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A Rocker Who Loves Ariana Grande’s Music

Sam Fender riffs on the guitar and offers a refreshing narrative through his music

I walk into Rough Trade NYC in Brooklyn to find Sam Fender taking it all in. He will play his first show in New York City in just a few short hours and the young Englishman is soaking in every last moment. We escape to the quaint dressing room with a pre-historic coffee maker to chat. “I’ve traveled more in the past two years than I have in my entire life. I’ve seen more places than I’ve ever been. I mean, to me, it’s exhausting, but good. Adrenaline gets you through,” he says of his blossoming career. Since recently winning the Critics’ Choice Award at the 2018 Brit Awards, Fender hasn’t slowed down. The singer-songwriter is slightly rock ‘n’ roll but in a quirky, Rivers Cuomo fashion. At an innocent 25 years old, Fender recognizes his youthful spirit and seriously appreciates fellow artists of his generation.

Sam Fender (photo by Jung Kim)

“I love when I listen to an Ariana Grande song, I hear her talking. You get a lot of artists today who are trying to be something they’re not but she will always be her thing,” Fender says of singer Ariana Grande.

So, what is Sam Fender’s thing? Well, with his debut album on the horizon, the smiley musician with an endearing charm says listeners can expect the music to be “sad and loud and an eclectic mix of different stuff.” He adds that the album will be a “classic debut album” in that it will be somewhat of an introduction to him as an artist. “It’s not really one theme. The album has got extra flavors of Bruce Springsteen and some Buckley moments. It’s interesting.”

The lead single off Fender’s debut album is “Hypersonic Missiles,” a jarring title for a jarring time in society. Fender describes the song’s main character as a “tin foil hat-wearing, no job, completely terrified of the end of the world” type of person. “But, there is something in him or her making them believe it is all going to be alright. Like, it’s going to shit but I’m going to have a good time and it will be okay,” he says of the song’s interpretation.

Sam Fender (photo by Jung Kim)

Though the music Fender creates is typically guitar-focused, he and his band of childhood friends add unique sounds to differentiate themselves from other bands. On the upcoming album there will be a spoken word-inspired song, a love song and much more.

On his personal music preferences, Fender reveals that his favorite artists of all time are women, including pop sensation Ariana Grande. “Joni Mitchell is probably my favorite artist of all time. Phoebe Bridges is amazing. Big Thief is a favorite at the moment, and it is mainly guys in the band but female-fronted. She plays the guitar and writes the songs,” he tells me. With a creative mind inspired by a number of different artists, Sam Fender is carving out a space for himself in the industry, featuring his profound lyrics and dope guitar skills.

Watch the official video for “Hypersonic Missiles” below.