One of Britain’s most successful and yet elusive voices is back with his first solo material in six years.

With only so much as a debut album and EP to his name, Sampha has quietly remained one of music’s most pivotal voices. He’s navigated a career in silence while vociferously influencing the processes of everyone from Drake to Solange, Beyoncé to Frank Ocean. Remaining on the fringes, even with the announcement of his new single, “Spirit 2.0”, the singer-songwriter maintains an elusiveness fellow humble superstars could only dream of.  


Producing music as a grime MC, before making beats under the moniker Kid Nova, Sampha was soon on the radar of Young – formerly known as Young Turks – an imprint home to the likes of Jamie XX. The south Londoner quickly became synonymous with a new wave of leftfield electronica, as Jessie Ware and others captured his voice’s authentic emotion over trailblazing electro-soul productions.  

Recently re-emerged producer SBTRKT was one of the first to catapult Sampha’s introspective croons into the spotlight. On his self-titled debut, the 34-year-old featured heavily and played a vital role in the success of his live shows. But lurking in the shadows of SBTRKT’s early limelight, Sampha had already began creating masterpieces of his own. Debut EP ‘Dual’ followed a feature on Drake’s single “The Motion”, but still the multifaceted artist acted with a level of patience unwilling to capitalise on his recent mainstream success. 


Fast-forward to 2023, and Sampha’s career is looking a little different. After a four-year hiatus grieving the death of his mother, he returned with a debut album, ‘Process’. The record won a Mercury Prize and the hearts of millions who harnessed their own pain through his intimate portrayals of loss and self-discovery.  

And then, more silence. A drip feeding of features came across the next six years: Loyle Carner, Lil Silva and Actress, to name a few, before a monumental involvement in Kendrick Lamar’s latest masterpiece, ‘Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers’. “Kendrick made every single chess move to bring back Sampha and man was it impressive the way that he pulled it off.” said one giddy Redditor, and although partly correct, the announcement of Sampha’s latest single, “Spirit 2.0”, tells us that the visionary was just biding his time.  


So here we are, six years since ‘Process’, and there couldn’t be more hype around the musical polymath’s new material. “Spirit 2.0” is arguably his most ambitious production to date, utilising West African folk music, Yussef Dayes’ trademark scurrying drums and additional vocals from Yaeji and Lisa Kaindé Diaz. Sampha flits between spoken word and delicate quavers, relaying self-motivating themes with a potent sentiment: “Love will catch you, spirit gon’ catch you yeah /Faith will catch you, friends will catch you” he sings so vividly on the chorus.  


Rest assured; “Spirit 2.0” is the first taste from Sampha’s yet-to-be-named second album, which fans can hope for later this year.  


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