Updated: May 1
From a tiny room of his house in the outskirts of Sydney to the charts worldwide, after over 300+ million streams of "This City" and the collaboration with Demi Lovato on "What Other People Say", Sam Fischer is definitely not stopping, not even during a pandemic. The Australian born singer and songwriter had a chat with us at Darkus Magazine to tell us about his beginning as a musician and how he creates his music which lead to his success. First of all, I cannot believe we are doing this on Zoom. I wish I was somewhere having a chat with you. I am excited to - not to do this on Zoom ever again! But this is fun I believe (laughs).
Are you in Australia now? I wish I was you know, with my family and friends and less restrictions ... but I'm in Los Angeles.
I feel you! How have you been?
Thanks for asking that, I've been good. It's been a whirlwind couple of months. The pandemic itself kicked me, it kicked my arse for a little bit, but I am grateful to have bit busy. Life happens in mysterious ways and I guess I wouldn't change it.
Well, you've achieved so much during this pandemic so I think something good happened during lockdown .. It definitely takes the village, I've got the best team I could've ever asked for and I am grateful for keeping me going. It's been challenging at times but I'm grateful to be in this position, have success at any point but especially during a pandemic.
Starting from the beginning, you're born and bred in Australia, how did you get into music?
Music was, kind of, always, a part of me and my family. We always had records on. When I was very little my dad had three albums and we lived out in the country so it would take like a hour to drive to the city and my dad had Whitney Houston's The Bodyguard, Micheal Jackson's History Part II and just like a compilation album of rock stuff. That was the foundation, that was always a part of our family life, music was always on. My little brother is a musician, my mom is very musical too.
And fast forward to your EP "Not A Hobby" and then "Homework", what has changed?
The first one is everyone getting to listen to me whilst having a full blown identity crisis, it's funny that someone said "great songs but it sounds like you guys were in a room and took out the sound of a producer" and you know what? it's true because I had no idea who I was, it was a way for me to tell people to ask me "why are you making music?". Luckily, they gravitated towards "This City", that told me to be just honest and open. "Homework" is a body of work very honest about some things that I was feeling, it's a study of myself. There's more confidence in it.
You mentioned "This City", over 300 million streams on Spotify - did you expect it?
When I wrote that song, I thought it would be just for me and nobody else. But I don't know, music is so interesting. The industry and the radio are constantly changing, speeding up, and evolving, and now with Tik Tok there are so many songs out! I always believed in the song. It felt like a really good track when I wrote it but I don't think anybody every expects it to blow up like that.
What does it actually mean to you?
"This City" was my cry for help, it was a way for me to say that I was so fed up, this is what I was feeling and everything you hear in the song is based on the real me but also a way for me to say that I wasn't going to give up. In the verse "she got a hold on me, she got me wrapped 'round her finger" means "regardless what I'm feeling, I much I hated here I am going to keep going". That's also what my fans have told me, they always tell me that it's the song they listen to when they're feeling down.
A lot of remixes came out of "This City" as well, one of them features Anne-Marie. How did you end up collaborating?
I have been a fan of Anne-Marie since she was singing with Rudimental. I am obsessed with her writing, her voice is stunning and she just seems like a really cool person. That happened when I asked my team "wouldn't it be so cool if Anne-Marie got involved" and she heard the song, she heard that I wanted her on it and she said "yes" and she wrote such a stunning verse. Anne-Marie is so cool and so talented. We're friends and she's a an amazing person to work with.
Then another great collaboration came out which is your latest single "What Other People Say" with Demi Lovato. How did that happen?
I wrote "What Other People Say" early 2019, before anything happened with "This City" and originally the song was supposed to be for someone else, the day of the writing session that artist didn't show up and I took that really personally because I thought they didn't turn up because they didn't like me, so that played into my headspace and that's how the song came about.
Demi heard the track in June 2019 and she said it was something she'd been trying to say and she hadn't found the words so she wanted to be on it. And who am I to say no to Demi Lovato? She's got one of the most incredible voices on the planet. I have been a fan of hers for so long and it was cool to connect with someone like that. So many people have so many opinions about her and 99% of them are wrong! She is down to Earth, she is cool, she is amazing to work with and she is a powerful professional.
There were no DM's flying and Texts being sent. Her manager played it to her and she just said yes! And it happened!
So what is the song about?
It's about waking up, looking around. You look at yourself one day and you realise that you are not the person you thought you would be when you were younger, you look at your life, you look at the things you have done and said and you don't feel good about it. For me, there's always been a lot of expectation, from others, I appreciate that, I love that people have confidence in me but it was hard to have the same confidence in myself. After being dropped from my first label, I felt like a complete failure.
Is it because you felt pressure?
Yeah, well, what I perceived was pressure from other people I probably perceived it as pressure on myself. In my head it was so big, I felt like everyone was looking at me like I was this wasted opportunity and I was just sad about it. I cared a lot about what people thought of me. I didn't feel like I was living myself. I didn't feel like the music I was writing was reflective of where I wanted to be and what I wanted to say. I just wasn't surrounded by great people at that time.
Did "What Other People Say happen" happen online or you managed to meet in LA?
We recorded separately and then we sliced them together and it worked! Singing with Demi Lovato is so cool, kind of intimidating because she is so good. We didn't actually meet until the day of the music video in January 2021.That's two years since we wrote it. It's nuts!
Hopefully soon, we'll get to hear you guys sing it together on stage!
I am waiting! I can't wait for that too!
What inspires you the most?
Right now life does. I'm really inspired by my peers I think it's cool to listen to other artists' music and hear what they're doing. I guess, I am inspired by mom and my fans because they're incredible. I am constantly looking up for what they are saying and what they want. I think we all look at life differently now. I used to take so much for granted and that do I appreciate now every single day.
What are your next projects?
All the things I was going to do before the pandemic: play shows, meet people! I have been writing an album, I have been writing projects. I don't want to call it "album" because there is so much more coming but there is a concept. I have been working with some of my favorite writers, producers and artists to try to bring it all together and I am excited. I hope my name goes everywhere. I also hope I get to go back home in Sydney to my mom.
What Other People Say is out now.
Words by: Sal Fasone