Last year was a life-changing one for Australian singer-songwriter Sam Fischer. While many consider him an overnight success, that doesn’t mean it’s been an easy ride. Fischer has already had to deal with being dropped from his first record label and had to adjust to becoming a famous face in the middle of a global pandemic. He worked many years as a writer behind the scenes for the likes of Ciara, Jessie J, and Keith Urban before achieving hit songs of his own. With that being said, his dreams of being a star in his own right have now started to become a reality.
His breakthrough single, “This City,” went viral on TikTok in 2020 soon after he signed a new record deal with RCA Records. The song’s identity continues to grow around the world and currently has more than 313 million streams on Spotify alone. Fischer’s talent quickly caught the attention of Scooter Braun, who played his song “What Other People Say” to Demi Lovato. The singing sensation was immediately impressed and wanted to jump on the track. The duo ended up releasing the song as a collaboration at the beginning of 2021 and, well, it’s safe to say it was all meant to be.
Since making his music debut, Fischer has moved to LA and has spent the majority of the last decade there. The rising star spoke to EUPHORIA. via Zoom about what it was like working with a seasoned artist like Lovato, his debut album, his creative process, and much more.
You wrote your latest single, “What Other People Say,” while you were supposed to be in another session for another artist. They didn’t turn up and you ended up creating for yourself. When initially writing it, did you picture it as a collaboration?
Yeah, so me and the artist had written the day before. It was a two-day session and they decided to not turn up and not tell me that they weren’t coming. So, I took that pretty personally and I thought that was a reflection of me, and so it kind of ties in with “What Other People Say” came from. When I was writing it in early 2019, before “This City” had happened, before anything had happened, I did not think that it would lead to a collaboration with Demi Lovato, I gotta be honest. That song was something that was on my heart and my mind and I wrote it really for myself but being an independent artist and a songwriter, I don’t know, politics can play a huge role and sometimes you don’t get to keep the songs you want to keep when other writers in the room want to pitch it. This is a really special song and it was always my song but then Scooter played it to Demi. Who the hell am I to say no to Demi Lovato when she says “this is what I’ve been trying to say, I wanna be on this song.” I’ve been such a fan of hers for so long and she killed it! I heard the song and it felt like it was always supposed to be a duet.
How long ago was the version with Demi Lovato recorded? Had you two been sitting on this version for a while or did it come out quite soon after?
I wrote the song in March of 2019 and then Demi jumped on in June 2019. I had just played New York City opening up for Lewis Calpaldi when I got the text from the producer with her vocal on it. So that was a pretty magical moment. You know, things happen, a global pandemic, so everything got pushed. I’m grateful for the timing, everything happens for a reason. It took a minute for it to come out. Hardest secret I’ve ever kept and I’m absolutely shit at keeping secrets.
You shot the music video together, which was the first time you two met. Did you learn anything from being around her or did she give you any advice?
She’s just a really cool chick. I think it’s really interesting to meet someone where so many people in the world think different and have totally incorrect opinions about. I was meeting her at a very interesting time in her life, she’s been through so much so openly and I think that’s a really scary thing to do. Especially what she’s had to be so open about. She taught me to live in the moment, what she’s really amazing at is being a professional. As soon as the red light on the camera is on she’s like boom! Her eyebrow goes up and ready to go. I love how she would just walk into a room and even though everyone knew who she was, she would introduce herself to everyone. It’s cool to connect with someone who has lived in the public eye for the past 20 years, especially when I’ve lived in total fucking obscurity for those 20 years. I think just with her, it’s learning to live in the moment and be grateful for everything because you never know when it’s going to be taken away, you never know what choice could make it all fall away. Seeing how she works is a cool lesson in itself.
Apart from your own song, what’s your favorite on her new album?
I love the Noah Cyrus collaboration, “Easy,” and “The Way You Don’t Look at Me.” I love that Demi tapped into some folkier roots on her album. I didn’t hear anything before it came out, so I was listening as a fan.
The song has gone on to do huge things for you. Do you feel like there’s pressure to main the success the song has had?
Oh gosh. Yeah! I wish I didn’t feel that because I don’t think music should be about that. A lot of people have been asking me, “what does it feel like to be a TikTok sensation?” and I’m like, I didn’t know know what TikTok was when “This City” started going viral on it. I’ve been working at this for 10 years, so it’s taken 10 years to be an overnight sensation so when you have that kind of magic happen, re-creating it is always something that gives me anxiety. Look, my follow-up was with Demi Lovato, I couldn’t be happier and more grateful. I’m really really grateful for the music I’ve been making, I’m just hoping that people can connect to it and find a safe place inside the music. I hope it allows me to make more albums and write more songs and do this for a really long time.
You’ve released three EPs already. What’s next? Are you just going to focus on singles or is another EP or album currently in the works?
I’m planning it all. I’ve been writing for what feels like years, especially through the pandemic. It’s not been the most traditional album-making process because I’ve been here in my apartment and not in the studio, but I’m really proud of the music I’ve been writing. There’s an album, there is probably an EP, there might be a collab, there might be a feature. I’m really excited, the music’s great. I’ve been working with my favorite artists and writers on it.
Have you been saving material for an album this whole time?
There have definitely been songs that I’ve written when I was independent and doing the rounds as a songwriter for others that I’ve written and not wanted to give away, knowing that I want them for me. There are some songs that I wrote years ago, there are songs that I wrote last week that I love. It’s a journey and there are lots of stories to tell and I’m grateful that a pretty average guy like me has the platform to do that.
For you, what’s your creative process like? Are you someone who is always writing and coming up with ideas or do you prefer to only write while you are in the studio?
I’m always writing down ideas. My notes app is a complete nightmare, so is my voice memos. Sometimes someone will say something in conversation and you’re like “I know it’s not the right time to say this but that’s a great song.” So, it goes kind of like that. It’s just seeds of songs and then you go in and you flesh it out.
Do you find it easier to write for other artists? Some musicians say it is.
It depends. I guess so. Only because I love playing the role of a therapist in the room. It’s really exciting for me to listen to other artists and have them tell their stories and have them write what they wanna write about. When it’s writing for myself, I kind of have to be under the microscope and as someone who is constantly working on myself, there are parts of myself I’m not totally safe with yet, so when it’s focusing on that, it’s hard but it helps me deal with stuff. I like them equally, it’s been nice to be the artist and have a bit of attention. My arrogant self is just loving it, my ego is through the roof. It’s been fun to express myself in songs.
“This City” was your first global hit. What was it about that song that you think really resonated with listeners?
If I could bottle that up and just sprinkle it on all my songs, I would! I think it’s the concept of feeling a bit hopeless in a new place, regardless if that’s a new city for them. For me, it was LA and just my life here. You know, you could make that about a relationship, you can make it about a new job, you can make it about anything. I think when people are able to put yourself into a song, it resonates and it was one of those moments in time where I look back on. It’s still kind of going on, super cool for me. Although, people didn’t want me to put it on my EP. It’s always been one of those songs where I was like, I’m going to keep on going, regardless of what anyone says. It’s introduced me to so many people, I wouldn’t have the life I have now without “This City” so I’m grateful every day for it.
You’ve worked with a number of big names — Anne Marie, Camilo, obviously Demi Lovato. Is there anyone on your radar that you would like to collaborate with?
Oh my god, always! I’m just a fan man! I’m just a fan who gets to be an artist, it’s wild. If Ed Sheeran wants me to collab as just his tea boy, I’ll go make tea for him, that’ll be sick. He’s amazing. H.E.R. is also incredible. I think Doja is sick. Up-and-coming artists, Mimi Webb, I think she is on fire right now. I could go on, Sasha Sloan, forever a fan.
Lastly, have you set yourself any goals? Is there something you really want to achieve by the end of the year?
I wanna tour. I wanna play a damn show. I wanna get back home to Australia and hug my mom. I want to put out an album, so there’s a lot I’m working on and it’s all ahead of me. Plans are in motion, there is also merch coming. We’re working on a lot.