Graham Reid | | 2 min read
Every year many of the students in Auckland University's popular music course enter a Songwriter of the Year competition in which they perform their original songs backed by a professional band (and often with some fellow students pitching in).
This year's final was at the Raye Freedman Arts Centre on Thursday Sept 20 and Elsewhere thought we should throw the same questionnaire at the students as we did with the Apra Silver Scroll nominees (see here). Of course many of these students hadn't recorded their music (yet) so we can't post a track.
Here is Sam Allen and we are told that, "tip-toeing the line between charmingly playful and painfully insightful, Sam Allen is a shining singer-songwriter based in central Auckland. Thanks to the inspiration that was derived primarily from John Mayer's eloquent masterpieces, Sam's style and skills evolved and his passion grew, leading him into a life of music. Any true fan of the acoustic genre should sample Sam's melodies, and witness his performances, as Sam Allen will no doubt follow in the singer songwriter footsteps of our very best".
His Facebook page is here.
The first song which really affected you was . . .
I can remember hearing Africa by Toto on a commercial when I was quite young, and it clicked with me. I had no idea what it was, but I knew it was amazing
Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . .
Michael Jackson maaaaan! Also used to come home and listen to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack every day, the Bee Gee's were siiick!
The one songwriter you will always listen to, even if they disappointed you previously, is?
John Mayer. For me, he is just a boss dog in all areas of music.
As songwriters: Lennon-McCartney or Jagger-Richards; kd lang or Katy Perry; Madonna or Michael Jackson; Prince or Pink?
Lennon-McCartneyskees, Kd Perry... Michael Jackson, and Prince!
The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear because they are well crafted are . . .
Michael Jackson – Stranger in Moscow, Michael Kiwanuka – I'm Getting Ready, John Mayer – Another Kind of Green
Melody first? Words or phrase first? Simultaneous?
It's always been words first for me, a long walk home from town often gets the 'Robbie Hart' out of me.
The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .
David Foster: Hitman, is a great read! That guy is the wizz behind so many awesome songs.
If you could co-write with anyone it would be . . .
Tommy Emmanuel (He'd create heaven on guitar, and I'd sing over the top)
The three songs you'd insist anybody listen to because they might understand your songwriting style better are . . .
Search 'Assurance – Sam Allen' on youtube.. homie
The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)
Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again .. Unbelievably soulful
One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you would be . . .
Macarena by Los del Rio.. It would come over the speakers at a wedding, and I'd look around at everone and just nod. An old man would come over, crack a Speights.. and a country tone say 'good on ya mate'
One line (or couplet) from a song -- yours or someone else's -- which you think is just a stone cold winner is . . .
“If you want to know the moment, I knew that I was still alone, I'd found I never learnt your number, I only stored it in my phone.. you would think by now, I'd know the shape of calling home”
Songwriting: what's the ratio of inspiration/perspiration?
100% inspiration.. 0% perspiration (Rexona.. it gets the job done)
Ever had a song come to you fully-formed like it dropped into your lap?
Yea.. one I stole from my reggae band back in High School.. Boom.. take that Papatoe High
And finally, in the nature of press conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best song ever?”
I made it... under the influence of Whittakers peanut butter chocolate... and alcohol