Samm Henshaw at the Courtyard TheatreCultureMusicLive music
Any man who can make a One Direction song sound like a motown classic is surely a contender. Samm Henshaw has the ability to reach into the heart of a song and pull through not only the emotion, but the joy within it. Soul can occasionally sound weary and dated, but Henshaw brings a playfulness to his music that only enhances the passion.
There are influences of gospel, blues, funk, soul, jazz, reggae and straight-up deep, sexy R&B arranged in a way that makes for a progressive interpretation of soul music. Anyone who laments the state of modern music needs only to listen to 20-year-old Henshaw to know that the kids these days are still able to crank out creative and inspiring tunes.
He is accompanied by a backing band, The Sound Experiment, which is also the title of his upcoming EP. Henshaw and the band form a cohesive unit and bring out the best in each other. For Redemption, he invites one of his backing singers to join him in the foreground; together, they belt out a powerful jam that is certain to become a modern classic.
His slight frame belies a raspy, soulful voice that harks from deep within him and layers the ears with smooth, delicate tones. The lyrics show a young man who feeds his life experiences into his art, resulting in a mature, confident and endearing collection of music that has you singing along to songs that are almost instantly recognisable. On Better he belts out “I don’t need no one, no affiliation, I don’t need no boost for my reputation, but all I need is you”, splitting the audience into parts and encouraging them to sing along. In his sexy falsetto, it is like being serenaded by a young Prince.
Henshaw is only at the start of his musical adventure and is sure to have an enduring career as he is already able to tap into a classic genre and make it contemporary and relevant. The fresh-faced audience shows that there is very much a market for his interpretation of blues and soul. As he develops and progresses, this is an artist who has the potential to modernise the face of British soul music in an exciting way.
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Watch the video for the live performance of Redemption here: