Sampha has spoken about his inspiration and mindset while writing his highly-anticipated second studio album, ‘Lahai’.

This week sees the experimental singer, songwriter and producer perform three sold-out shows at St John’s at Hackney Church in London. With the help of Spotify, the London-born singer wanted to gift his loyal fans a carefully curated experience in an intimate setting.

On Wednesday (October 11), Sampha told the crowd to “feel free” and roam around the circular stage while they got “an intimate look into his production rehearsal”.  He and the rest of his live band then ran through the setlist, including fan-favourites ‘Blood On Me’ and ‘(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano’ from his Mercury Prize-winning debut ‘Process‘ – as well as recent releases ‘Spirit 2.0’ and ‘Only’.

In a Q&A session afterwards, Sampha explained how he wrote his upcoming album “to document, trying to figure out the process of being quite fluid in my sound”, adding that his his second LP “is a manifest of where I’m supposed to be”.

He started working on the album in 2019 before “a lot of things happened” and he welcomed his first daughter in 2020. “I became a dad,” he explained, “I was just wondering about life and big questions, feeling the need to hold onto something or portray a bird’s eye view of my life because I felt like every day was going into every day.”

With ‘Lahai’, Sampha said that he wanted to “interrogate spirituality” and was “questioning” everything at the time of making the album.

“It’s quite existential becoming a father,” he said. “I feel like, for me, music is just a place where I can go to find out how I’m feeling on certain things. It’s a therapeutic thing for me.”

The multi-hyphenate said that he was “more confident” when making ‘Lahai’. It was revealed that British experimental R&B star Ragz Originale taught Sampha how to use TikTok, showing him how popular his music was on the social media platform.

The 34-year-old told the audience “sneaking” into his brothers’ rooms to “steal their music” inspired his evolving sound. “I’m the soil and they’re the nutrients, trickling down, and I’m the roots soaking it all up,” he said.

Sampha. Credit: courtesy of Spotify

Solo success for Sampha came after years of collaborating with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean, SBTRKT, Jessie Ware, Drake, Kanye West, Solange and others.

It has been six years since Sampha dropped his critically-acclaimed debut studio album, ‘Process’, which NME awarded four stars – saying the LP “might not be as bold or as inventive or as life-changing as some of the other records Sampha’s had a hand in during his career, but it does have a quiet, dignified impact that suits its maker.”

‘Lahai’ will be released next Friday (October 20) via Young/XL Recordings. Fans can pre-order the album here.

In other news, Sampha is one of the artists chosen to perform at this year’s BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge Month alongside Olivia Rodrigo, Doja Cat, Royal Blood and more. His performances will be uploaded to BBC Radio 1’s YouTube channel this Monday (October 16).

The post Sampha wants to “interrogate spirituality” on new album ‘Lahai’ appeared first on NME.


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