Michael Green Interviews... Sam Lyon
Originally posted on October 22nd 2019 here I interviewed singer-songwriter Sam Lyon about her experiences in music.
Where did it all start for you getting into music?
I actually started out writing poetry when I was very young. I always loved making up little rhymes and had notebook after notebook filled with them since an early as I can remember! Eventually, at some point down the line, they transitioned into songs, and then once I started to learn how to play guitar, the songs just kept on coming. There's never been a particular "starting point", for me, it's always just been one long journey with music.
Who are your influences?
Growing up, my first real interest in music came from Avril Lavigne, so I'd always aspire to be like her and write songs like her. However, over the years, I find that I listen to various different artists all the time and I find myself being a little bit like a magpie and taking little pieces from several different places. I actually find a lot of inspiration from watching local artists. I feel like unsigned acts tend to put a lot more heart and emotion into their lyrics because they're doing it more for themselves, rather than for a commercial aspect, and for me, that always makes for much more captivating lyrics and music. Whenever I go to local open mic nights or acoustic nights, I quite often find myself writing tons of little notes for ideas for songs!
With songwriting where do you tend to get your inspiration from e.g how do you start your songs & what's your process?
I have always written about personal experiences. That is what feels more natural. It's always like a way of venting or getting things off my head, or even an opportunity for me to understand things more clearly. All of my songs are written about things that I've been through, or things that I've felt. They usually start with a line or an idea I get when I'm out and about or listening to other music, and then I get home and pick up my guitar and I find the idea that I'm feeling the biggest connection with and whilst just completely winging some chords on the guitar, usually the song ends up writing itself within a few minutes. Obviously, every time is different, but that's usually the process I take.
How important is it do you feel it is to listen to current music as well as music from the past?
I think this is quite important actually. I love listening to old music, it just has this warmth about it. Funnily enough, I've been listening to a lot of Nat King Cole lately, and that style of music just makes you feel a way that no music nowadays does. It's that nostalgic, heart warming, "let's sit by a warm fire and appreciate how great life is" kind of feeling. I'd love to be able to write like that, that would absolutely sooth my soul. But similarly, new music is what sells, so you have to have some extent of modernism to be able to make your music appeal to the masses. Being an upcoming artist who is trying to establish myself in today's current market, new music is where I need to fit into, but we all still need to be individual and original, and old music does that very well. You can most definitely tell a Beatles song from a Queen song, whereas sometimes I feel like today's commercial songs tend to all re-invent each other and all sound far too similar!
Do you feel it is important to watch other acts perform and to watch other live music?
Definitely. I couldn't stand by this more, if I could. I grew up in a very large open-mic heavy local music scene. It was this scene that welcomed me in with open arms at the tender age of 14, and this scene that nurtured me and shaped me as an artist. It was from watching other artists perform, that I learned exactly what to do and what not do, and how to be the artist I wanted to be. Plus, as artists, we all have to support each other. It's a tough enough industry to be in at the best of times, but especially when you're in a competitive scene. To be surrounded by people who support you and encourage you, that is so valuable and so precious.
Finally what tips do you have for anyone starting out when it comes to songwriting & performing?
As I've mentioned previously, for me, the biggest boost to laying the foundations I needed to get started in the early stages of my career was definitely attending open mic nights and local shows. Watching and listening to other artists and seeing how they write and how they perform teaches you far more lessons than sitting at home and watching videos can. Write in a way that feels most natural for you, whether that's just confessing your feelings onto a page, or whether that's just an entire imagined up scenario. Forced writing never works, so just write exactly how you want to. Don't try to be someone else. Look for inspiration from all avenues, but use that to build the artist you want to be, don't replicate it.
To find out more about Sam and her music go to www.samlyonmusic.com
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