Indie Artist Interview: Sam Phelps

There are so many undiscovered indie artists out there that deserve to be heard. As an artist and A&R myself, I understand the importance of exposure in this industry. And not in the “perform for exposure” way. Independent artists need an audience now more than ever.

I also really enjoy discovering new music and having the chance to hear these artists before they blow up. I want you guys to discover these artists with me, that’s why I have started Le Café Music Blog’s Indie Artist Interview Series. That’s a mouthful.

Are you ready to meet our first indie artist?


Introducing: Sam Phelps

Sam is an independent singer-songwriter out of Brooklyn, NY. He recently dropped his brand new 3 track EP on all streaming platforms. I’ll let Sam tell you all about it.

Photo by Courtney Sultan

Indie Artist Interview Time!

Ryan: Welcome, Sam! Thank you so much for joining us today. Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell us a little bit about yourself!

Sam: My name is Sam Phelps. I’m a singer-songwriter from Kentucky. My hometown is Pulaski County. It’s a dry county…not like, “you can’t buy alcohol on Sunday…?” No, you can’t buy alcohol. Period. Legally anyway. So I got to experience bootleggers and real moonshine from time to time. I threw a backpack out a window at 17 and never really went back. I’ve lived in Brooklyn the last few years and it feels like home for now.

Ryan: Damn, man. I’ve been to little towns in Kentucky exactly like that. Definitely a massive change from a small, dry county to New York City. So, tell us a little about your latest release.

Sam: My latest release is a 3 song EP titled “Talking To A Friend.” It’s basically a nostalgic look at relationships I’ve had the last few years. One ending in a bad way.  And two others that have been over for years.

indie artist interviews sam phelps
Photo by Courtney Sultan

Video tolerated by Courtney Sultan

Favorites and Influences

Ryan: Heartache is a bitch…but it can lead to great music. What is your favorite song you’ve ever released?

Sam: That’s a tough question. Maybe I Can’t Sing, because it was kind of the moment when I found the direction I wanna go in when it comes to songwriting. Or Talking To A Friend, for the simple fact the song came out of nowhere and wrote itself in minutes.

Ryan: I really enjoyed both of those songs. I can feel the personal connection in your lyrics. Who are your musical influences?

Sam: I’d have to say guys like Steve Earle and Tony Rice. I love a good sad song.

Ryan: Sad songs are my favorite. I’m kind of emo like that, I guess. Now, I want to talk about collaboration. If you could collaborate with one artist, who would it be?

Sam: Steve Earle!!

Ryan: Man, I would love to hear that. I can definitely hear his influence in your music. It would be fun to see what you guys come up with. What is your collaboration process like?

Sam: It sounds fun and inspiring, but I haven’t actually done it yet.

Ryan: Solo all the way. Nice. If anyone reading this would like to collaborate with Sam, check his links below! Speaking of “collaborating,” if you could take one artist out on a date, who are you picking?

Sam: Probably Tinashe!! Cutie!

unsigned artist interview
Happy Valentine’s Day to the cute couple

Life Outside of Music

Ryan: What are you doing when you’re not making music?

Sam: I like to read. Try to exercise a little. I kinda keep up with the fights.

Ryan: Nice. I hate exercise. So we’ve heard a bit about your life back in Kentucky. What were you like as a kid?

Sam: Not what I wanted to be. Didn’t get to have a lot of imagination. Had to stay focused. Nerves were a mess a lot of the time.

Ryan: Sorry to hear that, man. Imagination is the best part of being a kid. Being from a strict small town with a strict family must have been hard. I could imagine there were some interesting day jobs in Pulaski County. What’s the weirdest day job you’ve had?

Sam: Probably car salesman lol. I realize that’s not a weird job but it was for me. I hate dress shoes!


Getting Back to Normal Life

Ryan: It’s been a brutal year for all of us…it’s been especially brutal for artists. What are you doing to stay connected to your fans during the pandemic?

Sam: Trying to keep some social media stuff going. I wanna start doing a short IG live once a week or every other week.

Ryan: That’s a great way to do it! What if music wasn’t an option? What would you do?

Sam: Ouch! Don’t say that. But if that were the case I’d like to do something kinda secluded. Work on the water somewhere. Maybe fishing voyages on the ocean!

Ryan: That’s cool. I couldn’t do it. I get super seasick. Worked on a cruise ship for 6 months and thought I was going to die. As much as I hated that, I would kill to perform again. If you could perform in any city in the world, where would you go?

Sam: Probably Rapa Nui! Just to go back there.

Ryan: Ah, Easter Island! I’ve never been to Chile, but it’s on my bucket list. I’d go for the food alone.

Food

Ryan: If you had to pick your “last meal,” what would it be?

Sam: Sushi. Sushi for sure. I had never had sushi before I moved to New York ( don’t know if I’d ever heard of it.) A girl took me on a date to a sushi restaurant and I plowed through a piece of sushi with a fork! She laughed at me and I was so embarrassed. It was definitely a “fresh off the farm” moment. But I loved it and eat it whenever financially possible now lol.

Ryan: I hear that. Sushi isn’t easy to figure out the first time haha. So you’re in New York…I gotta ask, what’s the best pizza in Brooklyn?

Sam: Oof. In Brooklyn I don’t know, but Proto’s in the lower East Side is clutch.

Ryan: I just looked at the menu and started drooling. Then I saw the New York prices. Yikes! Money is tight these days.

Final Questions

Ryan: So, here’s a deep question. What keeps you awake at night?

Sam: Wow! Regret. Nostalgia. Concern.

Ryan: All valid reasons. Good answer. What’s next for Sam Phelps?

Sam: Recording more music. Hopefully a little touring. Hopefully no more 9-5!

Ryan: Preach it, brother. Do what you love. One last question for you. Is there anything you want to say to our readers?

Sam: Anyone who’s ever been encouraging, I really REALLY appreciate it. It means literally everything to me. It’s what I want to do. It’s the only thing I know of passion and love.

Ryan: Awesome. Thank you so much for joining us today and for being the very first artist in Le Café Music Blog’s Indie Artist Interview Series! Congrats on the EP!

Follow and Listen to Sam Phelps!

Here is Sam’s new EP, Talking to a Friend. Tell us what you think in the comments!

https://www.samphelpsofficial.com/

Follow Sam on Instagram

Subscribe to Sam’s YouTube page!

I also want to give a shoutout to Courtney Sultan for setting this interview up. If you ever need to organize your life…look her up.

If you would like to be featured, Contact Us!

New Music Friday!

Happy New Music Friday, my friends! We’ve got lots of new music this week, so let’s get down to it.

Taylor Swift – Love Story

I know what you’re probably thinking…

“Love Story is not a new song, dumbass.”

And you would be absolutely correct. The song was originally released in 2008 under Scott Borchetta’s label, Big Machine Records.

Swift was only 15 when she signed with Big Machine, and 18 when her second album Fearless was released. This is the album that ultimately launched her career, with 5 hit singles, including Love Story.

So why are we posting this song on New Music Friday in 2021?

If you are a Taylor Swift fan, or even a fan of popular music in general, you have probably heard of her fight to own the master recordings of all of her previous songs.

Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun

In 2019, Taylor’s Tumblr post rocked the music world. She revealed that “For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work. Instead I was given an opportunity to sign back up to Big Machine Records and ‘earn’ one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in.”

Taylor declined that offer, as she knew that Borchetta would just sell the label, “thereby selling me and my future.” Borchetta then twisted the knife in her back by selling her master recordings to well-known Taylor Swift bully, Scooter Braun.

All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years.” This bullying was done by Scooter (which is a stupid name) and his clients, Kanye West and Justin Bieber.

She went on to say “This is my worst case scenario. This is what happens when you sign a deal at fifteen to someone for whom the term ‘loyalty’ is clearly just a contractual concept.

Just to wrap this up, Taylor went on to sign with Universal Music Group and focus on her future, rather than her past.

Later in 2019, Taylor told Billboard that she would deny any requests to license her old music until she is able to rerecord and rerelease it, thus preventing Big Machine and Scooter Braun from profiting off of her work.

Love Story (Taylor’s Version) was released at midnight, along with an announcement that the entirety of Fearless has been recorded and will be re-released, along with never before heard tracks.

Here is Love Story (Taylor’s Version)

This is a big win for Taylor Swift, and a well-deserved “f*ck you” to Scooter Braun.

Nipsey Hussle and Jay-Z – What It Feels Like

The late Nipsey Hussle and the 2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominee, Jay-Z, on the same track at last. The anticipated collaboration appears on the soundtrack of the new film Judas and the Black Messiah, in theaters and HBO Max today.

Hussle is originally known for his numerous mixtapes, one of which caught the eye of Jay-Z. The “King of Rap” bought 100 copies of his last mixtape, Crenshaw for $100 each.

On March 31, 2019, Nipsey Hussle was fatally shot outside of his LA clothing store after a confrontation earlier that day. Investigators say he was shot at least 10 times by 29-year-old Eric Holder, who has yet to face trial. We hope Hussle gets the justice he deserves.

Here is Nipsey Hussle and Jay-Z with What It Feels Like.

And this is what it feels like
Reach a level, make you question, “Is it real life?”

Dua Lipa – We’re Good

She’s back with The Moonlight Edition of her 2020 album Future Nostalgia. The new edition features 4 new songs, including We’re Good.

Buzzfeed reported on the backlash Dua Lipa has received on social media for all of her pandemic travels. Ironically, the first line of We’re Good is “I’m on an island.” As fans have pointed out, she seems to be on a new island every week.

Check out her new tracks, and be jealous of her travels. I know I am.

I’m on an island, even when you’re close
Can’t take the silence, I’d rather be alone

Pink Sweat$ – Heaven

There’s not a ton of information out there on 28-year-old David Bowden. The up-and-coming R&B singer-songwriter from Philadelphia, known as Pink Sweat$, just released his debut album Pink Planet with Atlantic Records.

He started gaining traction after the 2018 release of his debut single Honesty, which hit the top 10 on Spotify’s US Viral Charts. He was later nominated for Best New Artist at the 2019 Soul Train Awards.

Bowden released his first two EPs independently, and dammit…I wish I was the A&R to discover him. He’s got a bright future ahead of him.

Here is the first single off of Pink Planet, Heaven.

I put my pride aside
I traded this whole life
Just for one night

P!nk and Willow Sage Hart – Cover Me In Sunshine

From Pink Sweat$ to P!nk, there’s a whole lot of pink this week. I’m okay with that.

This mother-daughter duet is exactly the kind of content this world needs right now. P!nk, 41, and Willow, 9 just released the feel-good track of 2021.

In a statement earlier, mom said “Willow and I find comfort in music, so we’re putting this song out for no other reason than that we hope it brings you sweetness, sunshine and comfort, too.”

If this song doesn’t hit you right in the feels, check your pulse…you might be dead.

cover me in sunshine
shower me with good times
tell me that the world’s been spinning since the beginning
and everything’ll be alright

Robin Thicke – Look Easy

Robin Thicke is officially putting his Blurred Lines days behind him. In a recent interview with Brianne Tracy of People Magazine, Thicke opened up about the death of his father, Alan Thicke.

Alan Thicke sadly passed away in 2016 after a heart attack. Robin says “I wasn’t in a good place when he passed.” He said it all started in 2013 with the success of Blurred Lines.

“My marriage to Paula (Patton) was crumbling,” he says. “I started using painkillers. It was a melting pot of trouble brewing, and I was so arrogant that I thought I could handle it all.”

He said the death of his father was a turning point for him.

“After my father’s death, I remember a friend of his said, ‘A big tree has fallen.’ That’s what my dad was: the big tree. Now here I am, this medium-size tree, and I’ve got to grow my branches and protect everybody. Every day I try to make him proud of me.”

Robin Thicke has some big shoes to fill. His 4 children are his biggest inspiration to fill those shoes.

Off of his new album, On Earth, and in Heaven, here’s his newest single Look Easy.

Where did you come from? There’s no way
Did I do something in another life to deserve your grace?
How did they make you so pure and free?
Living in a world where we lose our hearts, but yours still beats

Greta Van Fleet – Heat Above

Greta Van Fleet does not get the recognition they deserve. The rock band from Michigan has been criticized for “copying” Led Zeppelin’s sound and a “lack of originality.”

Yes, their sound does bear a strong resemblance, but it takes nothing away from the band’s originality. They have brought back Rock & Roll, and as a huge Led Zeppelin fan…I love that.

The band’s second studio album, The Battle at Garden’s Gate, is set to release in April.

Here is Greta Van Fleet’s new single from the album, Heat Above.

Can you feel my love?
Rising with the heat above
Life’s the story of
Ascending to the stars as one

That does it for this week’s New Music Friday. For more from Rita Ora, Kings of Leon, A$AP Rocky, and more, have a listen to Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist right here:

We’ll be back tomorrow with an interview with unsigned country artist, Sam Phelps! Don’t forget to subscribe, and let me know what new songs you love this week in the comments!