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Sampha’s inventive and deeply felt fusion of pop, R&B, and electronic music defies easy classification and is further differentiated by a passionate vocal delivery that frequently seems as if it’s struggling to hold back tears. The musician made a name for himself as a sought-after studio partner and remixer, working with both up-and-coming underground artists and well-known artists like Drake, Beyoncé, Jessie Ware, and Kanye West.
Since the release of Process (2017), Sampha has humbly continued to provide support to a similarly wide range of artists, such as Florence + the Machine, Alicia Keys, and Actress. Process (2017) reached the Top Ten in his native U.K. and won the Mercury Prize. The keyboardist, producer, singer, and composer, whose real name is Sampha Sisay, began writing songs in his early adolescence.
Career & Projects
The South London native made a name for himself in 2009 with a remix of the xx’s “Basic Space,” which paved the way for a hectic schedule in 2010 and 2011. During this time, he worked with SBTRKT, Jessie Ware, and Lil Silva. He also made his solo debut with the EP Sundanza, which was released on the Young Turks label.
After a less eventful 2012, Sampha released Dual, his second Young Turks EP, the following year, an abstract and skeletal showcase for his expressive yet frail-sounding voice. Sampha was featured on Drake’s “Too Much” and Beyoncé’s “Mine.” Sampha was sought out by more well-known North American artists as he continued to collaborate with fellow British artists SBTRKT, Bullion, and FKA twigs.
In 2016 alone, he appeared on Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo, Frank Ocean’s Endless, and Solange’s A Seat at the Table. By the end of the year, he had released “Timmy’s Prayer,” which he co-wrote with Kanye West, and “Blood on Me,” which served as preludes to his debut full-length. Sampha made features on Drake’s More Life and Richard Russell’s Everything Is Recorded releases later in 2017.