By Martine Ehrenclou
Having just released her album, Belle of the West that debuted #1 on the Billboard Blues charts, Chills & Fever in March of this year and three solo albums before that, Samantha Fish has established herself as a talented and versatile singer-guitarist-songwriter and powerful performer. From blues and roots music to Americana and country, Samantha Fish is a creative musical force. Currently on tour in the U.S., she will continue that tour throughout 2018. She kindly made time in her busy schedule to talk with Rock and Blues Muse.
M: Please talk about how you chose to change it up for each of your albums. Runaway established you as a blues artist, Chills & Fever is more R&B, and Belle of the West has more elements of Americana and country. Was it a natural progression with each one according to your musical tastes or was there more involved?
S: Every progression has in some way been directly related to my musical influences growing up. With Chills and Fever, I got to express the soul and R&B side. When I began singing, the passion in soul music is what struck me. Belle of the West was all about songwriting. I grew up listening to country and Americana for the storytelling and songwriting. So, it definitely took that shape. The producers, Bobby Harlow (Chills and Fever) and Luther Dickinson (Belle of the West) were perfect for each album. Finding the right people that understand the vision and know how to execute it are so crucial.
M: Tell me about your musical life, your songwriting, singing, guitar playing. You said, “Music is my life.” What does that mean for you? What’s a typical day for Samantha Fish?
S: It’s always on my mind. Every day (at least on the road). From the time I wake up, we start working to get to the next stage. Literally. The days can be long and stressful, but the relief and joy I feel on stage is the driving force. Off the road, I’m writing, recording, fine tuning, etc.
M: Let’s talk about your guitars. You play both acoustic and electric guitar. Do you favor one over the other? Does acoustic bring out a different approach to songwriting than electric guitar?
S: Absolutely it brings a different approach. When I write on the acoustic guitar, the riff rock becomes secondary. It’s more about the melody in the voice. I primarily write on the acoustic and let the lyrics and vocal melody be the star of the song. The rest falls in after. When I do write on electric, it’s usually very guitar centric and focused on a cool riff.
M: For your next chapter, do you see yourself staying in the country blues, roots music genres? Or is there another genre entirely that has piqued your interest?
S: I like mixing genres and challenging myself. Pulling in different influences and allowing myself to evolve. I try not to focus so much on genre, and just write what’s in my heart.
M: Sounds like you allow yourself creative freedom. Let’s shift to life on the road. What is it about touring that you love so much? Gregg Allman said he felt most at home on the road. Would you say that is similar for you?
S: We see some of the most amazing things. I’ve been to places I never imagined I’d get to go. Seeing your music affect others in a positive way is powerful. Music is so unifying, and the connection I get with people through it makes the long days worth it. I love what I do.
M: That love for what you do comes through in your music. Do you write music while on the road? What’s your songwriting process like and how do you approach it? Lyrics first or music first or a combination of both? What inspires you to write music?
S: It is a combination of both. I really don’t have a set method. When I’m open to it, anything can set off a song, but you need to be in that headspace. The people around me are pretty inspiring, the road is too.
M: You’re prolific with your songwriting. Do you have a stack of songs right now that you’re itching to record? If so, please tell me more about that.
S: Haha, stack of songs? Yes. Itching to record? We’ll see. Sometimes a song will stay with me for a while, but I’m super critical of them. If I look at it too long, I get a “what was I thinking” attitude towards it.
M: I really appreciated learning that you love to work and that you are so musically productive. Do you find that both men and women embrace your dedication and involvement in your work or are some a little threatened by a powerful female artist?
S: I am seeing more of a split at the shows. Male and female. I think there are some people that will always feel threatened by powerful women. Regardless of profession. I don’t feel that from my fans or the people at the shows. I feel like we are on the same page. The ones that love me, get me and get the music.
M: What’s next for you besides a tour into June of 2018? Is there another album in the works for you to release next year?
S: I’m always writing and looking ahead. Shaping what I’ve already done into something new. As far as another release date, it is still wide open. I have two albums that I want to put a show together for.
M: Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today.
S: Thank you.
For more information on Samantha Fish, Belle of the West and her other albums:
Tour schedule: http://www.samanthafish.com/tour/