Talented sixteen-year-old Gold Coast singer-songwriter Harry Sam has had music in the blood from a very young age, performing onstage and writing his own songs before he’d even reached his first decade. Since then he’s been refining his craft and expanding his repertoire to incorporate all aspects of the creative process, from song writing through to recording and production.
In March, at the onset of COVID-19, Harry decamped into the Northern NSW countryside to commence work on his debut EP, the location of which gave inspiration to its title, ‘Stokers Siding’.
The EP has just been released, showcasing a cinematic, alternative vibe and marking him as an artist on the rise and not afraid to explore a single-minded musical vision.
We recently had a chat with Harry to gain an insight into his background and influences, how the EP came together and his life outside of music.
Can you put us in the picture as to your formative years in regards to writing and performing? And how has your song writing progressed since your initial musical forays?
Since I was five I was performing onstage, and since I was eight I was composing my own music and writing songs. It started off with short stories, then I developed them into songs and poems. Over the years, my writing has adapted and changed as I have grown through childhood. I tend to write in either a literal or metaphorical sense, but overall, I aim to tell a meaningful story.
Your new release, ‘Stokers Siding’, has just come out. Can you tell us a bit about it and if there is a common theme, musically or otherwise that runs through the EP? I understand that you were very hands on in its creation and did most of it yourself!?
I crafted ‘Stokers Siding’’s narrative to tell the story of someone’s night. It starts off with the character finally stepping into their own and unpacking their feelings (heroin) until finally, when the sun rises, they have healed themselves (Lana). I ventured into more of a raw alternative underground genre with this record, which I like and hope to be doing more of. And yes, I did absolutely everything on this record: writing, composing, playing the instruments, recording, editing, producing – everything. I need to be as hands-on as I can, to have the outcome exactly as I envisioned it to be.
Who are a few of your biggest musical influences and how they have helped define you as a person and a musician?
When I was around 18 months I became entranced with (opera performer) Sarah Brightman and her incredibly creative concerts – my parents say that is what started me with singing and music. I would always go to my nanna’s house and beg her to put her concert DVDs on. Now as I am older, my influences are from people such as Lana del Rey, Lorde, and Frank Ocean. They are all amazing artists who write and compose most of their work. I think it is important for singers in the music industry to have creative input into their work, so they can truly connect with the piece.
Are there any other bands or musicians on the Gold Coast that particularly resonate or who you associate with?
I have a lot of friends who are musicians on the Gold Coast scene who I respect and follow, especially ELSKA and Harry J Hart. That said my focus is, rather than the light and happy ‘classic’ Gold Coast genre, a more narrative and cinematic style.
Outside of music what else do you like to do in your spare time? And what are a few of your favourite hang-out spots on the Gold Coast, music related or otherwise?
Right now I am in Year 11 and finishing off my certificate IV in Musical Theatre at the National Academy of Performing Arts in Burleigh. I am in many productions, so do not have a huge amount of spare time but, when I do, I love visiting places in nature such as Burleigh Hill, Tamborine Mountain, and the beautiful Tweed Valley region, where I like to hang out with friends and write.
What does the future hold for Harry Sam – where would you like to see yourself musically in five years’ time?
I always hope to be growing and expanding musically and as a writer and producer. I hope to be creating more projects that tell a story that connect with people and their emotions. Once COVID-19 is over, I would like to travel a bit more, see the world, and of course write my music. Ideally, I would love a record deal and be an artist that brings insights that enrich lives.
Be sure to wrap your ears around Harry Sam’s new EP, ‘Stokers Siding’, which is available now.