Sampha

November 16, 1988
  • Sampha Sisay was born in South London to immigrants from Sierra Leone. He is the youngest of five brothers.
  • He gravitated to music early, starting to play the piano at the age of 3. The piano was purchased from an elderly neighbor by his father and was intended to provide an alternative to television. Sampha pays tribute to the musical instrument on the Process track "(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano."
  • Early inspirations were his father's eclectic record collection and his PE teacher who also happened to teach music.
  • When Sampha was 12, one of his brothers introduced him to Cubase editing software. His first song, "God's Promise," grappled with faith. "I think there's a clarity when you're young," he told Billboard magazine.
  • In 2008, Sampha hooked up with electronic artist SBTRKT after the electronic artist heard his song "Subconscious" on MySpace. He co-wrote and sang on half of SBTRKT's self-titled debut album, which was released in 2011.
  • Sampha's big breakthrough came in 2013 when he co-produced and sung on Drake's Nothing Was The Same track "Too Much." He also contributed to the Toronto MC's NWTS Best Buy bonus track "The Motion." As a result, Sampha was flown out to New York to perform alongside the rapper on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.
  • Sampha continued to make appearance on high-profile artists records. His uncredited vocals feature in the middle of Beyoncé's 2013 Drake collaboration "Mine" and three years later Sampha popped up on discs by Kanye West ("Saint Pablo"), Frank Ocean ("Endless") and Solange ("Don't Touch My Hair").
  • Sampha's debut solo album Process was released on February 3, 2017 by Young Turks. The record won the 2017 Mercury Music Prize honoring the best British album of the year. The judging panel said:

    "Sampha's Process is a beautifully intimate record. With its unique creativity, rich musicality, depth and vulnerability, it resonates emotionally and speaks to the heart. When you discover this record you'll want to live with it, share it and celebrate it."

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