A few years ago I was introduced to a lovely human being named Sam Fischer, at the time, introduced to me as one of the great emerging songwriting talents in LA. He’s continued to come through in that context – cuts with Demi Lovato, Ciara and a dozen more household names enabling him to stay in LA honing his craft and building a career.
In the conversation you’re about to read, Sam’s a unique songwriter in that he injects his personal experience into songs regardless of the artist who’ll sing them, whilst many others like to exercise an out-of-body experience in their co-writing. Spending so much time in catharsis has enabled him to make exceptionally self-aware music, present in its entirety in the emotional TikTok soundtrack turned radio hit, This City.
His rise to hitmaker feels particularly exciting – he’s truly been through it. We had a conversation about the pride he hopes he’s evoking in Australian fans new and existing, bracing for the possible slash probable postponement of upcoming tours and the optimism he’s naturally gifted with in times of crisis, like this one. Nic Kelly’s in bold, Sam Fischer is in not-bold.
There’s no jumping straight into music chat anymore. How have you found the last couple weeks? How have you been navigating it?
It’s a whole new world. I was in the middle of a promo campaign when all of this hit. I was in the UK. My whole two week trip got canceled and we had to fly back to LA and I’ve been in the house ever since. It’s been like, two and a half weeks and I’m just… staying active, getting dressed every morning to start my day in my apartment, finishing songs, doing more live streams than anyone really wants to see, and trying to make as much content as possible. It’s alright.
I saw a tweet from James Blunt last night being like, “during lockdown, while many other artists are doing mini-concerts from their homes, I thought I’d do you all a favour and not”. But there’s something really nice about like… I woke up at like 3 o clock the other morning and went for a wee and as you do, ended uo scrolling on Instagram for 45 minutes. And at 3am, I got to choose between MIKA cooking and listening to Robyn, or Charli XCX doing a workout with Diplo. I just love that there’s this window into people’s worlds that I feel like we just didn’t have before. In these situations, do you find yourself being a glass half full person, or do you find your brain tends to navigate towards the negatives?
I am painfully optimistic. It’s a bit of a mental gymnastics routine. Sometimes you land well and sometimes you don’. It’s weird to not be able to go outside, it’s weird to not be able to play shows and meet people and hug people. I get a lot of my emotional energy from other people, so having to do that over the phone is just something to get used to. But we’ll get through it! I feel like the cool thing is that I’ve had time to finish the music. That’s why I’m doing now and that’s been awesome.
What’s been really cool to watch with you is when we met a couple of years ago, you were really climbing the ranks as a songwriter on other projects, so then watching the artist project really flourish in the last six months to a year has been incredible. Has it been an adjustment moving towards being ‘the artist’ in the last 12 months more so than ever?
Yeah, there’s a lot more focus on me! I have to be a lot more narcissistic about things, because I’m thinking about myself now, 24/7, rather than where my songs are going to land and who I’m going to work for. But it’s been fun. Every song that I’ve written for other artists, or with other artists, it all comes from a personal place. My writing process doesn’t really change. It’s just more now thinking about what I want to say, what part of my story I want to tell, so that’s been interesting to navigate. I’m very thankful that when This City kind of went ‘viral’ [AIRQUOTES], I was independent then and then the labels all had a frenzy and it’s all happened very quickly. I’m just grateful that I was in a position to have the music and have the team. The timing of everything is crazy. I didn’t plan for a pandemic, so we’re working around it, but we’re getting there.
It’s particularly exciting to see this this pop for you because I know how much you’ve kind of been through over over the years. And I know the early days for you were, you know, your talent was coming to the forefront. Everyone knew how good you were but landing the perfect deal and moving through that that process was quite difficult. Do you feel like there’s an element of redemption in where you’re at right now?
Yeah, I do. Well, it’s like personal redemption. I’m proving to myself that I can do this. That it isn’t all just dumb luck. A lot of it is dumb luck, but luck is preparation meets timing meets opportunity. I feel like that perfect storm happened for me at a crazy time. I went through wanting to give up, to being signed, to being dropped two years ago. And I think when I met you, I had just been dropped. I was going through it, I was like “alright, maybe this artist thing isn’t for me, I’ll work on other people’s craft,” but that wasn’t enough to me and so I’ve been this weird emotional thing. Now that I have the kind of the success, that I guess I’m having, to be embraced by the US industry, but mostly Australia putting its arms around me, it makes really emotional because being so far away I didn’t know if I would be able to translate over there. I just… I just hope I’m making people proud. That’s what it is right now.
I think you truly are. I’m starting to hear the song just naturally driving around on the radio. That’s a good sign.
I haven’t experienced that yet. I can’t wait to experience it. I just want to be walking down the street and hear it coming from somebody’s car. I’ll probably be annoying and yell out “THAT’S ME!!!!”
GOOGLE IT IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE ME!!!!
IT’S FISCHER WITH A C!!!!
The label sent me a list of ‘interesting talking points’. I’d now like to explore the ‘interesting talking points’ with you.
It’s incredible because we’ve been talking for 10 or so minutes and I have not explored any of the ‘interesting talking points’ with you. It says “Sam has been busy touring North America with the one and only Lewis Capaldi over the past year blowing crowds away”. How was said tour?
I owe so much to that kid. He hit me up on Instagram being like “alright mate, you wanna come around the US?” The tour actually started on my wedding day and my wife actually sings backgrounds for me, so it was like, our two biggest life goals and dreams happening on the same day, at the same time. The first date ends up getting canceled, so we got married, got hammered, woke up hungover, got on a plane, flew out and the next day and it kind of changed everything. Lewis is the best. I love him. We’ve been friends for a long time and we were friends before that and so being able to reach out and get that opportunity was amazing. I appreciate it.
Whilst we’re on TikTok – are you a regular TikTok user or were you one of those people that TikTok just kind of happened for? There’s like, one and a half million videos with This City in them now.
I am a… passive TikTok user. I will say I’m more of a lurker than a creator but I have been known to TikTok. It’s not great, but we’re trying!
I’ve got to get back to the interesting talking points. You’ve just been announced as the US tour support for Niall Horan has now been moved or what’s the sitch?
Not yet! We’re still on for July 9th to August 9th. I am mentally and emotionally preparing for it to be postponed but right now it’s all happening. It’s crazy. He is a beautiful, lovely man. His album is amazing. I’m obsessed with his album.
I was so happy to see it go number one in the UK because it feels like, in Australia at least, Niall is big but he’s not ‘number one big’. It makes me really happy to see that sticking to what he actually wants to do is working for him and the songs are fantastic. That’s really exciting, man.
And you’d know, more than many others, that good songs are where it’s at. I think we’re realizing in this time where we can’t really to we can’t do a lot of the external stuff that it really all comes back to the songs at the end of the day. So now we’ve got This City and we’ve got this mini EP thing that’s out, what’s gonna happen next? You’ve got this music that you’re finishing at the moment. What’s that gonna take the form of?
We’re calling it a ‘project’, right now. There’s so many songs. I had a shortlist of about twenty-seven songs. So we’ve got about ten that we’re focusing on finishing right now, I sent two off to mix yesterday, there’s three that we’re finishing right now, but this whole week has been finishing songs for me. There might be some cheeky live streams here and there. But yes, right now it’s a project, it might take the shape of an EP and an album or two EPs and an album, or just a mixtape, or whatever, what’s important for me is just to get more music out there. People want new stuff to stream because we’re all sitting at home doing nothing. It’s coming.