This month we had the chance to catch up with the very talented local singer and songwriter, Sam Ostler ahead of his 2017 UK Tour and new EP release, available from the end of March to the beginning of April. 

Sam Ostler writes and composes his own material and released his very first EP ‘She’s Leaving’ last year. Since then Sam’s career has gone from strength to strength, after finishing a fantastic tour in London last year, which then lead to various headline shows and performances, plus national radio coverage. And here at the cornfield Offices the team got to catch up with Sam over a fun game of pool! 

So, How have you been?

The last few years been fantastic, I was on BBC introducing, and since then its my music career has really taken off. I’ve had national radio play; some of the tracks have had 3 to 4 million listeners tune in.

How did you get into BBC Introducing?

Funnily enough, I played years ago and then I stopped for a while. There was a charity gig at a pub I performed at. There were about 500 people there, it was just carnage. I loved playing again and then I got a gig at The Academy in Birmingham where my friend was playing, who I supported and it went on from there. His producer who I worked with Elliot messaged me saying he liked my music but the production needed work. He was right, so we sat down, re worked my music, had a chat and discussed getting it on the radio, which was played every single day. They even played my Christmas track.

Some of the feedback I have had has been fantastic and the feedback off the national radio also, which was brilliant.

Did you have quite a lot of people adding you on Facebook and social media, after being on the radio?

Yeah, it was really great, it’s a difficult industry, but good fun and I love doing it, which gives me that drive.

When did you first discover that you wanted to become a singer songwriter?

I did it years ago when I entered a talent competition where I performed ‘Hey Jude’. It was one of those things where I did it and then forgot about it. Then 2 years later I started playing again, someone gave me a piano, which they decided they wanted to get rid of, so I started up again. I’ve only really started to take it seriously within the last year or so. The problem is, is that music can be so expensive to do, whether your getting the discs or going on ITunes. You’re looking at £2,000, before you’ve even started. It does cost a fortune. 

Although, when I went into a record store in Leamington and saw my CD on the shelves, I realised how cool that was, that was a great feeling, definitely one of my best moments so far.

If not a singer songwriter, what career path would you have chosen?

I play a lot of cricket, which runs in the family as my Uncle played for England. I sometimes coach cricket too. I used to love it, like I loved music but the music soon took over.

I hear you are going on tour? What are your plans for 2017?

Yeah, I’m going around London and doing a few different venues, which I’m really looking forward to. I played at the Troubadour in London a year ago, it was a really small intimate venue, but it’s a legendary venue, where many great icons have performed. When you see the roster of artists it makes you realise how it’s such a great honor to perform there.

Tell me a little bit about your latest material and your new record release?

My new record will be released at the end of March, to the beginning of April. It’s not 100% confirmed yet. It takes 2 to 3 weeks for my discs to get produced, then I have to distribute them, and I tunes takes a couple of weeks, so, I like to allow myself enough time for release. You’d rather have too much time then not enough.

I suppose being on tour takes a lot of time with promoting a new album or single?

You spend a lot of time promoting, you have to be on social media all the time and it can become a bit of a nuisance, but you have to do it as everyone else does it. As a musician I find it quite frustrating, as I know people who don’t do any gigs, yet they have 50,000 followers on Instagram, as its all about image, which I understand as it’s a business and you have to look at what sells. But, if your music’s good, its good and it shouldn’t be about anything else.

Where is one place that you would love to perform or travel to and why?

I’ve always wanted to play at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas (and I know it sounds ridiculous) but as you may or may not know my idol is Elton John and he does a slot every year at Caesars Palace, which only holds about 20,000, but that would be my top venue to perform.

Who are your musical influences and what is it that you love about them and their music?

I am a huge Elton John fan, and infact I have been known to go to his front door and leave CD’s on his driveway.

Has he contacted you yet?

No, not as yet but I had an argument with his neighbor.  I found out that Ed Sheeran did the same thing and he is actually on Elton’s label, so I thought why not, I’ve got nothing to lose. 

He has a smaller house in London, so I turned up with my girlfriend, knocked on the door and no one answered, so I left a few CD’s and wandered off. Then as we were walking off I soon relaised I had knocked on the neighbor’s door. She came to the door and said “have you just put these Cd’s through my door?”, and I of course said “Yes”. I explained that I thought Elton John lived there and apologised and she continued to give me a bit of a telling off. So, I then decided to ask “So does he live next door?” after asking for my CD’s back, and she said “I don’t think we should be discussing this”, which was obviously a Yes, so I just went next door. If you don’t ask you don’t get. 

I actually sent my CD’s to Guy Chambers, and I had an email back from his team to say that they really liked my music and that when he was back from being on tour with Robbie Williams, that he was going to have a listen. If it works it works.

What artists are currently on your playlist?

Coldplay, I’m a big Chris Martin fan, I think he’s brilliant and U2, I tried to get tickets to see them the other day, but they had sold out in about 3 minutes.

Chris Martin seems very real, down to earth and not polished. He is how he is and his music is fantastic. I also like ACDC, who I went to see last year. They were unbelievable. I also saw Eminem at Wembley, which was amazing. I also like a bit of Kenny Rogers.

I have a random taste in music; I like a lot more of the older material than new material. In the studio I’ve noticed how easy it is to make stuff, that isn’t even how you sound. You can even choose the Oxygen level in the studio, which is unreal, it’s barmy. The microphone I used is the same make microphone that Michael Jackson used for thriller. 

Do you do any busking?

It’s quite hard, as I play piano. I can play guitar but I am trying to stick to piano for now. I went to watch an Elton john tribute act and it just shows who you know. He had actually played with Elton John at a party. I went up and looked at his grand piano as I thought it looked really different and wandered how he had got it into the building. He explained that he had built the MDF shell to disguise his keyboard, and it looked fantastic, so I will soon be looking to get one.

What has been your biggest challenge within the music industry?

Probably getting your name out there and getting your music heard. For example the XFactor, all of the artists are all signed to Simon Cowell and it is a money-funding circle really. I actually went on the XFactor years ago, we got through to the second round and it went well but I wouldn’t have done it again. There are only a few that actually continue with their music careers like Olly Murs and One Direction, but most of them go off the radar.

What changes would you make to the music industry if you could?

I would like the music industry to be less about image, and more about the actual music, where people take time to listen to the lyrics. Like with Adelle, her lyrics are fantastic, and you can relate to them. Whereas you listen to commercial music and a lot of the time the lyrics don’t make any sense. It’s all about the money!

What is a typical day or week like in the life of Sam Ostler?

An average day involves me getting up, having my breakfast, then going into the studio, listening to what I’ve done the day before, sometimes its good to go away and have a listen with fresh ears,  as you may want to change bits. Then you get into the studio and give it a blast, trying new things. Being in the studio is awesome; it’s so creative and so much fun. I then go for a big meal at lunchtime, go back to the studios, make more music. I use a really good studio in Birmingham, and then I go home and watch a bit of Midsummer Murders to relax.

Being in the studio can be tiring, when your in their for 10 hours straight. When you’re there, you’re constantly on it. My workplace is also really supportive and my boss is great. 

Do you enjoy making music videos or being filmed?

I really don’t mind, music videos are great fun to do. The first track I did, ‘Only Young’, was filmed at a music venue. It was my bright idea to get a proper piano but what we didn’t realise was that the stage was about a metre off the floor, so there was 6 of us trying to get this piano on stage, which weighed half a ton, it was hilarious! Then when we had to get it off stage we had to almost drop it off. I’ve got a lot of great stories. After supporting at the academy, I headlined, and my name was on the board outside. And there have been some big names on that board, like Coldplay and Black Sabbath. Seeing your name up there is like Wow!

What’s the biggest crowd you’ve played too?

Festivals are normally bigger. I played at a Coventry festival last year, where there were 5,000 people watching. The bigger the crowd the better, because I get more fired up. You walk on and get a buzz. I played at a Redditch festival where 12,000 people had been previously, when I performed there, there were only 500 people, because it just rained and rained the whole day. 

Are you a fan of using social media? If so, how does it help you personally with your music?

I am getting into it! I never wanted to use it.  But, now I have people who don’t know me liking and buying my music, and I like how people share things. It’s a great way to connect with he industry.

For the latest news on Sam Ostler and to find out more about his UK Tour you can visit www.sam-ostler.com

 

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