Mar 31, 2013

Great pop music you won't hear on the radio-Sam Sparro


For my first recommendation I give you Sam Sparro.  Live, this man will send you out the door dancing, singing, and filled to the brim with all the joy that he can't contain.  He is a gentle soul with a fierce vision for his music.  He goes into his own studio, using his own instrumental and engineering talent and writes songs that make you feel.  For live performances he works with incredibly talented musicians and singers.  Personally I'm a huge fan of Vula who is this tiny vocal powerhouse.  Her textures and tones combined with Sam's are magical.  Plus the two of them just have so much fun together on stage.  Actually the whole band has a blast.  All of them are smiling the whole time.  Sam is infectious and the audience can't resist him.  They are all dancing by the end of the first song.

Before the new album "Return To Paradise", if you said Sam Sparro" most people would say, "Who?"  But you'd get a bit more recognition if you said "Black and Gold" from his self-titled debut album which was released on Universal Island in 2008.  Black and Gold became a club dance favorite.  "Sam Sparro" is very electronic and upbeat album for the most part.  One of the things I love about Sam is that he can tell a darker story but put it with a "happy" melody so people get a nice, easily digestible version of the message. It kind of seeps into the cracks and you come around later and see that there are things you need to process and become part of the solution.

In sophomore album "Return To Paradise" Sparro continues with that "joy infused" sound but also adds some funk to it.  As with most great new pop artists, he's been up against it in the U.S.  The album dropped in Europe months before its American release.  Two singles have been released; "Happiness" and "I Wish I Never Met You" which also included highly polished music videos.  Sam likes to play with his resemblance to 1940's and 50's matinee mobsters and heartthrobs in both videos.  There's definite nods to Ziegfield, Cagney, Selznick and Gable.

Sam has also had the opportunity to expand on the funk that has been running through him, working for a second time with fellow pop artist and friend Adam Lambert on his sophomore album resulting in the song "Shady".  Goofing around about improving the guitar line on the track they joked about tweeting funk legend Nile Rodgers to lay down some riffs.  The tweet was answered with a very enthusiastic response from Rodgers.  In the middle of the hectic schedule to master and release "Trespassing", Lambert jetted to NYC and spent a full day in Rodger's Manhattan studio overseeing the recording.  It would be eight months before all three musicians were able to come together on the same stage and perform the song live.  As one who was fortunate enough to be in the Hammerstein Ballroom that evening, trust me, it was THE BEST performance of that song to date.  The event also gave Sam some time to express his thoughts about working more with young people and the issues he and Lambert face in mainstream pop music due to their sexuality.  Both artists have been publicly out since before launching their music careers.

I've had the honor to not only interview Sam Sparro but to meet him.  He is one of the most intelligent, interesting, genuinely happy and humble people I know.  I've seen him perform for an audiences as small as about 75 to over 800.  He puts on a great show no matter who or how many he plays for.

For more on Sam Sparro visit http://samsparro.com/  and friend him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and add him to your Vevo playlist.  You can find Sam on Spotify and if you like what you hear you can purchase his music on iTunes and Amazon.  If he is touring in your area, definitely get out to one of his shows.  Trust me, you'll become a fan and an addict.