With the release of Drake’s Nothing Was The Same yesterday, you might be wondering who the beautifully haunting voice on “Too Much,” belongs to. Look no further than South London’s Sampha.
Listening to Sampha Sisay is like digging into a never-ending novel filled with emotional tales matched with a perfect backdrop. This stunning execution is something the 24-year-old singer/producer has tastefully honed over the years, who’s called artists like English hip-hop group The Streets and Malian singer Oumou Sangaré inspiration for his powerful sense of melody and devotion to experimentation.
A more modern comparison to his musical style would be James Blake, as Sampha blurs the boundaries of genres in a remarkable manner. He first released Sundanza in 2010, a limited six-track EP that showcased a young artist with potential and an ear for unique soundscapes. However, Sampha’s true breakout moment was “Indecision,” a 2011 single built over crescendoing piano strokes and his unrivaled vocals. The record comes off as effortless, yet there’s so much passion within every note, which speaks to Sampha’s ingenuity.
Sampha continued to experiment alongside London artist Aaron Jerome and his musical project SBTRKT, and tracks like “Trials Of The Past” and “Hold On” displayed a more raw tone from him. This contrasted nicely with a body of work he created alongside former Artist of the Week, Jessie Ware, as Sampha produced and sang on their charming tune, “Valentine.” He also lent Jessie a stunningly revamped rendition of Bobby Caldwell’s 1978 hit record, “What You Won’t Do For Love.” While Jessie was as precious as ever from a vocal standpoint, it was Sampha’s riveting production that truly brought this song to life.
To add to his already impressive catalog, Toronto rapper Drake tapped the London artist for “The Motion,” an intense record that was bolstered by Sampha’s piercing synth beat and sparse wailing near the end, as well as the standout single on NWTS, “Too Much,” which the duo performed on Jimmy Fallon.
Sampha releases his EP, Dual, on July 29. The project is led by his new record “Without,” which glowingly details a desire for love in the wrong conditions. The soothing single has garnered over 90,000 plays on YouTube alone, and it’s clear that Sampha’s musical presence will only continue to rise in the wake of the release of Dual.