Interview with Nashville based singer/songwriter SAM ROCHFORD !


Hi Sam Welcome to Anylouder . How have you been ?

I’ve been doing really well! I’ve been playing a lot of shows and spending time with people I love, so things are pretty great.

Take us through your musical upbringing ? Who were your inspirations ?

My Dad worked in music education growing up, he was employed by a company that helped facilitate music lessons and ran music supply stores all over the North East. So I had access to guitar and piano lessons from before my hands were big enough to play bar chords. I used to sit and play duets with my Dad all the time growing up, we’d play things like the Beatles and Jim Croce with my Dad doing the lead part and me on rhythm guitar! He exposed me to a lot of classically great musicians as a kid like Bob Dylan, Allison Krauss, and so many others. When I developed my own music taste and my own CD collection as a teenager I kept a lot of those influences and that appreciation for great musicianship. Some of my biggest influences now are artists that are talented instrumentalists and lyricists, that sort of thing matters more to me than flashy production or a large Instagram following.

The video of “So Easy ” is unique in the way the lyrical video concept is used? How did you come up with that ?

When I sat down to create the video I knew I wanted it to be something that fit the feel of the song itself, so I didn’t want something action packed or dramatic. And I really didn’t like the idea of the video being all about me because I’m not super comfortable on camera. I love music videos where lead singers act out something cool, but I just didn’t see myself being the star of the video. I also love watching talented artists on YouTube flip through the sketch books, so I thought I could do something similar! I’m not a fantastic visual artist, and the book itself was extremely time consuming to make, so I enlisted the help of a couple of my friends from all over the country to make a page and mail it to me! Some of the more creative pages like the hand stitched page or the watercolor peacock feather were made my guests artists.

Tell us a bit about the live shows you are doing currently.

Living in Nashville I play a fair amount of writer’s rounds which is something I haven’t seen anywhere else. At a writer’s round you get on stage with two or three other people and take turns playing songs in a round. This can be a really rewarding and inspiring experience, but it can also be terrifying! Usually I am on stage with other talented people, but you can also be on stage with real clunkers that clear the room before it even gets to your turn. The scariest writer’s round I’ve ever been to I was seated next to Jace Everett who wrote the theme song to the popular TV show True Blood… and played the song, and the  I had to follow him with a song nobody had heard of.

Being a radio personality , did you have an upper hand with publicity and stuff for your music ?

I get this question a lot and the answer is yes, but not in the way most people think! I met a ton of really great people in the music industry when I worked in radio and garnered a sort of minor celebrity from being on the air. But my moniker on air was “Social Media Sam” the radio host, not Sam Rochford the musician. I never got to play my music on air when I worked at the station because my boss deemed it a conflict of interest, so many of my former regular listeners might not know that I play music. I also was lucky enough to interview country music legends like the Oak Ridge Boys and Dolly Parton. After my interview with Dolly went live I got a ton of questions about why I didn’t slip her a mix tape, and I tell people it would have been really inappropriate to mention anything about my own music in that situation. I was interviewing her for the movie Coat of Many Colors 2, and I had about a minute and a half to talk to her. If I had wasted any of those seconds trying to promote myself, I would have missed half the interview. And she was there for an explicit purpose, to promote her own movie. She was incredibly nice, but she wasn’t there to listen to some indie artist. So that’s just a long example of why working in radio didn’t give me an upper hand in the way most people assumed.
That being said, I met a ton of really great up and coming musicians that I have made connections and friendships with, that I’ve co-written with and learned from. I learned so much about how the music industry works behind the scenes having interviewed everyone from roadies to label executives. I met my current PR representative from MTS Management through a former guest of the show I worked on. So I did definitely make important connections that I couldn’t have made in any other place, but my most valuable connections weren’t the ones people expected.
A few things you can relate to music . What other talents would you say you have?
I have an affinity towards visual arts, but I don’t know if I would say I have talent. I love drawing and typography and I’m getting better at it all the time, but it’s just something I enjoy as a hobby instead of on a professional level. I had a lot of fun making to “So Easy” book and I have some ideas for visual elements for music videos in the near future!
Being a country artist how would you describe the country music scene in USA ?

I think country music is being split into a couple of different camps. I worked in traditional country radio and there is definitely still an audience for people that enjoy that type of music. There are still traditional country acts, as young as William Michael Morgan and as old as Dolly Parton still making music. I think on most country radio there’s a lot of new music that’s closer to a hybrid between pop music and country music. I know from working in traditional country radio that most traditionalists don’t really like this. Then there’s another camp of music that would fit under “Americana” instead of country, that is actually closer to the values that traditional country stands for, but isn’t being played on mainstream country radio. I don’t want what I’m saying to be misconstrued as a judgement on any style of music, I think if someone connects to a song or an artist, then that’s just fine. But I think mainstream country is very different from the type of country that proceeded it, and this new sub-genre of Americana is closer to what country music actually is.

Are you planning on full album ?

I’m planning on going back into the studio in the next couple of months and getting 4 or 5 songs together for an EP!
Thank you Sam . Leave a message for your fans .
Thank you very much for supporting me! It amazes me every day that more people than just my mom are buying my song on iTunes, tuning into my live streams, and coming to see my shows. I appreciate each and every one of you, thank you for everything.

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