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Byron Shire
October 20, 2021

Interview with Samantha Fish

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Songs of Samantha Fish

Samantha Fish

Bluesfest  |  18 – 22 April

After launching her recording career in 2009, Samantha Fish quickly established herself as a rising star in the contemporary blues world. Since then, the charismatic young singer-guitarist-songwriter has earned a reputation as a rising guitar hero and powerful live performer.

This is her first Bluesfest, and she’s keen, in fact its going to be a tick on her bucket list.

‘I heard Iggy Pop’s going to be there. I’ve been looking at the Byron Bay festival like every year since I was probably a kid, going, “Man, if I could only ever play there, that looks like so much fun,” because the line-up is always stacked and creative. It’s always a surprise who’s going to be there, so I’m really thrilled that I get the opportunity to come out and play for y’all.’

It was a drum kit that set Samantha on her musical path. When she was 13 she picked up some sticks and was off. ‘I thought it looked cool but dad played guitar and all of his friends played guitar and my uncles played guitar, so that was kind of like a precursor to that. So when I picked up the guitar I was about 15, and started playing, and it kind of went hand-in-hand. I started writing at about 18, 19-years-old.’

Samantha credits her shyness in being key to what attracted her to the limelight.

‘I wanted to be an entertainer. And so I just kept working at it, and when I was 19-years-old I decided I wanted to do this full-time. I put a band together. I started booking my own shows around Kansas City, and then it moved out a little bit further regionally. I started going to Chicago and stuff like that. Then I got picked up by a record label called Ruf Records and I did a project called ‘Girls with Guitars’, and it kind of took off from there. I made five solo albums with them, and the rest is history.’

For Samantha, songwriting is a very organic process.

‘I wish I could say there was a method to it, because that would be a little easier to control. Sometimes you’ll just be driving and a melody pops in your head and you’ve got to stop and record it, or a little lyric comes and you’ve got to write it down. Sometimes you’re not in the best spot to sit down and write a song, but it just comes anyway and you’ve got to just get it done and do it.

But for me, songwriting, it’s really… if you’re going to do it and be good at it, it’s a 24 hour thing. It’s a commitment. You don’t just one day say, “All right, I’m going to start writing for my record.” I really think you’ve got to keep writing all the time to keep that muscle up. It’s just like a muscle memory thing, you know? When you stop doing it for a while, the inspiration stops flowing so easily, and it can get kind of frustrating. I feel like I’ve put myself into writer’s block before because I’ve not been as disciplined about doing it.’

The secret for Ms Fish is re-invention. Every record, she believes is an opportunity to transform, even just a little! 

‘You get to reimagine the band and just what kind of presentation you’re going to put on for your fans.

I want to give them something different every time they come. I want them to be on this trip with us, and so yeah, I push myself to kind of stretch out, and really, it’s just what I’ve been listening to for the last couple years. That’s where it starts, you know? That’s where my inspiration comes from; what have I been going through, what have I been doing? And then the music sort of just shapes itself around my life.’

Samantha Fish brings her sublime acoustic guitar and her rootsy, emotionally resonant songwriting to Bluesfest this year. 18 – 22 April  bluesfest.com.au

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