POP! Goes The Interview: Sam York

Put a York in it.

Put a York in it. (Your playlist, that is.)

He’s got no label, no radio airplay and not a single song on iTunes in any territory, but he’s reining in the powers of social media to get him on his way. Not only does British singer-songwriter Sam York have a growing base on Facebook and SoundCloud, but he also has a lot of heart. You can feel it in his voice and in his lyrics. Maybe that’s why I got interested in York’s music, particularly a song called “The Script”, and the next stage directions are calling for his breakthrough in 2014.

A few of the singer’s compositions have been up for a few months, but in the past few weeks, York’s fan page has been appearing on my recommended pages list via my news feed. Normally, I would’ve just passed over a post like that; you never really know what you’re getting with those sorts of things. However, there was something promising about his look and that he was a singer-songwriter, and so, off I was to check out his material. Needless to say, I’m a fan of his already. I recently playlisted “The Script” in the In The Mix portion of my weekly top 40. He was gracious enough to give me some of his time to ask a few questions about his roots in music, his new project and his opinion on Irish trio The Script. After all, he does know a few things about scripts. Check it out below:

PGTC: Tell me about growing up musically. Did you come from a musical family? When did you go into music and what acts influenced you?
York: My parents are big music fans, so it was playing constantly: Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Eurythmics, The Police and Miles Davis had a huge impact on me. I think I knew by the age of 6 that I wanted to be a musician. Music is a strange, mysterious disease; if you catch it, it becomes fatally consuming. Everything else fades into the background. I obsessed over Stevie Wonder, Keith Jarrett, Donny Hathaway, D’Angelo, as well as Debussy and Messiaen. I spent the next 10 years playing guitar and piano constantly. I studied music at university and was lucky enough to be taught by some seminal British jazz musicians: Mike Walker and Jason Rebello. Their artistry and accomplishment was inspiring and, although I no longer play much jazz, their examples have been instrumental in informing my work. Now, I’m hugely influenced by the musicians I come across in daily life. There are so many unknown geniuses who are creating the most beautiful music behind the scenes in the music industry.

PGTC: Why was now the right time for this new project?
York: I’ve been writing songs for about 10 years, and for about 9 1/2 of those years every song I have written has been uniformly terrible. Something happened recently and the pieces fell into place. I found I could write the kind of songs that I’ve tried to for years and that I’m happy to play to others. I hate the concept of talent; I really think it’s a pernicious notion. It encourages people to give up on their passion, because they believe that they don’t have a talent for it. I don’t think I have any talent for writing or singing, I’m just passionate about them both. Bill Evans used to say he “wasn’t a natural”, and yet, he became one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century.

PGTC: “The Script” and “Ballerina” deal with a relationship with a female and a reunion with her, though there’s some closure given what you detail preceding the latter. Why did you feel it was important to write about it? Was it cathartic? Do you think there will be any sort of follow-up?
York: Yeah, it was cathartic, but it was also about truth telling. I think that’s an amazing thing with a song: you can say things that are too difficult to say in conversation. With “Ballerina”, for example, I never found a way to tell this girl how I saw her while we were together. Our daily lives were happy and functional, but I could feel a deep unacknowledged turmoil. A song is a unique space in which you can articulate the undercurrents in a situation. I don’t know if there will be a follow-up, but that’s the thing I love about this current project. I’m releasing songs immediately, almost as soon as they’re written, before they’ve been carefully manicured in a recording studio. I don’t know if I will ever hear from her again, and if I do, I don’t know what will happen!

PGTC: Since you’ve been writing and singing about scripts lately, just curious, do you have a favorite song by the band The Script?
York: Haha! “For The First Time” is a great song. Production is excellent, as is the lyrical concept: it has so much truth in it.

PGTC: 2014 is just around the corner. What’s ahead for you in the new year?
York: 2014 is all about live! I’m currently planning concerts early in the year. I’m veeeery particular about playing live and I want to make sure the audience gets a great experience. I’ll release the details soon. Oh… and I’ll be writing more songs!

Thanks again to Sam York for his great responses and, of course, his wonderful music. Visit the link below to check out everything he’s put up thus far and stay tuned to his official website see what kind of new features are forthcoming in this exciting project.

“The Script”:

Visit Sam York‘s SoundCloud page for a free download of “The Script”, his demos and more.

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