The rise of Samuel Jack; one that isn't an overnight story but one that shows anything could happen.
Spending his youth travelling the world to delving into writing spoken word poetry and teaching himself piano, Jack led himself to the local studio and released his first taste of music in 2016. As he releases a series of singles and projects across time, the old soul, blues-influenced artist continues to bring surprises to the world of music.
Now boasting over 10 million worldwide streams to date, featuring in Love Island and being used in videos across names such as Sergio Ramos, 'Feels Like Summer' might be his breakthrough into the challenging sphere of the music industry.
With the Empty Pockets, Crowded Heart EP trilogy to his name and a headline show at London's Omera just around the corner, we caught up with Samuel Jack about his hit work, the wonders of TikTok and onwards and upwards to the future.
This year has been quite the year for you as an artist, though your 2019 hit 'Feels Like Summer' has taken centre stage as you released the official video a few weeks ago following it going viral on Insta reels. How would you describe the past few weeks, and what did you want to achieve from the music video?
The last few weeks have been nothing short of mind-blowing. The success of 'Feels Like Summer' has been a game-changer for me, in that quite simply, my audience has grown exponentially. Now my existing fans, the ‘Jack Pack’ as I refer to them, have a load of new pals. In terms of the video, we wanted to capture the joy and warmth that summer brings, both physically and metaphorically. Some of my fondest memories are from summertime, and I’m stoked with how it turned out.
Looking back at the track, what inspired you to pursue 'Feels Like Summer'?
It was one of those songs that came out easy. I wrote it pretty quickly – it doesn’t always happen like that. After reminiscing with a friend about a summer we once had I was inspired to write about it from a nostalgic perspective. The ‘feeling’ that summer can bring at any place or time. That’s one beauty of music – transcending the listener to their own place and time.
Talking about Reels and TikTok, how important are those platforms for you to share your artistry?
Evermore so. For all its sins, I wouldn’t be having this interview without the internet. No matter which way you look at it, those platforms now make up a critical part of music discovery and consumption. I read recently that TikTok is the number one discovery place for new music. You’ve got to be it to win it.
In addition, to the hit track, you have also followed suit with the Empty Pockets, Crowded Heart EP trilogy. Could you talk us through the concept from 2020 to now and, how would you describe the creative process?
I was in Los Angeles in January 2020 to finalise writing and recording what was set to be my debut album. The amazing trip resulted in some very special songs, one of which ‘Gonna Be Alright’, I released just four weeks after writing it. Just loved the tone it's set for what was to come. My launch party for the album was set to be March 23rd in London, which coincidentally turned out to be the day the UK went into national lockdown due to Covid 19.
With very short, notice we switched gear at rapid speed. Got straight in the studio with my band to shoot some live performance videos, and then not knowing how long lockdown or indeed live events would be out of action for, we decided to split the ‘album’ into three volumes. This way, I could keep the conversation flowing with a continual stream of singles & EP’s releases until such time as I could get back on stage.
Whilst you have picked up over ten million worldwide streams and signing a new deal with Arista/Columbia Records, how have you coped with the restrictions of the pandemic?
It’s had its ups and downs. It’s been tough not being able to play live. On the flip side, in some ways, the pandemic helped to refocus things for me. I wrote a ton of new material that’s yet unreleased and had a chance to take stock of things. I hope my music can put a little smile back on some faces – lord knows this has been tough for so many.
Emerging onto the scene back in 2016 after travelling around the world in your late teens, what influenced you to pursue music, and who was that one artist you always looked up to?
My journey into music was somewhat organic, in that I went from writing spoken word poetry to teaching myself piano, then adding words to music – then it was indie bands and then eventually I booked a local studio to record my own songs – it was here I met my now long-standing creative partners. Musical influences, my heart lays, in old soul, blues and hip hop.
In other news, you're set to headline London Omeara this September. How excited are you to perform live again, and what can fans expect?
Without exaggeration, I’m already having sleepless nights about it – in a good way! Expect a foot-stomping, body rocking, soul-moving night of anthems, ballads, and all that’s in-between.
Finally, what is the plan for the end of 2021, and what do you hope to achieve within 2022?
I’m busy writing at the moment. As far as live shows go in 2021, who knows right now. I’m more hopeful into ‘22 to be out touring in Europe and all being well, the US. I’m fuelled with music, so there’s definitely more releases on the way and hopefully some fun collaborations too. Onward and upward.