Getting to Know Black Butter Records' Sam Sure

Ahead of his appearance at Bristol's In:Motion this weekend, Sam Sure talks graffiti, rapping and what 2016 will bring
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Ahead of his appearance at Bristol's In:Motion this weekend, Sam Sure talks graffiti, rapping and what 2016 will bring

If you don’t know his name already, rest assured you will soon - British singer Sam Sure has been making major waves. After signing to Black Butter Records last year, home to Gorgon City, Rudimental and Clean Bandit, he's fast becoming someone to keep a watchful eye on. 

Earlier this year he supported BBC Sound of 2015 winners Years and Years on their sold-out headline tour which had him sparking peoples interests and being championed by Annie Mac. There's something about his lyrics that really rings true, and you have to commend him for approaching each of his tracks with such honesty and sincerity.

We caught up with him before he hits Bristol’s In:Motion series this weekend with fellow label heads Gorgon City and Kidnap Kid.

You signed to Black Butter Records last year, had they always been on your radar as a potential label?

Well, everyone in music was looking at Black Butter. It wasn’t a choice.

And then you bagged a supporting slot on BBC Sound of 2015 winners Years & Years UK tour earlier this year – how did that come about?

Yeah that was crazy! They won the Sound Poll and two days later I got a call from my manager saying we were doing the tour... it was unreal. While we were backstage I spoke to Olly about it. He said they got to choose their support and that the band all wanted me which was a massive compliment. The tour was amazing from start to finish.

Your lyricism and skilful wordplay really stands out - what’s the process when you sit down to write a track?

It changes every time. I often write lyrics on trains. Or rather I write a sort of stream of thoughts. Sometimes it rhymes, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s more like a diary. It all goes into my book and then when I sit down with the producer I’m making a track with I rifle through it. Other times I will sit in the room with a beat playing round and round on loop and try and let the music spark the ideas. It depends how well I know the producer, because it can be a bit annoying for someone who is just sitting there waiting for me to get inspired... ha ha.

When you first started out in music you were rapping. Back then did you ever imagine that you’d be singing instead?

No way! It never even occurred to me to be honest. I slaved over my lyrics as a rapper. Every word had to be spot on and in a 16 bar verse that’s a lot of words! The first day I sang in the studio I knew everything was going to change. It was exciting to push myself but the big thing for me was that it gave fewer words more meaning. I could say more in a line and a melody than in a whole verse of rapping. I also could tackle subjects or emotions that I found it hard to communicate with rap, like love or insecurity.

You are an artist in more than one sense of the word. How long have you been doing graffiti for?

I’ve done graffiti since school. It probably meant more to me than anything else growing up. It was all i could think about. It was everything, my friends, my weekends, some of the best moments of my life. These days I’m not so much part of the culture. Just still addicted to writing my name.

Who are you listening to at the moment? Anyone we should watch out for?

Royce Wood Junior.

Have you had any gigs here in America? If not, any in the pipeline that we can look forward to?

I’ve never had a gig in America… it's on my bucket list. As for the pipeline… I know what’s happening tomorrow, past that things get tricky. I love the States and I want to play there, so I’m sure it will happen.

With this year coming to an end, what can we expect in 2016?

Lots! I've got an EP for early in the new year and a lot of new material to follow. I’m ready...

Catch Sam Sure this Saturday at The Blast x Black Butter at In:Motion - tickets available here.