Liverpool is famous for its gifted musicians and at La Vida Liverpool we bring our readers the most talented music artists that Liverpool and the North West has to offer. We celebrate the wonderful diversity of musical talent on our doorstep and the many different styles and genres available from guitarists, vocalists, beatbox artists, rappers and more. In this article, we bring you Samwise.
We invited Samwise to the La Vida Liverpool Live Lounge on a Wednesday evening to perform three tracks of his choice and he demonstrated his range by covering ‘Make It Rain’ by Tom Waits, ‘Gangster’s Paradise’ by Coolio and ‘At Last’ by Etta James. During the session he showed us the power of his deep and soulful voice, his subtle moments of grace and his mastery of the guitar and loop pedal.
Oozing with natural talent and charisma, Samwise is a performer in the truest sense and has regular gigs in Liverpool, Wirral and North Wales as venues simply do not get bored of him. He plays a variety of covers and applies his own unique twist to each one, often utilising the loop pedal in an ingenious manner. A Samwise performance demands a ‘WOW’ and this one for La Vida Liverpool was no exception.
We caught up with Samwise for a little Q&A following the session:
LVL: How did you get into playing music?
Samwise: Aged 10 I watched a documentary about the 60’s with my family. At one point ‘Yesterday’ by the Beatles came on. I immediately fell in love with it. The next day my mum came home from work and sent me to my room. I protested as I’d done nothing wrong and when she called me back the live in Blackpool version of ‘Yesterday’ was playing on our stereo. She’d bought me the Beatles Anthology 2. I obsessed over it for months. I asked for a guitar that year for Christmas and Santa did me right. At Christmas ’95 I awoke to a 1/4 nylon strung Spanish acoustic.
LVL: Who were your main influences?
Samwise: Family gave me the music I fell in love with. Dad loved Led Zeppelin, Rush, Ry Cooder and alike. I loved the rhythms of prog, the power of rock, the riffs of blues rock. Mum loved Dire Straits and Queen, Erasure and Madonna. Here I found colour, fun and melody. But my brother, after becoming the genres manager in HMV Liverpool, gave me hip hop. In that I found syncopation of words. I loved how words went together and I found a new instrument in rapping. My favourite artists now are Tom Waits – the Madonna of cool and current. The shape shifter. The true entertainer. He has my musical heart and I trust him. A truly great lyricist. Nina Simone – a true goliath of music who put her entire soul into music. A wonderfully gifted pianist and improviser. Jamie Lenman/Reuban – this guy is like Waits too — like a supermarket, it’s all here, but further each way. Personal lyrics and so very emotive. In hip hop — Token, Kendrick Lemar, Biggie, Eminem.
LVL: How did you get into playing the loop pedal and the style you play?
Samwise: I’ve always played different instruments and I was looking for a way to challenge myself. I say Reggie Watts stand up and after a night out someone introduced me to Jarle Bernhoft. I thought I might be able to do it, took the plunge and never looked back!
LVL: You play some amazing covers. Which ones are your favourite to play?
Samwise: I love playing ‘God Only Knows’. It’s a masterpiece and the end is perfect to loop. Beautiful song.
LVL: Are there any covers you’d like to do but not got round to?
Samwise: I never stop listening and I’m always after something new. An architect examines every structure he sees. He’s blinded by his anylitical sight. That how I feel with song. I dance to sirens.
LVL: That beard though! When was the last time you were beardless?
Samwise: I used to shave my face and hair once a year, but the last 2 years I just shaved my beard and the sides of my head. I get bored, but mainly I get too warm. Hair is for winter.
LVL: You have a pretty solid gig calendar with regular bookings. What are your plans for 2018?
Samwise: I want to share myself more. I want to write more. I want to gig in only the places I love. Paid more, work less. Be appreciated. You know, the normal stuff! Haha! More than anything I’d like to record a new album of originals. I’ve done more life now. I’d be interested to see what comes out without an audience to think about. I want to create music I can show my beautiful boys. I want to show them survival and how to prosper doing something you love, if I can.
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Videos and images courtesy of Sean MusicTV