Sam Fender is a singer-songwriter who remains true to his working-class roots in North Shields, England, building his success upon the stories of the people of his hometown, often referencing the local pub, fistfights on local beaches, friends he grew up with, and their shared experiences together. Some of those experiences included troubled childhoods, suicides by men, and widespread political alienation. His debut album, Hypersonic Missiles rose to the top of the charts in the UK, and within six months he had been called one of the leading songwriters of his generation. But true to his roots, he still sees himself as a local boy.
2020 proved challenging for Fender, as the world shut down and people stayed home during the pandemic and, like everyone else, he had no subjects to draw inspiration from. No bars were open where he could observe folks to whet his imagination, so he was forced to turn inward for the first time. “I didn’t have anyone to write about. I’ve always relied on that stuff. On hearsay, rumors, stories, gossip… gossip made mankind. I didn’t want to write about COVID because no one is ever going to want to hear about that ever again, so this time I went inside.”
Seventeen Going Under, Fender’s new Interscope release, defies easy classification. Every song presents different elements of multiple genres ranging from Folk, Rock, Pop, and Blues, creating Fender’s own soundscape set to the experiences of life. Every song tells a new tale, each differing in tempo, lyricism and excellent musicianship, setting Sam Fender apart from the pack. He’s won a Brit Award for Best Alternative/Rock Act, announced a tour of 45,000 capacity venues, and appeared on morning television in the UK. He’ll also be appearing at the JBE Triple A SummitFest in August, to the delight of KINK, WTTS, KCSN, Indie 102.3, WRLT, KXT, WNXP and a host of other Triple As around the country.
Photo by Charlotte Patmore