Samantha Fish By Lori Smerilson Carson April 1, 2021 Samantha Fish Now is the time to leave behind the depression and isolation felt over the past year and make way for true entertaining fun and inclusion for everyone to enjoy. Singer/Guitarist Samantha Fish (winner of the Blues Music Award in 2012 for Best New Artist) has put together an amazing show that will safely allow fans to forget their troubles and jam out with her bluesy, rock music. It seems like yesterday, speaking with her as she released her sixth solo album Kill or be Kind and now, she has been preparing for her newest LP. Since 2009 when the world first learned of this extraordinarily talented musician, Fish has been going strong and working hard which she continued throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. Catching up with her in between concerts, she explained some details of her new latest album, what she and her band worked on during the past year, and what fans can look forward to with her energetic and long-awaited live shows. SFL Music: So, you had a busy time at The Funky Biscuit (in Boca Raton). Two shows in two nights and a four-hour photo shoot. That’s amazing! You’re officially Wonder Woman. Samantha Fish: Oh man. Coffee is a good friend of mine. I’m heavily dependent. SFL Music: It has been a while since you’ve been to Florida. How did you maintain your stamina to do all of that? Fish: Well, I’ve been kind of getting ready for this for a while. So, it’s like when you look forward to something and you know you’re going back to doing it. You just kind of prep yourself and get in that frame of mind like, alright. I’m here today to do this and do this well, and this is my job and you know. You just gotta kind of prep yourself for it. It’s just a long day, but at the end of the day I get to play music and that’s energizing in of itself even though when you get off the stage, you’re like, for me personally, when I get off the stage, I kind of left what I had up there, so, I’m tired. So, do it twice, you know? It gets a little tiresome, but it’s energizing being onstage. You can’t help but feed off of that from people, and they’re willing to give it. Like, I know we’ve been in a live music drought for a year and I the think the audience is ready to get involved and have fun. So, it’s fun for all of us. SFL Music: What have you been doing differently at your shows with the COVID rules? Fish: As far as like our protocols for COVID shows? SFL Music: Correct. Yes. Fish: You know, the only issue I think that we run into is that each state is different. So, like when one place has a mask mandate, it’s a lot easier to enforce the masking rule than in a state that doesn’t have. Like, you know we’re going to Texas in a couple of weeks and they just removed the mask mandate, so it might be a little more difficult. My goal with this whole thing is just to put on a really safe experience for people to get out and have this outlet because I know live music is so important to my personal wellbeing, and also, I think a lot of people really, you know they get something really good out of it. Its therapeutic for a lot of people, so it’s just about proving this experience that’s safe. We’re doing these lower capacity shows, so limited capacity. Some of the venues are seated, so we’ll have tables spaced out where you do have to wear your mask unless you’re at your table eating or drinking, but then we have our front row masking too of course to protect the band. Um, no signed meet n greets which is kind of a bummer because that’s something I always like to do was after the show, I’d go out and do the meet n greet. We’re not doing that right now of course ‘cause it’s just not safe, but it’s all just trying our best to keep everybody healthy and respectful of each other so we can keep doing it. I feel like we’re getting to the point with the vaccination where it’s like we’re working our way towards normalcy. Which I’m excited about. SFL Music: You have a really booked schedule. You’re booked all the way into 2022 between the United States and Europe. What in particular can fans look forward to that’s different with this show? Fish: Well, I’m gearing up for a new album really, so right now we’re in the interim. We brought back the trio. We’ve been touring with a reduced sized band because in years past, I’ve had like upwards of 7 people in the group and then crew on top of that. So, we really downsized just for the safety of our own, you know to keep the numbers smaller. So, I’m kind of going back to my old school format of trios which is pleasing a lot of my old school fans who miss the trio. So, that’s kind of fun. It’s really energetic and the show is very organic. Like we take it a different place every night, and we’ve kind of been changing the line up a little bit, but I’ve just been playing with some really incredible musicians in and around New Orleans, and it’s really high energy and fun. And we’re visiting different moments of my catalogue over years past. Old favorites and some new stuff too. SFL Music: What can you tell me about the new album? Fish: This is actually the first time I’ve talked about it to a periodical, so I’m trying to get my thoughts in line for it. It’s really fun. Like, that’s the overwhelming thing for me on this record when I listen to it. It’s not like a crazy heavy heartbreaker of a record. I’m kind of surprised that I wrote this fun of an album in such a horrible year (she chuckled), but I worked with this producer. His name is Martin Kierszenbaum (who’s worked with artists such as Madonna and Lady Gaga) and we started working together and cowriting some songs. I wrote some of my own. I worked with some different writers. Its guitar heavy. It’s bluesy, but like everything else I do, it kind of goes in a different direction. I’d say it’s got rock influences. It sounds very like modern, contemporary. I think it sounds urgent. Like its right now. I can’t wait for people to hear it. I’m very pleased with it. I’m super proud. It’s gonna be fun to roll that out and get to play the songs live. SFL Music: Is there a date set or a title for it yet or it’s still in the early stages? Fish: I don’t have an official date for it and we haven’t decided on a title just yet. I mean, I know what I want, but It’s more than just me (she laughed) to decide, so we’ll have that kind of information here really, really soon. SFL Music: Ok. Well, that’s ok. We can do another follow up! Fish: Yeah! SFL Music: You did tell me during our last interview that your music is based on emotion. You write off of your emotions like a break-up or something that happened or politics. Did you find you wrote similarly with these new songs as well? Fish: Yeah. I mean, I always try to write from experience and there’s definitely some of that, but I think having such a year where personally feeling completely out of control of what’s going on around us, you know? I feel like the songs maybe kind of speak to this thing that I want to be. There’s a little bit more power and there’s a sassiness to the writing. It’s like kind of a take control, feminine energy record. That’s the best way I can describe. It’s like, I don’t know why that came out of a time when it’s really feeling like you don’t have any control or anything, but the album’s just kind of ballsy. It’s got guts. SFL Music: We’re definitely looking forward to it. You recently relocated to New Orleans. I know you’re originally from Missouri. What drove you to move to New Orleans? Fish: Well, a couple of years ago I was revamping the band. I’d been doing a trio pretty much my whole career and I was getting ready to open up and do a big band with horns and keys, and most of the band was going to be located out of New Orleans. My management, he doesn’t live in New Orleans, but it’s a little closer to where my business was kind of being done out of. So, it just sort of made sense for me at the time. Personally, I have always felt a connection to the city. A lot of my favorite rock and roll folklores happen in New Orleans. It just seems like a magic place for inspiration and you know, living an artful life. So, I relocated. I really enjoy the city. I really do. SFL Music: Do you feel that plays into your writing now? Fish: Maybe in a songwriting sense, but not so much like you know, I really appreciate the styling of the music there, but I’m not from there, so it’s kind of one of those things. I’m not going to start doing street beats just because it’s not innate within my art, but there’s a lot of art to be scene there. You’re just kind of surrounded. So, I think that generally helps inspire you, but I don’t think the typical sounds I think you would consider New Orleans is totally steep in my music or anything. SFL Music: So, your inspirations are still mostly like what you grew up with in Missouri. Some rock, you expressed the last time. Fish: Yeah, a lot of rock, but there’s also some like pop influence too. I think the songs in a sense are just a little more broad than what I’ve done before. SFL Music: You have a lot more guitars and gear onstage now? Last time we talked about being female and inspirational with playing the guitar. What brought about the additional? Were you buying guitars or changing things up during COVID, or how did that all come about? Fish: You know, I kind of put like a cease fire to my guitar binging during COVID. I didn’t collect any more guitars during COVID, but the opportunity I had, like I never really fully moved into my house before, and so with the year off, you’re like ok. If you don’t move in now, you’re never gonna do it. So, I had like a million guitar wall hangers and I put all my different guitars on the wall, and I’m like realizing I have stuff I forgot completely about. So, I’m kind of falling in love with older guitars again that I don’t want to say forgot that I had, just forgot to appreciate ‘cause I got hooked on something else. Sometimes you just fall back in love with your old stuff and that’s what I’ve been doing lately. I still want to keep collecting more, but I just haven’t done that in a minute. SFL Music: Sounds like you’ve been very busy. Fish: As busy as you can be, right? SFL Music: Yes, absolutely! The last time you mentioned you liked playing Fender, Gibson, Delaney and you were looking to possibly design a guitar. Is there anything happening with that? Fish: I think the next thing I’m after is a Fender Jazz Master. Again, I’m kind of falling in love with some of these older styles. I mean, last year, a year and a half ago, Gibson hooked me up with this beautiful Firebird and you know, just getting to know that neck type profile and everything. Over the years I’ve worked with Delaney and he’s designed guitars for me, but I haven’t done anything like that recently as far as designing a guitar. SFL Music: Is that something in your future or not yet? Fish: With the record and everything it’s kind of on the back burner for now. SFL Music: Did you start a record company as well? Fish: Yeah, yeah. Wild Heart Records. We put out three albums and we’re getting ready to put out our fourth. It’s really exciting. It’s nice to be on the other side of the industry from an artist to a record label perspective. It’s pretty cool. It’s nice to be a part of a team, and to help artists build brands and get their point across. Get their music out there. It’s kind of cool to do that. SFL Music: How did that come about? Are you producing? Fish: Well, I told my manager that I really want to produce records for people, and so he set me up with one of his clients Jonathon Long who was making an album and I got to produce it. We were shopping it to different labels and just decided at the end of the day, you know, I feel very close to this record. I feel like this is a good time for us to stay close and tight as a team and just really try and help lift this album up to the level it deserves. So, we started the company and I’ve gotten to produce a couple more records since. They’re all really talented musicians. Everybody that we work with, and you know, really nice people too. SFL Music: This is in New Orleans? Fish: Yeah. I guess it would be based out of there. Jonathon Long is from Baton Rouge. He’s our first flagship artist. We just did another album of his, so he’s got a sophomore record on the label that’s going to come out soon. And then, Charlie Wooton whose based out of New Orleans and Nicholas David. He was a contestant on The Voice. He did really, really well. He played in Devon Allman’s band. That’s how I met him. He’s from Minneapolis, and he did an album with us as well and I got to produce that one. I was pretty pleased with how that one turned out. I love all these guys. SFL Music: That’s awesome. So, your record will come out on Wild Heart as well? Fish: No, no. My record is going to come out on Rounder Records. SFL Music: Were there any videos you were planning on doing with the songs? You mentioned last time that you liked videos for telling more details about the songs and the stories. Fish: Yeah, absolutely. I love doing music videos. I think that’s one of my favorite things to do in post-production for an album is just getting to elaborate on the story line of the song through like a visual means. I think it’s such a cool tool for musicians, even though we don’t have MTV anymore to show that shit. YouTube is pretty powerful. SFL Music: Yes, it is and it’s been busy. Have you been doing anything with YouTube, like other artists are teaching or doing stuff to keep in touch with fans? Fish: Well, at the start of the pandemic I had been doing, just to keep in touch with people and like put out something. I don’t know, I was noticing the internet was full of negativity. Every time I opened up my Facebook feed, it just was very bleak and kind of sad. So, we started doing these little weekly livestreams. Just kind of a way to break things up and put some music out there, and then we started getting asked to do some more like bigger ticketed events with better production and something that would involve, like we did some work with Tipitina’s in New Orleans and that was a good way to help out to like sell tickets, get the band paid and get the venues some capital. So, we were doing some stuff like that. I mean, I was busy doing livestreams. I shot a lot of content. Our lives kind of became relegated to the internet. That’s kind of where our career would live because you can’t do these live shows. It’s been an experiment of how can we evolve and get creative and continue to grow something when there’s no growth, but it’s been interesting. I mean, it’s been up and down for me personally, but I feel like I’ve definitely tried to make the most out of it and give something back to the people that really make everything worthwhile you know, for me honestly. SFL Music: Is there anything else that fans can look forward to with the new stuff coming out? Fish: I think if all goes according to plan, we’re going to be putting out songs soon and start putting out videos. The record will be coming out. I have a Cigar Box guitar festival that’s coming out in a couple of weeks. A virtual festival. The Samantha Fish Cigar Box Guitar Fest. We’re making it happen in the pandemic. SFL Music: What would you say is a plus about playing with less people in these venues? Fish: Well actually, some of the venues we’re doing are bigger, so we can fit more people in there at a capacity limit. So, we can kind of do something that’s a little closer to our actual show numbers while keeping everybody safe. SFL Music: Being that there’s less people, does it seem more personal? Fish: Yeah. Well, I definitely appreciate the fact that people you know, it’s a risk every time we go out of our house right now. If you’re not vaccinated and if you’re going around people, we risk it every day going to grocery stores and that. I appreciate people coming out and wanting to go see music. Trusting us to keep them safe. I mean, we’re doing the best thing that we can do. It’s just nice. I feel like it’s such a good exchange of energy and something I personally really miss, and I love performing and I love to get to perform for people. It’s really, really nice and I hope that their feeling that too. I really appreciate our fan base and the people that love us. SFL Music: Was there anything you wanted to add? Fish: I wish I had more to talk about for ya, but all things considered, it’s like we did the best with what we could do, but there’s only so much you can do. But we’ve been working. Trying to keep creative. SFL Music: It seems like you’re keeping in great shape to keep up the pace that you’re doing. Fish: (She laughed) I’m trying to. It was hard in the lockdown man, I’m telling you. A sedentary life is not for me. SFL Music: Do you work out? Fish: I just started getting really serious about it again because when you do show after show every night onstage, you don’t realize how much work you’re putting out. Like how much energy, and so when I was at home you know, just kind of like sitting in my jamies, I started to notice the effects and change in my body. So, I had to hit the gym and I’m back in there like full time trying to combat the sedentary lifestyle. Combating she is, and triumphantly wiping out any depressed feelings of missing outstanding bluesy rock shows as only Samantha Fish can. Share It!