With songs about dopamine-hungry millennials, an Orwellian future dystopia, toxic masculinity and misogyny, Fender expresses truth and lived emotion
A songwriter who digs deep into real life and his surroundings.
Sam Fender grew up in North Shields, a fishing town 13km from Newcastle on the north bank of the river Tyne. His birthplace is the inspiration for his breakthrough song, Dead Boys, which addresses male suicide in small towns. “We close our eyes / learn our pain / nobody ever could explain / all the dead boys in our hometown,” Fender sings poignantly on the song that uses tumultuous and bright guitar tones to augment the cathartic sentiment expressed.
Fender first appeared on the BBC Sound of 2018 list at the start of this year after slowly and steadily growing his reputation with a series of singles since 2017 that showcased an artist interested in expressing lived emotion. Songs about dopamine-hungry millennials, an Orwellian future dystopia, toxic masculinity-fuelled drunk fighting, mistreatment of women and getting stuck in a one-horse town – Ed Sheeran this ain’t.
Fender’s most recent single, That Sound, a “feck the begrudgers” anthem, has a surprising influence of Simple Minds, recalling the 1980s era of emotive rock that Jim Kerr was a natural fit for. Over a handful of songs and a debut EP, Fender’s music has retained its own identity and avoided regurgitation.