Sam Callahan has just released his third single, Stitches and Scars. Many people may recognise Sam for being a contestant on The X Factor back in 2013, but since then he has been working on his music and even achieved his first chart hit with Burns Like Fire.
Sticthes and Scars is a great track for a number of reasons. The emotional lyrics not only help the listener connect with Sam, but also enables you to relate to him too. However, the lyrics in contrast with the more upbeat tempo of the song gives out a sense of hope, overall giving an uplifting mood to the song.
I caught up with Sam about Stitches and Scars, The X Factor and much more!
Hi Sam, this is your first feature on Pop Affairs, so welcome! Congratulations on your new single Stitches and Scars! Can you tell us a bit about the song and the meaning behind it?
'Stitches and Scars' is a song that I created with 100% real, raw emotion at a time when I was probably in the most vulnerable place I’ve ever been. This song comes from a place so personal that I even feared the idea of releasing it for a long time, but you know what? I think that is what makes the music beautiful.
At the time I wrote this track, I was in a super dark place. I’d made some real, what I saw as, stupid decisions and I was continuously beating myself up about them! So much so I spent whole days starring at my feet hanging my head in an insanely negative head space. Then one day my brother Toby turned around to me and told me to ‘snap out of it!’ He told me, that I have people around me who love me and they don’t love me because I’m perfect, they love me because I am me! He told me, "You could have not made those decisions, you could have not made those mistakes… but then you could also be boring, you could be a stamp collector or a bin man", he said "But you’re not, you’re Sam and as much as it sucks right now, it is partially your ability to make those crazy, rash decisions, mistakes and of course your imperfections that make you, YOU!" This resinated with me so much that evening and that’s where the line comes from, ‘Would I really be me without my stitches and scars?’.
What have you got lined up for the rest of the year? Can fans expect to hear an album any time soon?
I am working on an album right now, but there's no telling when I might decide to release it. I am a perfectionist after all and I won't put it out in a rush or anything. I am in Panto in Bolton at Christmas time playing 'The Huntsman' in SnowWhite and the Seven Dwarfs and other than that I am gigging all over the place like I have been all year! I have loved performing everywhere this year, from all over the UK to places like Canada and Spain, it's been amazing!
Many people may recognise you for being on The X Factor back in 2013, what was that experience like for you?
The X Factor for me was a real whirlwind experience and very much an emotional rollercoaster, the experience altogether and the platform the show can give a young artist to launch their career in incredible, but it can also chip away at your self belief and at your ego and leave you a little lost when you're spat out of The X Factor machine at the other end. Since leaving the show, life’s been a bit crazy! I’ve learnt a lot and I’ve definitely found myself exploring different sounds and types of music a lot along the way too, but this year I can finally say I am fully in love with the music I am creating. I had a wicked start to the year with my single ‘Burns Like Fire’ becoming my first chart hit. I’ve surrounded myself by a wicked team of guys, not forgetting the lads from ‘Mean Recordings’, performed all kinds of shows and festivals globally and I’m now about to release my third single this year, which just happens to be what I’d call my most real and honest creation to date, ‘Stitches and Scars’.
What is your ultimate career goal?
Personally I’ve always had some crazily high expectations and aspirations for myself in my career. Firstly, I’ve always wanted to travel with my music. I am an adventurous person and often you find that adventurous people get to a certain age and take a number of months or even years out to explore, to travel and to see the world! If it wasn’t for having chosen a career that requires giving so much of myself so much of the time, I’d definitely be one of those people who had embarked on some of those things. Instead, I promised myself that if I was going to choose a life in music then one of my key ‘MUST DO’s’ had to be to travel with my music! So far I’ve performed in LA, Miami, Australia, Malia and The Canary Islands among other places! I think the other general goals with my music have always been to tour and to chart!
I don’t have to be the most well known artist in the world and I don’t have to be gigging every day of my life, but I want to do the odd tour, performing to people who love my music and myself for all the positive things that I stand for and that my music has to say! I want to wake up every day doing what I love and I want the people who support me to fall in love with the music I am creating the way that I do.
What advice would you give to someone reading this who wants to become a singer?
Never stop writing. I believe that being an artist means creating art and that art in our case is the music, therefore you cannot let that flame burn out. You don't have to be the best vocalist in the world, you don't have to be everybody's cup of tea, but if you create something honest that comes from deep within your core then no one can judge that, people love whats real in 2018, not just what you think they want to hear!
If you could collaborate with any artist right now, who would it be and why?
I have a couple of different picks for this one! Whenever I go for a session in the studio, I tend to pick between five and ten references for the idea that I have come up with, or the song that I have written just to give my co-writers and producers the best chance of hitting the nail on the head when it comes to getting in the booth with me and trying to create our next masterpiece!
There are always a few names that come up almost every time and these are: Shawn Mendes, Ed Sheern and Maroon 5. I love these artists for their lyrical content, their sound and their overall vibe when it comes to creating new music and I would love to collaborate with any of them! Of course it’s not all just down to the music, I think the overall vibe of an artist in today’s industry is super important!
What has been your highlight in your music career so far?
I have two! The first one would be charting. That was awesome, to see my own music that I wrote in my bedroom about my own experiences in the charts was really something. The second though has to be the arena tour after The X Factor. There is nothing like doing the one thing you love more than life itself and getting to do it in front of 20,000 people a night! That to me, was a dream come true.
Watch the video for Stitches and Scars here: