Undoubtedly one of the most talented and promising singer-songwriters of this generation, Sampha Sisay has given what the world of music has craved for – a début album which is solely focused on himself. His approach to music is like no other; enjoying living in anonymity, collaborating with famous artists around the world such as Kanye West and Frank Ocean, letting them take all the accolades regardless on the contribution he may have had. However, such talent can only be hidden for so long. Through the widely praised collaboration with Electronic artist SBTRKT in 2011, Sampha’s vocals were revealed to the world of music, inevitably leading to an array of collaborations.
His modesty is what makes Sampha such an exciting artist, and is exactly the reason this album had such a high anticipation. Even during his early EP releases, the London-based artist has always given his audience enough in his music to satisfy but enough to leave us craving more. His mysterious approach to expressing his troubled life and family ordeals lead us to wanting an album such as Process from him – one that unapologetically expresses emotion.
‘Plastic 100°C’ sets the tone of emotion for the rest of the album. In this we gain an understanding of Sampha’s emotional turmoil when he noticed an unusual lump on his neck, which held more significance due to the family history of illnesses. With his mother also passing away during the recording of Process, the album overall, along with the title, is given a new meaning. Songs such as ‘(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano’ are raw and pure in emotion, revealing a side to the artist that has never been heard before. Combining the idea of writing a love letter to his mother, whilst also expressing his joy in playing the piano as a form of escapism. The song is a stand out in an overall amazing album, with his voice on the verge of cracking throughout the duration of the song. The balance of truth, beauty, and exposure of his emotions in the lyrics is like no other project released in recent times.
Surprisingly, the album also succeeds in creating catchy and somewhat more lively songs through highlights such as ‘Under’, a personal favourite of mine. The album’s name is fitting, highlighting Sampha’s patience in ensuring that he delivers the perfect body of work.‘Blood on Me’, one of his earlier released singles along with ‘Plastic 100°C’, also paints a different kind of scenery in an overall heartfelt album, here we hear a more upbeat song from Sampha, which still holds an undertone of mystery. We also see a combination of electronic synths, trap beats, and a blend of soulful vocals in tracks such as ‘Reverse Faults’ and ‘Take Me Inside’.
For a début album, this album is breathtakingly good. Having moved the release date several times, it certainly lived up to all expectations. It shows artistry to the highest degree, articulation of emotion, and sheer pain in a way which the music scene has craved to hear. Harmonious and beautiful, this album is the perfect beginning to what is undoubtedly going to be a phenomenal solo career.
Photo credit: Sampha Official Website