We had a chat with Roc Nation’s songwriter extraordinaire, Sam Dew, the electronic-soul man behind hit singles “Love Hate Thing” and ladies favourite “Lotus Flower Bomb”. We find out about his first time performing solo in the UK, collaborative work with Tinie Tempah and what keeps soul music, soulful…
CUK: So you performed at Victoria (The Venue) how did that go?
SD: Yeah man it was fun, it was just dope. I opened for Wet so it was their crowd really but they really warmed to me. And we’re opening for Miguel at XOYO tonight too so that should be great.
CUK: When I heard your EP, Dam Sue, I thought it’s something that London are going to take to without doubt. When did you get the confidence to go from songwriter to publishing your own EP.
SD: I was in a band for three/four years called Cloudeater, based just out of Atlanta, so performance-wise I was already comfortable and it was just a question of me being a solo artist. Then when I hooked up with Roc Nation I started to see that it was possible, ya know like to be the ‘weird-solo artist’ that I think I am.
CUK: With the authenticity and originality of your sound did you ever question if your audience would embrace you?
SD: Well, I’m from the indie world and it’s really easy to look at the indie world as just “the devil” (laughs) But everyone who I work with now from my management and people around me helped dispel the black and white reality that I had made for big businesses versus indie music. Then it just turned into a feasible process to be oneself and that’s all we’re doing.
CUK: And being that you do things your own way I’m guessing that Roc Nation must fit like a glove because they cater to so many different artists?
SD: They do and they really have a good ear that’s the thing, and I value their opinion.
CUK: So they kind of back up your own ideas and visions then?
SD: They back up, and give me alternative ideas also, like “Lie” for example almost didn’t make the EP but that was a Roc Nation push and is now one of the most popular songs from the EP.
CUK: Was there a song in place of Lie?
SD: No it was just going to be 5 songs.
CUK: Well good thing that you kept Lie on there? (laughs)
SD: Exactly. (laughs) Yeah it just felt right and if everybody was into it, it didn’t make sense to leave it out. But I love that song, it was just one take, 2 sessions of that song.
CUK: Your singles and the songs that you’ve co-wrote are all very different is that the angle?
SD: Well it’s all me, you’ll never know what I’m going to do. I have a lot of sides.
CUK: Do you have one side that you identify with in particular, I’d say it’d be the soul aspect?
SD: Everything is just soul, I’m just trying to find ways to make soul weird, or distorted, or alternative, or whatever word you want to use. But it’s always soul.
CUK: Are there any mainstream artists that you think are doing soul music proud at the moment?
SD: I really like James Blake, I think he may call it electronic but it’s soul as hell for me. But he’s a good example of where I think soul music may be heading.
CUK: Are you familiar with any UK artists who are making good ‘urban’ music?
SD: Throw out some names.
CUK: Dizzee Rascal, Tinie Tempah…
SD: Yeah I know Dizzee Rascal and I met Tinie, we actually went into the studio together with B.O.B, we laid out a couple of ideas like a year ago. Tinie’s cool and his whole crew, they’re like the sh*t!
CUK: Well thank you for talking to us Sam and we hope your music grows from strength to strength.
SD: Thank you for having us. Right on.