INTERVIEW: Sam Hale

INTERVIEW:

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PHOTO CREDIT: Kristen Balani 

Sam Hale

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I have been speaking with Sam Hale

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 IMAGE CREDIT: Kevin Donnelly

about his new track, Supernatural, and how it came together. The American songwriter discusses his E.P., Somewhere Between Love & War, and the sort of themes that inspired it; which musicians he is inspired by – Hale reveals what Nashville is like as a base.

I ask whether there are tour dates coming and which albums are most important to him; which new artists are worth checking out; if he will come to the U.K. and tour – Hale ends the interview by selecting a great track.  

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Hi, Sam. How are you? How has your week been?

I’m good! Busy as always. I’m about to release my E.P., Somewhere Between Love & War, on October 12 and planning for a Texas tour with Jon Pattie. It’s an exciting time but, as some of you know, the to-do list never takes a break.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

Sure thing. I’m Sam Hale. I’m a singer-songwriter/producer from Nashville, TN. I’ve been writing music for quite some time and relocated to Nashville from L.A. within the past year. My music could be described as Psychedelic-Indie-Pop/Rock.  

Supernatural is your new song. Can you talk about its story and background?

Supernatural was written about a certain time in my life where my family was trying to move from Iran to America. I was seven-years-old and we had already been denied a Visa once before in Pakistan. My mom played a big part in getting us over here because she wouldn't take ‘no’ for an answer the second time around when we were in Dubai. They initially denied us a Visa but she was somehow able to change their minds.

The crazy part is that they were going to let my mom go to America without me. I was the problem for them because, in Iran, they force you into the military unless you win a lottery. So, to them, I was an asset for war. I am very fortunate to be out here today.

It is from the E.P., Somewhere Between Love & War. Are there particular themes that inspired the songs?

There are a few different things that inspired it. I wrote a couple of the songs while I was in the process of moving away from L.A. I came up with the title Somewhere Between Love & War because I was living comfortably in the grey area. I was having problems with relationships and work, mainly because I felt I was being held back. I moved to Nashville more to get away from distractions and cleanse my spirit. The music scene here is okay but I believe you can be anywhere and do music as long as you're willing to tour.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Jenna Doolittle

In terms of musicians; what sort of stuff are you into? Who were you raised on?

That's a really tough question.

I've been through so many musical phases - Hip-Hop, Pop; Rock, Songwriters etc. My very first encounter with a memorable musician was Michael Jackson. I remember watching the Thriller video and getting scared out of my mind. M.J. inspired us all. It's beautiful that he touched so many people of all different walks of life.

How important is Nashville as a base? Is it a great city to make and perform in?

Nashville is a great place to be if you want to be a songwriter or simply just want a more simple life with a city feel. There is a music industry here but it's mainly Pop/Country, Country or Americana. There is a bit of an Indie music scene that is flourishing here in East Nashville and Midtown. I think, for me, it's just comfortable living here. It's cheaper than Los Angeles and I've met some great people and even my manager. Is it long-term? Probably not, but who knows...

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PHOTO CREDIT: Jenna Doolittle

What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?

I'd love to have a successful E.P. release, a couple music videos and to start working on my next E.P.

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

I toured London by myself for five months around 2011. It was a magical time. I was all alone in a city and didn't know anybody. I had just quit my office job and embarked on a journey that helped me grow as a musician and person.

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 PHOTO CREDIT: Kristen Balani 

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

ColdplayParachutes; David Ramirez - We're Not Going Anywhere and Pink FloydThe Dark Side of the Moon

I love all these albums for different reasons but, for me, it's all about timing. Great music comes into your life at a time when you need it the most. It's like finding someone you love at various points in your life. There is a connection you feel to the lyrics, the mood and the artist. That's what makes a great album for me. 

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

I would support Nine Inch Nails and request:

- All cellphones be locked up inside a safe to prevent anyone from zoning-out on social media.

- Dinner must be served on real plates with options for vegans and meat-eaters.

- If you do not curse at dinner, then you are to be excused.

- If anyone mentions or speaks of any boy-bands or other annoying bands, they are removed from the tour production.

- No peanut butter allowed. Only Nutella.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Kristen Balani 

Can we see you tour soon? Where are you playing?

Yup. Texas tour, 2018. I will be playing in Dallas, Ft. Worth; San Antonio, Houston and more. Check out samhale.net for details. 

Might you come to the U.K. and play soon?

I have before. I don't see what would stop me (smiles). I miss my friends there.

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Focus on the music first. Don't worry about social media and trying to be popular. If your music is truly amazing and original, people will come to you.

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 PHOTO CREDIT: Jenna Doolittle

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Definitely. Check out this playlist I made.

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Sometimes. Ha. I like to cook or be in nature. I try to take a little time each day to relax. 

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Nick Hakim - Green Twins

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