New York City native Sam Setton was inspired by the singer/songwriters he listened to growing up and began to experiment with his own sounds to find something that finally fit what he wanted to put out in the world. With music that can be described as electro-pop/R&B, he certainly found his sound. His honest lyrics and smooth vocals over electronic beats have been received well, even getting him a sold out show at Bowery Ballroom last year. Sam answered some questions for Cliché about his music and creative process, being inspired by travel, and more of what we can expect from him.
His new single, “Gum,” was just released January 18th and can be listened to here:
Cliché: I’ve read that you started creating music in your early teenage years. How did that come about? What made you want to make it your career?
Sam Setton: It all started with a desire to be able to create my own music that was just like the music I was obsessed with when I was a teenager. I was really into singer/songwriters, so I just started experimenting with writing my own music that was similar to them. It took a long time for me to want to make it my career though. I experimented with different sounds for literally 8 years until I finally sound something I was confident sharing with the world.
Can you describe your creative process? How do you choose the instrumentation that you end up using?
My creative process starts with an idea and a few piano chords. I sit down at the keyboard in my bedroom and start crafting a song either based off an emotion I’ve been feeling, or an idea I thought about a few days prior that I jotted down in my notes app on my phone. After a few days or weeks of crafting a song, I usually bring it to my frequent collaborator Alexander Glantz (who produced the track) and from there we discuss the sound we want to go for and just dive into the instrumentation.
Who/what inspires or influences you musically?
I’m usually inspired musically by the last few artists and songs that have been in heavy rotation for me. I tend to listen to a lot of different types of music and I’m always discovering new artists – so the inspiration never stops.
In 2018, you finally got to perform at Bowery Ballroom, which I have read was a dream for you. What was that experience like?
YES! It was a dream for me because that was a venue I frequented when I was a kid growing up in NYC. The experience was surreal. I had a ton of friends in one section too, so seeing them and the sellout crowd was honestly extremely fulfilling.
Travel seems to be a big inspiration for you. What are some of your favorite places to travel to and what about them has inspired your music?
Yes, travel is a big inspiration source for me. My favorite places to travel are definitely East Asia (Japan, South Korea), Tel Aviv, Israel and South America (Chile is a second home for me because of family I have there). In terms of what about them inspires me… that’s a tough one. I’d say it’s more of the way being away from home makes me feel. Being outside of your comfort zone does wonders for the soul.
Would you say that you travel specifically to find inspiration for your music? Where are some other places you want to go?
I do travel sometimes specifically to find inspiration for my music, but not always. I’m keen on going to Jordan, Russia and Australia next.
Can you tell me about your new single, “Gum”?
“Gum” is honestly one of my favorites. It came about after being inspired by all of my friends that were in new relationships. I was single and thinking how it’s been so long since I fell in love and I was starting to forget what it felt like. So I started channeling past emotions into the writing and that ended up becoming “Gum”.
What can listeners expect from you in the near future?
Listeners can expect a lot of new beautiful music from me, some cool visuals and a lot of killer live shows.
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Sam Setton Discusses His Music with Cliché Including His New Single, “Gum”: Image Credit: Erik Washington