having me guys. I found this question quite hard but here goes. It’s 2020 and, on top of our everyday shortcomings and personal challenges, we have the world in a multitude of crises. The focus of the video is definitely the pandemic in London, though all year I feel our hearts have bled. With ‘GIVE ME SOMETHING’ initially written as an introspective scream, the sentiment has become something more like a worldwide chorus.
WATCH 'GIVE ME SOMETHING' BY SAM WAY AND KIRK TRUMAN
F.P: Oh wow. I can totally see that...
S.W: Yes. We’re all going through it this year, through pain and struggle, and we all just need something to give… so in a way the environment the song is being released into is changing the very meaning of the song and so art reflects life, as life reflects art. On a very practical level, collaborating with Kirk on the film remotely also had its challenges, but, the fact that we have worked together a handful of times over the last year definitely made everything flow more easily. We were both unified on the creative vision for the film from the outset of filming.
F.P: From what you had initially created to the final product; has 'Give Me Something' changed much from the first draft?
S.W: So the first draft of the song itself was born from me learning how to produce on Logic X. Unusually for me, the digital instrumentation and the beat I made is what came first, normally it’s the melody or the overall sentiment or message of the song that comes first. So the first draft was far from perfect, but I loved how it was building and some of the elements I’d put together. I took the song to my long time friend, musical genius and composer/producer Edward Abela who put in some of his ideas. The 2nd draft had become too commercial for me, so we stripped things away and built the track over again, redoing pretty much everything. So yes it’s changed, but there is something of its original raw magic that has remained present too.
F.P: Recently, we have been facing not only a pandemic but the issue of social and racial inequality which were triggered by the death of late George Floyd. How do you think these two global issues have changed society and how we do life?
S.W: Racism is a virus too. I saw that on placards at protests and for me it rang it so true. With regards to the coronavirus pandemic, it is clear there is going to be a massively disjointed public opinion on how it has been managed and indeed a big difference fundamentally in how people feel about the changes affecting their everyday lives. What the real hangover will be from all this and how long it will last for, I can not possibly reason but I can’t see it being pretty. Personally, my faith and trust in the UK government waxes and wanes every single day. When its comes to the torchlight shone on social inequality, institutional prejudice, police brutality yet impunity in the United States and the deeply rooted seat of racism after the tragic murder of George Floyd, we must continue to remind ourselves of the mantra chanted over and over across the globe ‘NO JUSTICE - NO PEACE…’ We’re living a profound moment in history and, I really do believe that the momentum built can truly be transformative to our lives and our communities. I would even firmly assume that like me, every single one of your readers feels a personal responsibility to carry the message of 'black lives matter' very close to their heart. The majority now have the right spirit, are better educated and most importantly are willing to put in the work too. I genuinely have really high hopes that the spirit of inclusivity and equality are going to dismantle ignorance where it still appears and that we’ll be able to heal this painful wound together as best we can.
F.P: That is incredible, and, I fully and personally second that feeling. When it comes to the creative industry; how important is it for artists and creatives of all sorts to use their skills to address these social and racial issues?
S.W: It’s so massively important, besides the music you make, or the art you create, to know what you stand for as an artist is important and needed. ‘With great power, comes great responsibility’ - I think that is a quote from Spiderman, but it is so true. Use your voice, your art, especially if your voice is being heard amongst the thousands. Making noise is almost like a duty, to make a stand and raise awareness for the bigger more important things.
F.P: How has the pandemic informed your creative process when executing the visual side of the project?
S.W: No lockdown - no music video. Watch it and, you will see what I mean!
F.P: How did the collaboration with Kirk Truman come about?
S.W: Kirk is a long-time collaborator now and has become a dear friend. When I saw Kirk's photography documenting the haunting scenes and desolate streets of London, I reached out to see how we could collaborate on the upcoming release. I didn't know what to expect, but we've made something truly powerful.
F.P: Can you describe Kirk's work in one word?
F.P: With the pandemic, you - as well as many other creatives - have been adapting by working a lot more with social media channels, such as the IG Lives. How has this change in process affected or/ and informed your relationship with your followers?
S.W: Some of the highlights of my lockdown have been connecting with random fans on my live streams. It definitely felt like I have been able to bring people close to my music, but still, for me, the live stream show or online gig leaves a lot lacking. I am not sure when it will be, but I cant wait to play live again.
F.P: What is next for us all as a society?
S.W: Peanut butter sandwiches.
F.P: [Laughs] That is something I can get behind. Give us a hopeful statement for the near future:
S.W: No matter what obstacle you face, there is a way past it. Be brave enough to ask for help. You really don’t have to do it all on your own.
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