I just try to be as truthful as possible and try to put as much of myself as I can into each and every song [...] I write to understand myself and to understand other people.
Sam Rocheford: a “musician, radio correspondent,” and self-described “enormous dork.” Off the bat, Sam’s personality shines through, making her all the more accessible to her listeners. Whether it’s her confessional writing carried by acoustic guitar or in her YouTube videos that are like hanging with a good friend, she’s immediately endearing. But she’s also driven. “I stay motivated because I just couldn't imagine doing anything else with my life. I have more passion for music than anything else.”
Musically, her influences are eclectic, with the Mountain Goats being her most formative band. “I absolutely adore the way John Darnielle writes a song.” The local Nashville scene is also close to her heart and she cites “the rise of Americana music, especially Amanda Shires and the Secret Sisters” as her favorites. In writing, she’s inspired by everything. “I get inspired for songs at the most inconvenient time and have a long list of notes in my phone or voice memos of ideas from when I'm driving or supposed to be working at my day job,” she says. “I just love telling stories so anywhere that I'm inspired by a good story or a cool situation.”
Calling herself “shy in person,” but having always enjoyed being on stage, it’s clear she’s someone in touch with her talents and what’s really important: sharing music with friends and fans, and anyone who will listen. In fact, her goal with making music is “to be able to make music [as] my full time job. I want to create constantly and write songs that make people feel things.”
How did you get your start in independent music?
I started writing music and posting on youtube 6 or 7 years ago. My friends and I would go camping a lot back then, and I would just write songs about the dumb stuff we were doing in the woods. The first couple songs I wrote were really, really terrible, because they were improvised on the spot, and I had never had any experience songwriting. But I enjoyed the process so much that I started writing more serious songs and uploading covers and originals to YouTube.
My first couple shows were almost comedy shows because my whole repertoire were these improvised dumb songs I made up about my friends.
How long have you been performing?
I've been performing since I was a kid. I've taken guitar lessons for most of my life, and I would do recitals and open mic nights from when I was in middle school. I'm pretty shy in person, but for some reason I have always loved being on stage. I started performing my original music pretty soon after I started writing. My first couple shows were almost comedy shows because my whole repertoire were these improvised dumb songs I made up about my friends.
What is your songwriting process like?
It's so different every time. I get inspired by good stories and cool situations all the time, and I'm never in front of my guitar when it happens. So, I have this long running list of ideas that I draw from when I sit down to actually write. And then I just try to be as truthful as possible and try to put as much of myself as I can into each and every song.
I think it's amazing that we live in a time where you can really get to know someone through social media without ever meeting them in person.
"So Easy" shows you turning pages of a journal. Is personal or creative writing key to your personal growth or songwriting?
Yeah, it's absolutely important. I journal a lot in order to work out complicated feelings so that I can write a song about it later. I write to understand myself and to understand other people.
Do you have other creative interests?
I love journaling and drawing (even though I'm not very good at it). I got a sewing machine last month for my birthday and I've been slowly learning how to make pillow cases and circle skirts. I basically love anything creative where you have to work with your hands.
You have a personable side "Chit Chats" on your YouTube channel. It breaks the barrier between "lofty" artist and fans. What was the inspiration for this? Or was it an idea that came naturally?
I got this idea because I love watching that type of content when other people put it out. I think it's weird when an artist separates themselves so much from their fans because artists are just people! I think it's amazing that we live in a time where you can really get to know someone through social media without ever meeting them in person. I hope when people watch my "chit chat" videos they get to know me and understand my music even more.