Must Play Tracks - These Hands, Night Calls, Church, Broke, How Does It Feel?
Music discovery is a special occurrence because you begin to invest in someone else's story. You suddenly care about a complete stranger. The music relates to your life, or makes you feel something new, or even offers a new perspective to a world in which you never knew existed. We gravitate to music for different reasons, but discovering a new artist releases a specific drip of dopamine that we all share. When I first heard Samm Henshaw, the London based singer a few years ago, I immediately decided to shift my focus to promoting unique artists that I personally believe in.
That dopamine returns the moment you witness someone else gravitating toward that same artist for the first time. It feels like you're welcoming a new member to your tribe.
There's unlimited potential for an opening act to gain new fans on tour. It's one of the most undervalued opportunities in the music industry. A perfectly billed tour is one in which each artist can appeal to the fans of the other artist(s). It's the most organic form of cross-marketing you can experience. During the Building Balance Tour, Allen Stone created incredible opportunities for both Andy Suzuki & The Method and Samm Henshaw.
Prior to his performance, we had the chance to speak with Samm about music, the music industry, and his experiences on tour while exploring The United States for the first time (outside of meetings in L.A. and New York). As Columbus was one of the last shows before postponing the tour due to Coronavirus crowd restrictions, we were fortunate to witness Samm's on-stage presence.
During his set, I was on the receiving end of multiple questions from strangers asking about him. "What's his name? Do you know who this artist is? His voice is crazy, does he have Spotify?" They were all experiencing one of those moments of organic music discovery.
We privately discussed the years following the release of his first two EP's The Sound Experiment & The Sound Experiment 2. One of the reasons behind Samm letting his foot off the gas even though his career was gaining momentum (including tour support for Chance The Rapper and James Bay), was he felt an increased pressure to record and release 'radio ready' singles. He noticed he was drifting further away from his fans and the music that attracted them in the first place.
With his fans in mind, he didn't want to force or fabricate his creativity in order to receive radio support. This approach has afforded Samm the opportunity to introduce himself to the world through the music he created without commercial motives. A much slower process, but one that is certainly more effective for the long-haul.
Discovering an artist while they're on stage forms a memory that leaves an imprint on the music. Henshaw's voice is very distinct; soulful, raw, and gently piercing. Once you hear it, you'll never not recognize it. You can immediately sense it's built for large audiences.
With anticipation of the release of his upcoming album, set for a second half release date in 2020, we are convinced his audiences will only continue to grow. While the Building Balance Tour is currently postponed, we encourage you to dive deep into Samm's catalog. The Sound Experiment II became an anthem at our office as These Hands set a pace for our trajectory.
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