What did the process behind Process look like? It features more of his distinctive falsetto, and perhaps a little more of his occasional inner-turmoil than he felt comfortable sharing earlier in his career. Sampha says he uses music as a way to connect with others. In the past, when collaborating with other artists, he could seem a little bashful.
“I was just excited to make music and for me, that was my language. I wasn’t good at having conversations,” he says. “I learned that other people aren’t that way. People need to get to know someone before they can really open up. I guess it can be a vulnerable space.”
His soft-spoken nature carries its own stories; the youngest of five brothers, his parents migrated from Sierra Leone to London where his father bought a piano in the hope it would prove a distraction from TV. In writing the album, Sampha would read fashion and science magazines, watch movies like Electroma and Ghost in the Shell, or simply watch the snow fall while writing and producing the record. “I just want to be able to make music that creates a strong image in one’s mind.”
Now as those snowflakes snowball into success, Sampha will make his way to Sydney in May to play two shows at the Sydney Opera House for Vivid LIVE as part of his international Process tour. It’s a change of scenery from the first venues he played in, London’s Roundhouse where he’d sing with his laptop, or the Boiler Room where he’d DJ his favourite house tracks. The Opera House’s Drama Theatre is a smaller performance space than he’s used to, and one that lends itself to a little introspection.
“It will probably create a bit more intimate experience," he says. "One I haven’t had too many times.”
Sampha performed in the Drama Theatre at Sydney Opera House on 27 and 28 May as part of Vivid LIVE.