Most people might recognise Sampha off his collaboration with Drake, with it’s fast paced beat and the bass track added to make it groovy.
Yet the version I admire most is the one Sampha did originally, one that reflects the captivating quality of his endearing talent.
It might be easy to make the argument that Drake brought the song to popularity after sampling it; much like bringing The Weeknd to his well-deserved fame and developing him as an artist.
I agree, maybe Drake doesn’t get enough credit for his knack for finding quality artists and collaborating with them.
The gift of Sampha, though, is far beyond his abilities as an excellent vocalist — he’s a damn good piano player, a soulful performer and a captivating artist.
From his live performance on Fallon, to the release of his debut studio album — Process, the artist broke free from just being the chorus on Drake’s “Too Much”; to creating an audience of his own.
Process (Sampha album) - Wikipedia
"Timmy's Prayer" was released on 17 May 2016 as a single. The album's title was revealed alongside the release of…
The Single “Blood on Me” was key in setting the tone for his album, giving a taste to his new found audience for what was to come, but the brilliance lies in the track 4th Track on the album,
“(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano”.
Not only is the song soulful and draws it’s simplicity with Sampha on the piano — it lures in the listener, in a state that is often difficult to replicate.
It’s a feeling, like reading a book where one forgets they’re the audience — he makes the song more than what is it; it makes it an experience with a flood of emotion.
The meaning might be different for each listener, as it is with most songs — we all tend to attach our feelings to what it means to us, individually.
Sampha, for me, just took it a step further — releasing the music video for the song in Virtual Reality directed by Jamie-James Medina; truly making use of the technology in a way that it doesn’t disrupt but rather invites and draws the audience into an emotional experience of artist’s deepest expression of losing a mother too soon and the piano as his escape.
Leaving the audience, or at the very least me, with feelings that are just too difficult to put into words — to say it sent chills down my spine would be to undermine what Sampha accomplishes with every note he hits; it’s like a reminder back to my childhood when the purest of things were the simple love of family and an old piano which collected dust too often.
It wasn’t until Sampha used the piano to express the pain he felt, knowing he was losing his mother to cancer — turning his pain into a soulful expression of how fragile life is; a reminder to the listener, it’s not too late to pay attention.
For the love he had for his mother, to the pain delivered in the song — it forms an unbreakable connection to the listener; music is my escape.