The last twelve months have seen the north east’s Sam Dickinson embark on tours, album releases and gather celebrity fans like real ale fans gather beer mats. Most recently played on Graham Norton’s Radio 2 show with Graham declaring himself to be a major fan and tell his listeners that Sam just “keeps getting better” the future is surely bright for this laid back exponent of the art of soul. With upcoming gigs in both the legendary Hoochie Coochie Club in Newcastle and St Pancras Old Church in London, The Gig Review managed to grab a few words in his hectic schedule.
1. For those who haven’t heard of you tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I’m a Geordie Soul singer which isn’t something you hear about every day! It’s very much indie / rock focused up here so I’m doing something a little different. I’m 26 and I am completely unsigned, I do everything.
2. You’ve just released the deluxe edition of your album, how did that come about?
I released my debut album last year and I learnt a lot of lessons in terms of do’s and don’ts. This time around it’s about correcting all of that and putting into action everything I learnt. I was going to release a remix EP first but then I thought it was be an absolute injustice if ‘When You Left Me’ wasn’t released. I had all the acoustic versions and thought why not go for a huge deluxe edition of the album and that’s exactly what I’ve done, 37 tracks with something for everybody.
3. You seem to like playing individual venues like The Mining Institute and an upcoming gig at St Pancras Old Church – are these venues better than the standard ones?
They’re different and offer a different atmosphere to standard venues which is something I like. That’s not to say that they don’t offer their own problems but these are usual overcome quite easily. It’s a nice talking point to say I’m playing in the world’s oldest mining library or a converted church.
4. You’ve toured both with a full backing band and without – which do you prefer?
I love both for different reasons. I love playing with the band because it’s such fun, whilst playing acoustically is more reflective and allows me to talk more.
5. You’re very lucky in that you have celebrity fans such as Graham Norton and Gabrielle – who are your icons and why?
All the soul music icons from the 90’s! Gabrielle, M People, Beverley Knight etc. This style of music is coming back into fashion and has been long overdue in my opinion. Their music offered a message, something inspirational which I connected to. I hope that comes across in my music.
6. As a self promoting artist how difficult is it to get yourself known?
It takes a lot more time and effort in comparison to if you’re signed because the huge money just isn’t there. It’s a slow process but it also allows you to get to know your fans and see their connection to the music which is amazing!
7. Have you started work on the next album yet and is there any gossip you can tell us about it?
I certainly have! It’s in the writing stage, I premiered a new song on my last tour called ‘Hold On High’ which got a standing ovation every night, that was amazing! I’ve also been submitted tracks by some remixers who want to work with me now they know the sound I’m going for with this next album and the people who wrote Conchita Wurst’s ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’ have submitted some tracks for me to consider. I’ll still be writing most of the album so nothing to worry about there! We’re going to go for a Lisa Stansfield 90’s style sound, I think! I could change my mind.
8. What’s your view on the plethora of talent shows on television? Help or hindrance to upcoming talent?
Hindrance. I turn them down every year, there’s nothing original musically and doesn’t offer artists the chance to grow and build a career, there’s no longevity.
9. If you could duet with anyone living or dead who would it be?
10. One last “fun” question; you win £1 million – what do you do?
I was talking about this the other week! Is it boring to say I’d build a house with the aim of being self efficient so bills were minimum!?! I’d most likely invest in a business so that £1,000,000 could grow!