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Sam Ryder: 'After the magnesium has burnt super brightly, it’ll chill a bit'

Mr. Nimbus | 06/14/2022

Joe Wicks is back with series three of his podcast, speaking to inspirational friends and some of his favourite people to ask them what they do to keep themselves feeling mentally and physically strong.

Fresh from performing in front of Buckingham Palace at the Queen’s Jubilee, Sam and Joe chat about hard graft, finding fame in your 30s, why he owes his success to being a wedding singer and what he does to stay grounded.


SAM RYDER: “Yeah, I started doing weddings and I would not be here without it. None of this amazing stuff would’ve happened if it wasn’t for those years. I was doing it for eight years Joe. And it was a blast. Every single wedding. I Loved it and it taught me way more actually, than all the years I was playing in bands.”
JOE WICKS: “At the weddings, what kind of songs were you singing? Was it covers, was it your own stuff?”
SAM: “No I wasn’t doing my own stuff because it sounded like bad Iron Maiden. I was doing covers, but it was like soul and Motown. Basically all the music that I loved, Queen, all came back to the music my parents got me into. But yeah, you’re singing Whitney Houston three times a week at different weddings and that’s just training your voice all the time, and you learn so much about stamina. And what I found out singing weddings is, it’s such a leveler for any kind of arrogance that can form in a career in music. It’s hard to avoid having arrogance in music I think, when you’re playing original songs in front of crowds and they’re yelling… It’s the classic one, a lot of people fall down that one. But weddings are amazing and the reason is, you’re up on that stage in the middle of a marquee in the middle of Brentwood or something. You’re singing a song and you got your eyes closed and you’re thinking ‘I’m smashing this tonight, I hit that note I really hoped I’d hit, feels good’ and then you open your eyes at the end and no one cares.”


JOE: “When I started PE with Joe back in the day, I didn’t have a vision I’d have millions of followers as I’m sure you didn’t either, but what was that initial driving force to actually go in your room, stand in the corner of that room and singing your first song?”
SAM: “…I always had that dream of sharing my own music. There was a creeping feeling of that going unfulfilled in my life. There was acceptance of that but also, I would like to still keep trying. What it looked like, me trying, was overthinking and procrastination. I’d sit in my studio and make these really stupidly long laborious videos, of me playing guitar, singing, playing some drums, keys. I even had lighting set ups in that room, and smoke machines, everything… I’m sure you relate, you get an idea and you make it too complicated because you want to do absolutely everything. And it was actually causing this toxic loop in terms of my relationship with music. Lockdown came around that time, and I thought I’m really having a hard time with this procrastination thing and overthinking every aspect of my work. Spending weeks on something only to end up hating it and throwing it in the trash can on my computer. And I was like right, how am I going to tackle this. And I thought, well why don’t I just sing straight into my phone and share whatever happens, you know… And I just did again and again and again and again, just sharing a moment in time, to try and combat that tendency to overthink and procrastinate.”


JOE: “You know you said about negativity, about social media. I don’t know if you have experience with that but if you do, because in the early days when I first joined social media, people would dig me out and give me stick, say mean things, and it used to really affect me and drain me emotionally. I never understood why. How are you finding negative criticism and how do you overcome that if you do see it?”
SAM: “I don’t tend to read a lot of stuff online, I’ll read some stuff, not going to lie to you… like everyone you know we’re all human beings we get a bit like ‘I wonder what people thought of that performance. I was reading some comments from the Jubilee and ultimately, I think you need to treat the good comments the same way as the bad; they’re totally out of your control and almost like, an airing of private thought. If you put your currency and your validation into good comments, then you are essentially living on a debt that will run dry, soon. Because it’s not going to always be like that. I always say a career in music or anything that’s of a similar nature does this; it peaks and it will probably plateau. If you’re lucky it won’t absolutely nosedive, but it’ll find this sort of area of balance after the magnesium has burnt super brightly, it’ll chill a bit.”
JOE: “Yeah, totally agree.”
SAM: “And it’s that chill phase that you need to absolutely be at peace with. If you get used to that peak, then you’re in for the worst ride of your life I think because how can you sustain that dopamine. How can you sustain that validation, because it stops. The tap will just turn off. So in some ways the good comments can be, if you take them in too much, as damaging – probably more damaging than the negative ones because negative comments, we know are coming from someone in pain. And what an opportunity those negative comments are to show grace and send love, and understanding someone that’s in pain.”
JOE: “Yeah I totally agree and think you’re right and I’ve done that before when rather than react and get angry, I send them a nice message. I try and give someone some hope or inspiration or some coaching or mentoring. Just to say like whatever you’re feeling about me, you can work through it and I can help you.”

The full episode is available to listen from 15th June on BBC Sounds.

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