20 year old student Sam England, though not necessarily a household name (yet), is one of the most exciting artists of his genre right now. The unsigned alternative folk singer – who grew up in Hampshire, studies in Exeter, but is currently living in Wollongong, Australia- is the artist we are looking at in this ‘Introducing’ feature.
Though currently not attached to a label, England has been making waves in Exeter and Devon, where he is based, and this renown is sure to spread wider and wider as his catalogue of music grows further and his talents continue to grow and flourish. Starting off with a Soundcloud only EP, Equilibrium, in 2014, this singer-songwriter demonstrated his tentative and thoughtful approach to songwriting, but also his wonderfully elegant and masterful guitar playing. His deep, raw, emotive voice also has a compelling nature about it, drawing you in with each and every note.
However, it was his 2015 EP, Red Skies, which really demonstrated his talent and saw him come into his own. On the back cover of the physical copy of the album, England describes this album as follows: ‘A home recorded EP that follows a narrative exploring the theme of hope, fear, love and loss and how their connections are seemingly unbreakable.’ He follows these themes closely, and he does so in a way that is moving and powerful. His lyrics really do paint a story of love and loss, and he draws you into the narrative with ease; the clever use of instrumentation creating atmosphere and build, as well as his collaborative vocals with Christie Gardner of Lilo’s Wall being a portal into their deeply passionate and introspective souls.
All five tracks on this EP are poignant and memorable because each one is written in a way that encourages you to find a personal connection to the song. The home-grown nature of the music also creates a sense of intimacy; inviting you into their world. Sometimes with home recorded albums, there is the fear of lacking the musicality and production value, but the production on England’s EP is slick and professional, leaving not a single moment for you to doubt it or be distracted.
This EP has seen four of its five tracks played on BBC Introducing in Devon, and led to Sam England recently being invited to their studio in Plymouth to record a session with them (listen from 01:28:06), where he also sang some never before heard songs. As well as this, he has received multiple rave reviews from the University of Exeter’s Edge counterpart, Pearshaped Magazine, with his latest song ‘By Now’ being described by them as a “blissful listen” and a “sweetly fallible humanity in an artificial storm”. As well as this he has played multiple live performances at venues such as the Exeter Old Firehouse and Exeter Cavern, and he supported indie duo Lilo’s Wall at their EP launch last year and their subsequent UK tour.
Although he is in Australia for the next year, he is sure to be releasing exciting new music in the days to come, and I hope his rise is as prominent as deserved. England truly is a sensational songwriter, whose ability to capture emotion in his music is something really rather special. Watch this space!