An Interview With The The Talented Singer-Songwriter & Producer, SAM NICOLOSI About New Music And More!
Posted On 13 Apr 2017
Sam Nicolosi is a singer, songwriter and producer, born and raised in Evanston, IL, just outside of Chicago, who now resides in Los Angeles. During elementary school, Sam began playing the djembe, shortly thereafter taking up the piano and guitar. During those years, Sam had also developed a love for poetry. He began hearing melodies when he played music, and eventually those poems started becoming songs. Having grown up listening to a mixture of alt-pop and hip-hop, along with music from the 60’s and 70’s, Sam pulled from each of those genres as he began writing and creating. At the young age of 12, Sam’s parents bought him a Pro Tools rig and he began recording his songs; however, too shy to sing in public, he formed a duo, allowing a friend of his to sing the songs he had written.
A year later, Sam started gaining confidence in his voice and released his first solo acoustic EP. About his music, Sam stated, “I am mainly a guitarist (acoustic is my heart and soul). But, along with the guitar, I also play piano, hand drums, and so on. I pick up everything.” As his skill developed, Sam began releasing small projects, each one leaving him hungrier for more and more time in the studio; more and more time expressing himself creatively. Those days increased, leaving little time for much else. Eventually his music was put in the hands of songwriter Julie Frost (Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, Black Eyed Peas, Charlie Puth, Meghan Trainor), who immediately sent it to her publisher, Jon Platt. After meeting Jon in Chicago to talk about music, Sam signed a deal with Warner Chappell Music, where he began writing and producing daily, truly honing his skills.
It was during this time that his summer project, Origins, was created. The EP is a collection of songs, mainly written and produced by Sam alone, which led with the single “Realign,” an up-tempo song about returning to your roots when you feel lost. The song was featured as Clash Magazine’s “Track of the Day,” and featured on HillyDilly, Comic Pop Library, pressplayok, and I Heart Moosiq. “Realign” was followed by “Caught Up,” for which Sam received his first college radio spin on KZUU 90.7fm, Washington State University, The track was also featured on Spotify’s #NewMusicFriday playlist, and praised by Indie Shuffle, Eargazm, Cool Hunting, and Noon Pacific. And “Fiction,” a song about creating a false sense of reality around a relationship to uphold that relationship, and highlighted by Wolf In A Suit, Sound Fiction, Soundsphere Magazine, Indie Bands Blog, and CheatBook. Origins was recently released on March 31st.
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Learn more about Sam Nicolosi in the following All Access interview:
How is 2017 treating you so far? Did you approach the start of this year any differently then you did last year?
2017 has been pretty strange so far. I feel like a lot of us have been pretty consumed by the American political circus… I’m just finally getting over that. There’s a point where you have to just turn off CNN’s mobile notifications. It’s all too crazy. But yeah, I definitely started this year with the mindset of “push yourself further,” and I feel myself continuing to evolve into the artist I want to be.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your first musical memory?
When I was a baby, I wanted to be a paleontologist. I literally walked around telling people that when I was 3. But when I was about 11 years old something started to shift in me. Music became this engulfing obsession. My first musical memory would be my mom playing her favorite music in the car when I was little – a lot of it was 70’s stuff, so I’ve always had a soft spot for that era.
I’ve read that you began recording at the very young age at 12! What were those songs about?
Honestly, I wrote some of my favorite stuff back then! I wrote about humanity, love, perspective — a lot of the same things I write about now. When I’m making my own records, the writing process is very much the same as when I was 12. I had this one song called “Someday,” about losing somebody you love and needing someone to save you from your own darkness. There was some heavy stuff and then some pretty fun / more inspiring stuff.
I’m curious to know if you think being from the Chicago area has influenced your sound or who you are a from musician? When did you finally move to Los Angeles? What was it like making that move?
Technically I’m from Evanston, but the whole Chicagoland area is a breeding ground for insane talent. So many people I grew up around are just killing it now — Kweku Collins, Louis The Child, Chance... That city gave me a totally different perspective than if I grew up here in LA. I moved out here when I turned 18 and signed my publishing to Warner/Chappell. It was very dreamlike, and I’m not sure I processed it at the time. Time flies here because there aren’t really seasons, just one long, weird summer.
Let’s talk about your latest single, “Our Blood.” What was the inspiration for it? How does it compare to the rest of your “Origins” EP? And how do you think it compares to anything else you’ve put out in the past?
I was dealing with family shit at the time – learning how to let go of toxic relationships. Sometimes that’s really hard if you’ve known someone your whole life. But ultimately you have to do whatever is most conducive to your own sanity. It’s definitely the most personal Origins track, but I think that we all deal with family issues on some level so it’s also the most relatable.
What other songs on the EP are you excited for people to hear?
I’m excited for everyone to hear “Realign.” It’s already out as a single, but I’m really proud of that one. I want to make music that feels like poetry, but still makes people move. I think we nailed that with “Realign.”
Do you have plans to release a full-length album of new songs later this year?
I would love to, and I have enough material at the moment, but I’m not sure if I want to do a full-length yet or continue releasing EPs and singles. Either way, new music is coming sooner than you’d think.
What about any plans for a tour? Where can people see your perform live next?
All in the works… I used to only play acoustic shows, so I’m getting together a more produced-up set right now. There’s lots of little electronics on Origins that need to be run through tracks and it takes a while to sort all of that. But I’ll be posting about shows and dates on my social media ASAP.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
Frank Ocean, Fleet Foxes, Kanye West, Bon Iver, Lana Del Rey, The Lumineers, Father John Misty. I mostly listen to left-of-center pop stuff, folk, and hip-hop.
Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
Frank Ocean. I think he is at the top of the lyrical game and there’s really no one making music like him. Also Bon Iver. I think we share a love for the same aesthetics and soundscapes. His melodies are always colorful and full of purposeful imagery.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? What do you hope is the message of your songs?
I’ve always felt like an observer on this planet. It blows my mind the things people are willing to do out of fear and disconnection from their own presence of being. Details and nuances are very important to me, and I hope people sense that in my lyrics. But ultimately, I want people to know that we truly create the world we live in – we literally shape it with our own intention. We can choose to thrive in an Earthly-heaven or sink into our own personal hell. I want to offer the perspective of the observer so we can change the way we move through this bizarre world. I hope people take a moment to question their own consciousness.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself and your music?
We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams.