SAMPHA – PROCESS (Young Turks)
Sampha might have only released his debut album in 2017, but he already owns an impressive list of collaborations. Aside from being a skilled vocalist, the South Londoner is an acclaimed songwriter and producer. His verses and beats have been sought after by artists such as Drake, Katy B and Jessie Ware. However, after a tumultuous past, Sampha’s time to shine as a solo artist has finally arrived.
Process is the culmination of years of loss, anger and grief. This tone is engulfed in its lyrical and musical content. The electronic sound present Sampha as a record producer. Whilst interning at his record label, Sampha remixed The XX’s Basic Space and later, his song Too Much was sampled by Drake for a song with the same name.
The electro sound is cleverly intertwined with a soulful vibe put forward by his smooth vocals and emotive lyrics. The clever imagery of how he “took the shape of a letter” in Reverse Faults, gives permission for the listener to get to know the singer through this album.
Sampha worked on Process over five years. After his mother’s diagnosis and later remission, he had to put the work on pause. The album alludes to his parents’ passing and Sampha’s own tough experiences. No One Knows Me (Like The Piano) is the album’s sole single and a standout ballad. Here Sampha takes it back to when he spent hours playing the piano at his mother’s house and possibly relieving his pain through song. In Kora Sings, the African tribal beats acknowledge his Sierra Leonean heritage. Despite the polished production, Blood On Me, a song is about paranoia, you can hear the breathlessness urgency and anger in his vocals.
The album has clearly served as a processing mechanism for Sampha. It’s clever, personal and sets him up for a promising career.