At the tender age of twelve, Sam Fischer penned his very first song in the Northern suburbs of Sydney. This watershed moment in Fischer’s life propelled him to become formally trained in both the violin and saxophone. The biggest jump towards developing his musical career was the enrollment in a degree program at Berklee College of Music in Boston. The Australian-born musician has since moved to Los Angeles and life has been good for him. Becoming a prolific songwriter, Fischer has co-written music with DJ Mustard, Clean Bandit, Jennifer Hudson, Sabrina Claudio and Andy Grammar, among others.
Working with various writers and producers (OAK, Fran Hall, Jaimie Hartman, Alex), Fischer’s long-awaited debut Not A Hobby will be released on January 19th. The four-track EP showcases the musicians’ dolce tones on top of soulful, R&B beats. As for his lyrics, Fischer loosely explores the inner monologues we all face-uncertainties of the future yet needing to enjoy the small things.
Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Fischer to learn more about the up and coming crooner. We talked about what he’s learned from being here in the States, the upcoming EP, and we also dove into some of his early work.
Watching a violinist at an early age pushed you to want to become a musician. What was it about Queenie’s work that ultimately made you want to go down a career in music?
Ok so, first of all, I am very impressed with the digging yall had to do for this question, love. It. I saw Queenie perform when I was 3 and still to this day I remember sitting in the front row, completely transfixed on this unbelievable talent. The confidence, the relationship she had with her instrument and the music and the complete silence that fell over the audience while she was playing. I don’t know what it was, but it was my slow-motion moment, at 3 years old, so maybe I had just eaten and felt entirely satisfied, but that was when I knew that all I wanted to do was music.
Growing up in the Northern suburbs of Sydney, you made the bold decision to move to the States. How difficult was it to move clear across the world?
From a young age, for whatever reason, I have always been fascinated by and hungry for change. It’s something that excites me, to be honest. So making the move to the other side of the world, from the quiet comforts of Killara in Sydney to Boston was daunting but was also something that felt so right, deep in my bones. I have definitely pissed off a lot of people, including my family, by moving so far away, and I miss my home a lot of the time but I’ve always known what I wanted to do and where I had to be to accomplish my goals and dreams and when I set my mind on something there’s very little that deters me. Some call it selfish, some call it drive, I’m somewhere in the middle for sure.
Living in the States for a little bit, what have you discovered that you didn’t know before?
Haha love this question, the States is fucking wild. Every single state is like visiting a different country, which is why so many of the people I’ve met here have so rarely traveled outside the states. High Schools ARE in fact exactly as they seem in the American TV shows I watched growing up (lockers lining the hallways was a TRIP the first time I saw that). Y’all fucking LOVE Cheesecake Factory, and you know what, I get it and I’m here for it. Also, lastly, I really am into this whole ‘right turn on Red’ thing, we don’t have that in Australia (it would be left on red) and it just makes a lot of sense, so thanks for that.
What did you learn about yourself when attending Berklee College of Music?
Berklee is an environment where it’s very easy to get swept up in your own bullshit. It’s a very inspiring and intense world there, you’re surrounded by some of the most talented people in the world, and with that comes a wild array of personalities both in the students and the professors, and if you don’t learn to stand your ground, trust your gut and fight for what you believe is right, it’s very easy to feel small there. So I would say that I definitely learned how to back myself when I thought something wasn’t right and speak up on it. I definitely found myself at odds with some professors there when I questioned things, but ultimately I think there was a mutual respect. Music is very powerful and extremely personal but there’s no one right way to create it, so I discovered how to take things with a grain of salt and pick and choose what felt right to me. I also learned that I’m a terrible roommate haha.
You spent some time being a vocalist for the LA’s own HOLYCHILD. How did you find yourself spending some time with them?
HOLYCHILD honestly saved my life. I was broke, having moved out to LA for an open door to be slammed in my face the day after getting out there, living on couches/floors and hoping for a miracle. That came in the form of a phone call from my mate Kenton Chen (incredible artist/writer/vocalist) who had the gig of singing backgrounds for HOLYCHILD at the time, he asked if I was interested in auditioning and the rest is history. They took me out on tour for the first time, we had an incredible run together playing SXSW, Governor’s Ball and opening for Passion Pit, it was wild and amazing. I owe so much of my journey and success to them, they kept me alive!
What’s the meaning of naming the upcoming EP Not A Hobby?
“Not a hobby” is a saying my manager Rich Isaacson has said from the beginning of everything over 2 years ago. Whenever either one of us impresses the other we say that, so it’s both literal in that all this isn’t a hobby for us, as well as a cheeky jab. It felt very right naming the EP Not A Hobby, as a dedication to my management who has been my rock since the beginning of all this and as a statement for what I do, which a lot of people back home and everyone really outside of the industry don’t really understand, but that’s ok.
Being your first EP, do you feel like you have been putting a lot of stress on yourself?
To be honest, a lot of stress would be an understatement. I am my own worst enemy, I overthink, make mountains out of molehills and to be honest if it weren’t for my girlfriend and my managers Rich and Iain, I’d be a complete wreck and this EP would most probably be sitting in my iTunes for all of eternity. WOW, that was a rough stream of consciousness but it’s real! But alas, I’m so unbelievably proud of the songs on this EP. I have written well over 200 songs for this release and my mental and emotional state have taken a battering but I am so much stronger and wiser for all that’s happened over the past 2 years. You have your entire life to write your first EP, and I’m just so excited to finally have it out.
Judging from the couple of singles you have released, it seems that you are focused on working to discover yourself as you get older. Is that fair to say?
That’s absolutely fair and wholly accurate. I am obsessed with the idea of my youth and the concept of growing up and discovering who I am, reflecting on who I was and talking about issues that I’m learning every day is common as hell. I want to be the artist and writer that gives the listeners the opportunity to have an otherwise inexplicable issue within themselves a voice. I’m really honest in my writing, because I’m not superhuman, I have SO MANY faults, but I’m learning to love them because perfection is boring and not something I strive for because it’s cool to keep growing and developing. I think with the more music I release, you’ll be able to hear the progression I have made on a personal level reflected in the sound and the writing. Getting older is fucking scary but exciting, and also not a choice, it’s nature!
How long was the writing and recording process for the Not A Hobby?
MY ENTIRE LIFE. In essence yes, my entire life, in the actual process, I feel like I’ve been writing this EP for the better part of the last 3 and half years. It was a magical, frustrating, exhausting, unbelievable and humbling experience. I got the opportunity to work on the songs for this EP with almost everyone I’ve ever wanted to work with, which is something I realize so few people trying to do this get to say, so I’m really grateful to every single writer, producer, confidant, friend, everyone who I’ve forced to listen to all 200+ songs, thank you. All of this is why it’s called Not A Hobby. My goal for the day I release an album is to work with one or two producers, to create a cohesive body of art that is sonically, conceptually and emotionally ‘Sam Fischer’. I’m really excited about that.
Where did you record the EP?
I recorded the EP in LA, all over LA. “Same Friends” was written in Sherman Oaks – “Getting Older” was written in Studio City – “This City” was written in West Hollywood – “Smoke” was written in Santa Monica. So I’ve been all over Los Angeles writing and recording these songs, another reason why it’s called Not A Hobby!
Is an LP in the works?
An LP is absolutely the dream. I want to be an album artist, I want my audience to be interested in listening to an entire Sam Fischer album! For right now, I am deep into the planning for the second EP but the stretch goal is absolutely a badass body of work in an LP.
Looking back from the early beginnings, what would you tell your younger self now?
Just chill the fuck out. Stop trying to impress everyone, you don’t need anyone’s validation other than your own. Also, it’s not your fault. That’s cryptic, but if I had someone to sit me down and tell me that before I was 22 and realizing that some of the shit that happened when I was younger wasn’t my fault, perhaps I would’ve had an easier time. Also, I LOVE YOU AND YOUR GINGER MULLET, YOU’RE DOPE, IT’S COOL TO BE PASSIONATE AND IT’S AMAZING TO BELIEVE IN YOURSELF YOU LITTLE FRECKLED MONSTER!
When the EP gets released, is there any plans for some touring to support it?
HELL. YES. That is the dream. I can’t WAIT to tour these songs. I live and I die on stage. Ever since heading out on tour with HOLYCHILD, I have craved getting back out on the road, however this time, on my own terms. Singing backgrounds was dope, but it was definitely 20 feet from stardom experience. I’m excited to tour these songs! There will definitely be a ton of shows in LA, NYC and with any luck, London! It’s going to be an amazing 2018!!