New Music to Know: Drake Collaborator Sampha Brings His British Soul Across the Pond

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(Courtesy Beggars Music)

(Courtesy Beggars Music)

When Drake debuted his song “Too Much” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, it also acted as an introduction to Sampha — the emerging British alt-R&B singer playing alongside the Toronto rapper.

Sampha’s rich vocals provide the song’s hook, which sets the mood for Drake’s confessional rhymes about inter-family turmoil. The performance was so impactful that many fans still prefer it to the version that appears on Drake’s latest album, Nothing Was the Same. Sampha would later release a solo version of the song, alongside new track, “Happens.”

“It was quite surreal, really,” Sampha said of the performance during a telephone interview with from his native South London. “I don’t think my brain quite took it in. I guess I almost like built a small little fort, just so I could keep sane and do what I had to do. Everyone around me was really nice and understanding and comforting. Drake was really inclusive of me in terms of wanting me to be comfortable in the performance.”

Drake’s “Too Much” is an apt representation of Sampha’s style, which blends R&B with electronic production, not wildly dissimilar to fellow Brit James Blake, whose similarly plugged-in and soulful approach earned him a Best New Artist GRAMMY nomination this year.


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