Samm Henshaw came of age in the church. The son of a pastor, he grew up around music, experiencing first hand the dramatic emotional effects a simple song can have on a person’s faith. But, as he readily admits, finding his own faith took him along a different journey.
“I was a little bit of a troublemaker,” he admits to Clash. “For me, when I was younger, it was just a journey for me. It was a lesson, and now my faith is a choice, loads of things have become a choice. If I choose now to do something bad, then that's the decision I make. When I was younger, being a bit mischievous, I think it was a journey, a lesson. Growing up. Still learning now!”
Putting his feelings into music, Samm Henshaw quickly learned to use his voice to reach other people. “I think music has always had meaning to me,” he continues. “It's a powerful tool. You can see what it does – it can bring people together, it can bring back emotions, it can bring back memories. It's always been an extremely important and powerful thing to me. It means a lot more than, I guess, a lot of other people realise.”
Working on his own, the aspiring singer had never thought to take his music seriously until friends stumbled across his talent at university. “It's funny,” Samm recalls. “I would always write little songs here and there for church, and I never really realised that it was an actual gift or a skill until I got to university and people started pointing it out so I started to take it a bit more seriously.”
He’s certainly taking it seriously now. Live, Samm Henshaw’s performances have a joyous, redemptive feeling, with his songwriting – layering pop, classic R&B, gospel and reggae, even – serving to bring people together, to gently break down barriers. Debut EP ‘The Sound Experiment’ is a bold introduction, mature yet energetic, youthful yet innately wise it tackles life’s big subjects in a fresh, entirely enlightening fashion.
“I remember I was in university,” he says, “and I was playing most of these tracks to my mates, and they would ask me what kind of artist I wanted to be and I had no idea. So I think the thing with ‘The Sound Experiment’ was that we would make the songs as an excuse to make the type of music we wanted and not have to confine ourselves to a certain genre or certain style and not feel limited. I think we tried to limit ourselves to the music.”
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Samm Henshaw's new EP 'The Sound Experiment' is out on August 7th – catch the singer at London venue the Lexington on July 22nd.