Hailing from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England, Sam Dickinson is a singer-songwriter and radio presenter with an angelic voice and tons of attitude. After seven years, Dickinson has returned with his latest album Off Script. We speak with this talented artist about his new album, good reviews and early memories.
OSR: What inspired you to become a musician?
Dickinson: Listening to the amazing British soul-pop invasion of the 90’s in my Mum’s car on the way to school as a kid. It was the highlight of my day choosing which cassette we were going to listen to, knowing which songs were going to be played. I still listen to a lot of those songs now.
OSR: Off Script is the first album in seven years. Why the delay in producing another album?
Dickinson: After my first album I needed a break. I went through anxiety and depression, it really got to me and I questioned myself at every turn. I spent time away and in 2018 I released an EP called From the Glass House: Pt. 1 which was crowdfunded. In 2019 I released From the Glass House: Pt. 2 which has my most popular song on called ‘All We Are’, so I haven’t been away completely. I’m glad to be back properly, playing live, releasing music, doing interviews. It just feels good this time around.
OSR: What was the writing and recording process of Off Script?
Dickinson: It started in a dark place and ended in a happy one. From that came a message of empowerment, of strength and of hope. I’d written about half the album when we started recording it. I was talking to the producer of the album saying I felt the album needed more singles from it and he recommended I work with Hattie Murdoch. So I phoned her and we wrote five songs together, four of which became singles and the other is a stunning ballad which closes the album.
OSR: If you could change one thing about the album what would it be and why?
Dickinson: I’d have written all of the album before recording it. I’ve written songs which will now be on my next album which I’d have loved to have been on this album but I ran out of money! Such is the life of an independent artist, however, the positive is you have complete creative control over what you create.
OSR: You work as a songwriter for artists on major labels. Who has been the most exciting artist to collaborate with so far?
Dickinson: I’m not allowed to say yet! It all depends if they take my songs, but the initial reactions are positive! So my lips are sealed I’m afraid.
OSR: How do you feel when you hear a signed artist singing one of your songs?
Dickinson: Still gluing my lips together! However, it is amazing to hear artists sing a song you have written, especially when it’s an emotional ballad and they put their heart and soul into it. It can really bring you tears.
OSR: How would you describe your music to someone who had never heard of you?
Dickinson: It’s quirky, soulful pop with a lot of sass, big notes and tons of emotion. There’s a lot to digest there isn’t there! It’s a celebration of being who you are, loving who you are and not caring about what others think of you.
OSR: You have supported some rather big names, but what was the most exciting gig to date?
Dickinson: Well I have more big names to support in 2021, which were meant to be this year; however, my favourite gig to date was actually a tiny venue in Newcastle. The venue was packed with only about 50 people in there. It was one of my first gigs back after I started writing this album and the place was electric from start to finish. It’s gigs like that that you live for, just you, the band, the audience. There’s nothing fancy, it’s all about the music.
OSR: What advice do you have for upcoming songwriters and musicians?
Dickinson: Stay true to who you are, but also think about what you want to achieve. If you want commercial success then writing an eight-minute song with six guitar solos isn’t going to do it! It needs to be three to three and a half minutes and to a set structure. Think of your band or artistry as a product, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose yourself, if anything it’s helped me become more comfortable in my skin. I used to have people tell me that I was too gay or my stage performance too camp. Now I think, fuck it. What do I have to be ashamed of? I’m proud of who I am.
OSR: What is the best review you have ever received?
Dickinson: Easy, Graham Norton on BBC Radio 2 saying to four million people saying I get better and better with every release.
OSR: What is your earliest memory?
Dickinson: Oh God, I can’t remember. Putting a plant on my sister’s head?
OSR: What is the most mischievous thing you have done and got away with?
Dickinson: Well, considering I still do it if I told you then I’d give the game away.
OSR: Do you have any future plans?
Dickinson: Yes. I have started working on album three already and I’m working on a tour for 2021.