Sam Rochford is a 25-year-old Connecticut native now living in Nashville where she is living the dream writing and recording her own music. She has previously worked on both 650 AM WSM’s Nashville Today and on Boston’s popular internet radio station, WEMF.
Her latest single release, “So Easy” is charting nationally on the New Music Weekly country chart Top 65 and the IndieWorld Country Record Report, the world’s first independent country chart.
We sat down with Sam to chat about her single “So Easy,” her musical inspirations growing up and her special connection with her fans.
CM: Hi, Sam! How are you?
Sam: I’m great! I’m happy to be talking to you.
CM: Congratulations on releasing your latest single “So Easy”. What was the inspiration behind it?
Sam: My little sister got married last year in a very intimate ceremony. My brother officiated the wedding and she wanted me to say something as part of the ceremony. I figured I’d try to write a song instead of giving a corny speech and that’s where I got “So Easy”! It was actually a pretty tough song to write, my first couple drafts were way too cheesy.
CM: Are you working on an album at the moment? If so, what kind of vibe do you want it to have?
Sam: I’m working on an EP that’ll probably have 5-6 songs. I am working very deliberately making sure I pick my favorite songs I’ve ever written and recording with the best people in Nashville. I want it to be an honest reflection of what my life is like right now.
CM: You have mentioned that artists like Amanda Shires and the Mountain Goats are some of your musical influences – have you always been into this genre? Or has it evolved over time?
Sam: My music taste has definitely evolved over time. When I first started listening to music as a kid, my music taste was just whatever my dad was listening to because I was too young to buy CDs. I listened to a lot of the Beatles and Jim Croce in elementary school, which is when I started playing the guitar. In middle school and high school I went through a pretty embarrassing emo phase, and in my adult life, I’ve settled pretty firmly into indie and americana music.
CM: Growing up, what got you so into music?
Sam: My dad was a huge influence for getting me so into music. We used to play the guitar together growing up, and he worked for the National Guitar Workshop so I had pretty easy access to music lessons. I was in musical theater and a couple different choirs through middle and high school as well. I didn’t start writing songs until I was 18 or 19 years old. I started making up dumb songs about what my friends were doing around me. The first few original songs I created were really, really terrible but I never stopped writing after that.
CM: You have worked on several radio shows, how has that changed your view on music?
It’s introduced me to music that I would have never listened to under normal circumstances. When I worked in internet radio in Boston I was exposed to local music and was able to make friends with talented people I may not have met otherwise. When I started working at 650 AM WSM I was exposed to traditional country music for the first time ever! I remember one of my first days of work was actually the day Merle Haggard died and our station broke the news because one of the sales women was close with his family. Radio just exposed me to music I wouldn’t have listened to on my own, and the listeners just taught me how important and culturally relevant this music was.
CM: What have you learned about the industry from it?
Sam: I learned a lot about the side of the music industry that happens off stage. Being in radio you get to meet amazing artists, but you also get to meet PR representatives, managers, brand representatives, photographers, social media coordinators, record label executives, booking agents, and everyone else in between. So I learned how much time, energy, and money goes into being an artist and a lot of that effort is actually coming from other people being the scenes.
I also learned that the show must go on no matter what. Radio broadcasting is a performance just like singing on stage. There’s so much that can and does go wrong every time you get behind a microphone and when you’re live, you just can’t be tripped up by anything. I’ve seen veteran disc jockeys juggle huge problems without breaking a sweat and the listener is none the wiser.
But on the other hand, I’ve seen up and coming artists flub the words to a song and have to stop because they get so flustered. I think it’s important in any type of performance to just keep going and pretend you didn’t make a mistake because calling attention to the bad part of a performance means that’s all the audience remembered. Mistakes are just a natural part of performing that you can’t plan for, but you can be ready for.
CM: You have gained a lot of attention from posting videos on YouTube, what do you love about doing those videos?
Sam: I think social media in general has been a great tool for my success as a musical artist. I started putting songs on YouTube before I really started performing in public. So YouTube gave me enough confidence in my ability to be able to perform my original songs in public. It’s also connected me with people from all over the world that would have never heard my music under any other circumstance. I don’t tour outside Nashville very frequently and when I was living in the North East, I really just played locally. But I have fans from other states and other countries that have discovered me through YouTube or other social media that get to see videos of me performing live all the time.
CM: What do the fans’ responses to your videos and music mean to you? How do you keep a strong bond with your dedicated fans?
Sam: It’s honestly surreal. I can’t believe anyone besides my friends and family likes my original music, so it’s humbling when I see comments from complete strangers or friends of friends that don’t have to be nice to me if they don’t want to. The craziest thing is when someone takes the time to write to me about what a song of mine meant to them. I got into writing music because I listened to artists I admire and their music moved me, so it’s just amazing when I can do that for someone else.
I try to be very active on social media so my friends and fans can feel connected with me as a person outside of me even as a musician. I also try to do a Facebook Live broadcast every weekend where I share new songs with people and chat with my most dedicated followers.
CM: If you could tell your fans one thing what would it be?
Sam: Thank you on supporting me through this weird journey! I don’t have the big team of people working behind the scenes for me like I described in a previous question. Almost all of my growth as an artist has come from passionate people and word of mouth. So thank you from the bottom of my heart for being my team.
Watch Sam Rochford’s music video for “So Easy” below:
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