Aaron Samuel is a South-West 18 year old acoustic/pop/folk singer-songwriter. He has been gigging for 6 years and taught himself by ear to play keyboard and then guitar in a month (his act is quite unique because he has adapted all his work to suit a one handed playing style). His music is very diverse (which often surprises audiences) due to his wide vocal range (a complexion of previously being a soprano in a church choir, a naturally low voice and the ability to rap). He has performed at numerous events like Oxjam and has had radio features with tracks from his EP ‘Wait’ with BBC Radio Devon, Phonic FM, Torbay Hour and Riviera FM in the past couple of months and he will hopefully continue to perform live across the South-West and beyond for many years to come!
We caught up with him and had a good chat about what his friends would say about him, duetting with Baloo the Bear and being a pirate, here's how we got on....
All I know about you is that you’re a singer songwriter from Devon, please can you introduce yourself and tell us a fascinating fact about you that even Google doesn’t know?
Hi, I’m Aaron Samuel and I am an 18 year old acoustic singer-songwriter based in Ottery St Mary (just outside Exeter), and I have a very loopy cat that enjoys showers, drinks from the tap and you can wear as a scarf around the house.
If I asked your friends to describe you using just 3 words, what do you think they would say?
What I wish they would describe me as: Lord, Master, Almighty
What they may actually describe me as: Short, Caring, Determined
When did you become a singer songwriter?
I started writing poetry and stories aged 8 and that progressed into songwriting when I was 12. I was also a Treble in the Ottery church choir which was where I found out I could pick up music by ear really easily, so I started singing.
Was there one act or artist who made you want to start playing and writing music?
I have never had an idol but I was inspired by filling long car journeys and long family gatherings with something that makes everyone happier, which always seems to be music.
What was the very first song you learned to play on guitar?
Let Her Go by Passenger
What does music mean to you?
I find music amazing because of how significantly it impacts a room or a street or a stadium so I thought it would be the perfect way to try and lift people’s spirits wherever I go. I also find music as the best possible way to express myself in a way that makes people listen, so it is my form of speech in that sense.
Do you come from a musical background?
My family enjoy music but none of my family are musical whatsoever! If you class Gemini FM radio as part of a musical background then maybe.
Who would you say are your main musical influences?
I sing a lot of Ed Sheeran tracks but my main influences are the people I see around me as it is how I write my songs.
What is your idea of hell?
Silence and loneliness.
If you could have a super power, what would it be and why?
A photographic memory would make revision much easier…
What are your aspirations as a musician?
To be ‘giggin’ for a livin’ with my own songs.
If you could duet with ANYONE (dead, alive or fictional) who would it be and why?
That is a tough question… either Dan Smith, Bastille or Baloo the bear
Are you planning on taking your music forward as your career?
Definitely! I will be studying Commercial Music for a degree at University for the next 3 years to try and help with that.
There are so many young, aspiring musicians out there in Devon, is there a local place where you can all hang out and chat about songwriting and playing?
Not really, but we tend to meet up at every other gig because there are so many of us in the Devon music scene. That would be a funky thing to set up though…
Where do you play on a regular basis, do you have a favourite venue?
I play at every opportunity I get. Recently I've been playing a lot at The Kingsbridge Inn, Totnes and at the Clare Milne Centre playing for CEDA. If you want to find me then I often busk in Princesshay, Exeter. My favourite venue in Exeter would be On The Waterfront because of the quayside views.
Do you have a Soundcloud or YouTube channel where people can check out your music?
See below for all of his social media channels, he carried his EPs with him everywhere he goes, stop him and buy one!
How do you approach songwriting?, is there a ‘magic formula’?
Usually I think of most of my lyrics walking home from school and write them down quickly before I forget them. Usually I spend the next hour forming a tune in my head to match the lyrics and then I figure out chords after.
What are your views about the use of smartphone and tablet use at concerts, do you think they should be banned?
I am an avid smartphone user at gigs because they record special moments. I think they should be allowed.
What was the first gig that you ever went to and what was the most recent (as a paying customer?)
Which same three-letter word can be placed in front of the following words to make a new word:
TEA (I love tea and I figured that out when making tea) - We were actually looking for 'Day' but 'Tea' works just as well!
As I mentioned above, there are many young musicians in the Devon area, please nominate 3 that I can approach for an ‘Introducing’ feature….
If you were on a desert island and could only have 3 items, what would they be and why?
A ship, a parrot and a pirate’s hat with a feather in the top
Are you planning any festival appearances for 2015?
I have a couple of festivals coming up such as D’arts Festival but my main focus is to establish a gigging network to promote my music.
We always ask our interviewees to run through our round of quickfire questions, they know the rules, no 'passing', first answer is the one I have to take, here's how Aaron got on....
Ice Cream or Candy Floss?
Bagel or Crumpet?
Loop Pedal or Chorus Pedal?
Great British Bake Off or Masterchef?
Night out or night in?
Bob Dylan or Paul Simon?
BBQ or Picnic?
Strictly or X-Factor?
Don’t watch either but I despise X- Factor so I’ll say Strictly
Festival or normal gig?
Camping or Campervan?
Beach or Pool?
Spongebob or Peppa Pig?
Spongebob (who watches Peppa Pig?)
Sunbathing or Snowboarding?
Paperback or Kindle?
God or Google?
God (thank you Google for helping me through Spanish GCSE though)
We'd like to thank Aaron for sparing his time to go through and answer our questions, we wish him every success in the future with his music and look forward one day to seeing him live. Please take a few minutes to check out his social media pages, they're all listed below for your convenience. If he's playing in a town near you, why not get a group together and go see him, I'm sure he'd appreciate your company!