By Martine Ehrenclou
Samantha Fish, multi award-winner, guitarist, singer/songwriter and producer, launched her recording career in 2009 and quickly established herself as a rising star in the contemporary blues world. Since then, the Kansas City-born charismatic artist has earned a reputation as a rising guitar hero and powerful live performer, while releasing a series of acclaimed albums that have shown her restless creative spirit consistently taking her in new and exciting musical directions.
The New York Times called Fish “an impressive blues guitarist who sings with sweet power” and “one of the genre’s most promising young talents.” Her hometown paper The Kansas City Star noted, “Samantha Fish has kicked down the door of the patriarchal blues club” and observed that the young artist “displays more imagination and creativity than some blues veterans exhibit over the course of their careers.”
Samantha Fish’s sixth and latest album, Kill Or Be Kind was released to critical acclaim in September of 2019 on Rounder Records. Kill Or Be Kind found this bad** artist, killing it on slide guitar and vocals with genre bending tunes that range from blues to rock and roll. Fish is also a producer and created her own record label, Wild Heart Records. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, her worldwide tour has been rescheduled and her UK tour is rescheduled to March 2021.
Martine: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions. Our followers/subscribers are such big fans of yours, as are we. Congratulations on your success with Kill or Be Kind. It’s a great album.
Samantha: Thank you so much for all the love and support. I always love our chats.
Martine: I do too. You just released a new video “Dream Girl” for the song from your latest album Kill or Be Kind. Such a beautiful song. Can you tell me about the song and video?
Samantha: The song is about striving to be someone else’s ideal when you’re not. Being in a relationship where you’re constantly trying to live up to expectations but falling short. The video follows a fantasy and a real-life version of me. The real-life version is reading fairy tales and imagining what it would be like to be this heroine, but even the heroine is lost and looking for answers too.
Martine: On that same song, you sing “If I could give up the happy ever after, if you could live up to the dream I’ve been having.” Can you tell me about that?
Samantha: “If I could give up, a happy ever after, I’d be gone” – meaning if I could give up this fantasy/fairy tale, I could walk away. Sometimes we build things up in our minds to be better than they are. “If you could live up, to the dreams that I’ve been having, I’d hold on”. The bulk of the song is about falling short when you are putting in so much effort, but always trying to prove yourself can be exhausting and disappointing. So, this line flips the sentiment and tells the rest of the story.
Martine: When do you plan to start touring again? Your fans are anxious to know. It’s hard to tell which dates are in effect for artists with the COVID-19 restrictions. I do know your UK tour has been rescheduled for March 2021. I’m sure you and your UK fans are thrilled. Tell me as much as you can.
Samantha: It’s so hard to give any concrete answers. As an entertainer, we’ll be the last to come back full-fledged. Even though things appear to be opening back up, it’s hard to know when it will be safe for us to do shows. I really want to wait until it is safe. I’m waiting with the rest of the world to figure out how this will resolve. I’m so happy that we will be back in the UK and Europe in March 2021. It seems like a long way off, but it can’t come fast enough. In the meantime, I’m working on some new material and figuring out ways to keep it interesting.
Martine: I have enjoyed your “Samantha Fish Fridays” live streaming performances on Facebook. I recently saw the one where you played slide guitar on your Taylor acoustic. You broke a string and you handled that so well! Tell me about your approach to slide guitar playing.
Samantha: That never happens by the way! Not on an acoustic, and not while tuning down. My approach to slide playing has always been melodically driven. Find the slow pretty phrase, find ways to repeat the phrase, build the dynamics off of that. My tendency early on was to rush but slide is different. You gotta take your time and learn how to play with finesse.
Martine: Your album, Kill Or Be Kind is a hit. You have several beautiful songs on it. Please tell me about your song, “Fair-weather.”
Samantha: I co-wrote Fair-weather with Katie Pearlman. Fair-weather is sad but a little bit liberating too. Saying goodbye to relationships that don’t lift you up. Some people can walk away from us too easily, and that song is about knowing your worth and letting them go.
Martine: How are you doing with staying at home with the restrictions of COVID-19? What are you up to during this time?
Samantha: I’m doing ok with it. Up’s and down’s. I’m worried about the world. Not having a certain outlook for the future is strange because we’ve really been on the road steadily for the past 8 years. I’m focusing all my attention on writing. Working on the next thing. Putting together streams and fun stuff for our fans right now. Spending time connecting with myself and family and friends. Every time I get stuck, I try to remember that I’m really lucky. I’m trying to channel any sadness or frustration into creativity.
Martine: Has staying at home been creative/productive for you musically?
Samantha: Yes. I’ve always thought having the rigorous tour schedule and keeping up with creating for new albums was a lot to take on. This is the first time I’ve been able to slow down and carefully consider one thing. So, it has helped my creativity.
Martine: What’s the first thing you want to do when the pandemic is over?
Samantha: Besides play a show, because I truly miss that, I really want to see my family and friends. I miss them. Usually when I’d have a little time off, I’d try to see some of my people. This is the first time where I’m off and I can’t go to them. I really can’t wait to travel again.
Martine: Tell me about your guitars, acoustic and electric. Do you have a #1 guitar?
Samantha: I kind of do, but it switches all the time. I think my main guitar has to be my arctic white SG. I love that thing. I play a Taylor Koa acoustic. It’s beautiful. I have a slew of cigar box guitars, but my fav is the original Stogie Box Blues guitar. I have a mean Gibson Firebird and some beautiful Fender Jaguars. I’ve got some custom built Delaney guitars which have been in the arsenal for a long time. I bring whatever I can on the road.
Martine: How did you get into producing artists and creating a record label? You’re producing some amazing artists. What’s your plan for producing with Wild Heart Records as far as genres and type of artists. What kind of artist do you most like to produce and record?
Samantha: My manager and I started the label, I wanted to produce records, and success comes from building a strong team. I like to produce artists with unique identities. Songwriters. Rule-breakers. Because I came up in the blues world but found my way by bending the genre. You have to be unique to stand out, but sometimes people don’t want to take a chance on a sound that’s unproven. I feel like everyone on the Wild Heart roster is driven, unique, and doesn’t sound like anyone else. Check out Jonathon Long, Nicholas David, and Charlie Wooton.
Martine: What’s coming up for you?
Samantha: I just produced another record for Jonathon Long that’s slated for release soon. I’m really excited for him and to have been a part of that process. I am writing and working in the studio off and on for my upcoming album. It’s still taking shape, but this is the fun part. This is where you get to evolve as an artist, so I’m diving in fully. We have dates, but they will happen when they happen. All I can do is focus on the now, and how to come out of this stronger.
Martine: That’s exciting. I can’t wait to her Jonathon’s upcoming release and your next album! Your fans will be very excited to hear about that. Thank you for taking the time to chat with me.
Samantha: Thank you!
SAMANTHA FISH – MARCH 2021 UK TOUR
Edinburgh, Queen’s Hall
Monday 15 March 2021
Newcastle, Wylam Brewery
Tuesday 16 March 2021
Thursday 18 March 2021
London, Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Friday 19 March 2021
Nottingham, Rock City
Saturday 20 March 2021
Manchester Academy 2
Sunday 21 March 2021
Samantha Fish Online