Combining the folk tendencies of Bob Dylan, the spirited songwriting of Bruce Springsteen and the melodic adventurism of R.E.M., Wolverhampton-born Sam Lambeth is one of alternative rock’s most enduring talents.
Over a decade-long career, Lambeth has enjoyed media exposure through NME, Kerrang! and Louder than War, as well as radio play on BBC Radio One, BBC 6 Music and XFM.
He has supported established acts such as Evan Dando and The Lemonheads (respectively), The Bluetones and We Are Scientists, as well as critically lauded acts including The Orielles, Bully and Little Comets. Lambeth has also performed in front of 25,000 people at a halftime show for his beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers football club.
Lambeth’s latest record, Love & Exile, has enjoyed mass acclaim from legendary institutions such as This Feeling and Gigslutz, as well as iconic figures like Robert Carlyle and Shiner Sam. It has amassed over 100,000 streams on Spotify, featured on leading playlists and received airplay on radio stations in the USA, France, Australia and Japan. His music was also selected for a special CD compilation in the United States.
Lambeth capped off a hugely successful six months by being nominated for, and subsequently winning, Best Newcomer at the inaugural Radar Awards, a ceremony to celebrate up-and-coming musicians.
Charitable by nature, Lambeth’s recent CD saw him donate £400 to WWF, as well as previously pledging money to One Tree Planted and Teenage Cancer Trust.
How did you get started, and what has led up to where you are today as an artist?
I’ve always loved music and growing up I was given a great education in class songwriting, getting to listen to Paul Simon, The Beatles, Billy Joel, Springsteen, Elvis Costello and many more.
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to sing and play, even though my family and friends probably wished I’d stick to my other dream of trying to be a professional footballer or tennis pro (which never would have happened, by the way).
I’ve learned a lot. I was 16/17 when I started making music. Since then, I hope I’ve gotten a bit more mature, a bit more realistic and grounded about things, and hopefully a little better at making music and performing. Although that last one might be up for debate.
Who do you feel has influenced your sound the most?
I’ve always been drawn to innovative, adventurous singer-songwriters like Paul Simon, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison and Bob Dylan. Alongside that, I love melody and harmony, so acts like The Beatles, Tom Petty, the Eagles, Teenage Fanclub and Counting Crows are also high on the list.
What do you feel sets you apart from other artists and gives you your own sound?
I think everybody stands apart. I stand apart and have my own sound because I am me. I am not anyone else. The same for other artists. We all have our own stories to tell, our own experiences with music, influences that differ slightly from one another. We all stand apart. That’s the beauty of music.
What has been your biggest challenge and what do you feel you have learned from it?
The biggest challenge is finding the time and the funds to regularly record, gig and engage with the people you like and respect. It’s hard to get the balance right but I feel I have learned – although I’m certainly no expert – how to be a bit more realistic and pragmatic about it, without ever neglecting it.
Tell us about your latest project, what have you got going on at the moment?
Sam Lambeth & The Four Chords are releasing “Nod My Head”, our new single on Friday 11 February.
It was originally recorded and released in early 2009 with my first band The MonoBloggers. However, it was never the version I liked it and I always believed in the song. I felt it deserved a second chance, so in September 2020 I went to the recording studio and rerecorded the song in the style I wanted to back when I wrote it.
It’s a song I am really proud of. It’s been with me for a long time and now, 12/13 years on, it sounds like how I imagined.
What advice would you give to anyone new coming into the industry?
I think be pragmatic, be weary, ask for help, and be respectful and supportive to your fellow musicians. There will be people that will try to take advantage and there’ll be your times when you get carried away and don’t think logically about your budget or your workload, so it’s important to keep things in perspective and don’t run before you walk.
I think supporting your fellow musicians is very important. Too often we get suckered into thinking it’s a competition, that the focus should only be on us, that we’re not getting what we deserve…we need to break that mentality. There’s room for everyone, so celebrate everyone’s achievements, be kind, be humble, and I am sure karma will reward you.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank for getting you to where you are now, anyone you’d like to give a shout-out to?
There are so many people to say thank you to that I’ll inevitably forget someone and they’ll be upset. Those that have supported me know who they are and hopefully they know that I really appreciate it. You don’t get anywhere in life without the support and kindness of people.
How can fans find you?
On the streets! No, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and my handle for all three is @samlambethmusic. I am also on Spotify and YouTube.