Over the past five years, Sam Fischer has emerged as a talented pop singer/songwriter who is building a larger audience each year. Since breaking through in 2019 with his hit single “This City,” he has released a steady flow of unique, quality songs and he’s collaborated with top artists such as Demi Lovato and Meghan Trainor.
This five-year period has culminated with the recent release of Fischer’s debut album, called I Love You, Don’t Hate Me (on RCA Records/Sony Music). This is an impressive collection that includes his new songs, plus “This City” and other key singles that he’s released. Here’s what Fischer says about his new album: “Apart from being the 15 best songs I’ve ever written, my debut album is an honest conversation with myself about my feelings over the last five years.”
I Love You, Don’t Hate Me provides a fine showcase for Fischer’s expressive, soulful lead vocals, and his heartfelt, thoughtful songwriting. These songs present catchy pop melodies, appealing, multi-layered vocal harmonies, and his personal, emotional lyrics.
There are many highlights on this album. Besides “This City,” the album includes Fischer’s three duets with top female artists. “What Other People Say” is a powerful song that features a soaring vocal performance by Demi Lovato. “Alright” is a hooky pop song sung by Meghan Trainor & Fischer, and “High on You” is an upbeat, easygoing tune sung by hit Australian artist Amy Shark & Fischer.
The album also contains Fischer’s new single “Hard to Love,” a piano-based ballad that spotlights his impassioned lead vocals. Other strong songs are “Hopeless Romantic,” “Second Hand Happiness,” “You Don’t Call Me Anymore” and “Carry It Well.”
Fischer grew up near Sydney, Australia, and he learned to play violin at a young age, and he later played saxophone. As a teenager, he fell in love with pop music, and he was inspired to be a singer/songwriter when he saw John Mayer perform in concert.
Here’s the video of Sam Fischer’s single, “Hard to Love.”
Fischer learned that Mayer attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, so he subsequently applied to Berklee and got a scholarship. Then he moved to Boston to attend Berklee, and graduated four years later.
After Berklee, Fischer decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue his music career. He wrote his song “This City” and released it independently in early 2018. The single unexpectedly went viral on TikTok, and Fischer also released his EP, Not a Hobby. By mid-2019, he was opening on tour for Lewis Capaldi. Then in December 2019, he signed a label deal with RCA Records.
Over the next three years, Fischer followed up “This City” by releasing several notable singles, including “What Other People Say,” “Hopeless Romantic,” “Carry It Well,” “High on You,” “Alright” and “Afterglow.”
In addition to his work as an artist, Fischer has written songs for other artists. He has collaborated with Ciara, Louis Tomlinson, Elle King, Cat Burns, Jessie J, Lennon Stella and others.
Sam Fischer Interview
We are pleased to do this new Q&A interview with Sam Fischer. He discusses his journey over the past five years, including writing his hit “This City” and his other key songs, leading up to the release of his new album.
DK: I read that you were born in Australia. How did you get started with music?
Sam Fischer: When I was very young, my mom was a big classical music fan, and she took me to see orchestras and soloists. I learned how to play violin, and I became a pretty serious violinist. Then I fell in love with pop music, and I found jazz and started playing saxophone.
When I was 11, my parents bought me an album for my birthday. It was by an Australian group named Human Nature. I listened to the whole album, and once I finished the album, I went to my parents and said, “I want another one.” And they said, “Too bad; we’re not gonna buy you one” (laughs). So I thought…Screw that; I’m gonna write my own songs. I guess I started writing songs out of spite, and to have something else to listen to.
Here’s the video of Sam Fischer’s hit, “This City.”
I fell in love with songwriting and I was always singing. There was a teacher at school that really believed in me, and told me I could do something with music one day. Then when I was 13, I went to a John Mayer concert and it was a pretty good show! I became a big fan and found out everything about him, and I saw he went to Berklee College of Music (in Boston). So I was determined to also go to Berklee, and I auditioned when I was 18. I got in, and that took me to America and I lived in Boston for four years.
DK: Your breakthrough came when you had the hit, “This City.” Can you tell the story behind writing that song?
Fischer: Writing that song was almost like a cry for help. It was not something I wanted to do. I didn’t want to go to the studio. I had been in this record deal, and I wasn’t being treated well…I was being manipulated. I was being told that I wasn’t good enough. And I felt really alone in L.A., so I woke up one day and I decided that I wasn’t going to write anymore. But my wife said, “Get up and out of bed, and go to the studio.” So I did, and we wrote “This City” very quickly (with Jimmy Robbins & Jackson Morgan). We recorded the demo in the kitchen in West Hollywood, and I sent it to my label and they said, “It’s pretty,” and that was it. Then I thankfully got dropped from that label, and it was the biggest blessing of my whole career. I put out independently my first EP, Not A Hobby, and “This City” was the last song to come out on that EP. It took a while, but it started to take off and it changed my whole life. It was the universe saying, “You’re not done yet—get back in the game,” and so here I am (laughs).
DK: Two years ago, you had a duet single with Demi Lovato on “What Other People Say.” What inspired you to write this song, and how did you connect with Demi?
Fischer: I was in a writing session with Rykeyz (Ryan Williamson) and Geoff Warburton, who I’ve written many songs with. We were talking about L.A., and the way that people come to L.A. and it changes you. And Geoff doesn’t live in L.A., so he had this outside perspective of the way that the city can change people. Then I was talking about my own experience, and we wrote “What Other People Say” about caring what other people say and letting it change you. We wrote it and it felt magical in the room.
Here’s the video of Sam Fischer & Demi Lovato’s single, “What
Other People Say.”
I wanted to keep it for myself to record, but because I wasn’t signed to a label at the time, we pitched it to (manager) Scooter Braun for Demi Lovato to hear. Then he heard it and loved it, and sent it to Demi. Demi loved it and wanted to cut it, so she cut the song and that was huge.
Fast forward a couple years, and Demi hadn’t released the song yet. And by that time I had a hit with “This City.” So we reached out to her and said, “What if we do it as a duet?” Demi said yes, and she was amazing to collaborate with. She couldn’t have been nicer, and it was incredible to put that out with her.
DK: You’ve just released your debut album, I Love You, Please Don’t Hate Me. Can you talk about the making of this album?
Fischer: The making of my new album was the most unconventional, least romantic way to make an album (laughs). You know, there are these documentaries about the making of albums, like with Ed Sheeran and Billie Eilish. And in these documentaries, they have this crew of people who lock themselves away for a couple months, and they write this album and it’s this big celebration. Within two or three months, their whole album is done. Whereas my album has been in the works for five years. I wrote my song “Landslide” in July 2018. My album has songs written over the last five years that have defined moments in my life. I think in the process of writing these songs, I could imagine singing these songs, and this is something that really speaks to me. So though I wish it had been this romantic version of making an album, it was really me going over songs that I’d written, and piecing a story together that way. Yeah it was unconventional, but I’m so proud of the album and I can’t wait to play it all over the world.
Here’s the video of Sam Fischer’s song, “I Love You, Please
Don’t Hate Me.”
DK: Your new single is “Hard to Love.” Can you tell the story of how you wrote this song?
Fischer: I think “Hard to Love” is pretty self-explanatory. One thing with my songwriting, is that I used to overthink my lyrics and my concepts. But on the day we wrote it, I walked into the session and said, “Guys, today has not been good, I had a fight with my partner,” and we just talked about love and the concept of being hard to love. So “Hard to Love” is literally about being hard to love. It was written with Geoff Warburton, who I wrote “What Other People Say” and “Landslide” with, and with Jon Hume and Lindy Robbins, and they’re all legends in their own right. The song came together quickly…the vocal is from the day we wrote it, and who doesn’t love a big piano/vocal ballad? I had to have one on the album.
DK: With the lyrics you write, it seems that several songs are about unrequited love, or the struggle to make a relationship work. What do you feel are the main lyric themes that you like to write about?
Fischer: Well I think love is the universal concept, and it’s one thing that everyone can relate to, whether it’s the love you feel for a parent or friend, or the love you feel for yourself. Or the love you don’t feel for yourself. So for me, when I write about things that I’m going through, whether that’s having to do with love or having to do with mental health or any experience, putting it in the context of a relationship allows the fans to put themselves in the song.
I try hard to share my own experience while allowing fans to kind of make it their own. For example, “This City” was a song that I wrote when I was in such a dark place mentally. And when it blew up, the amount of people that said to me, “This is a love song and there’s so much hope in it,” that has been something that was totally unintentional. But there have been a lot of people who’ve said, “There’s so much hope in your writing. It’s never like completely down in the dumps, without hope.”
DK: On your album, you sing duets with Meghan Trainor on “Alright,” and Amy Shark on “High on You.’ How did you get together with Meghan and Amy and create these songs?
Here’s the video of Sam Fischer & Meghan Trainor’s song,
Fischer: Doing “Alright” with Meghan is interesting, because we were friends first. We didn’t meet in the studio. We met through a mutual friend, and she’s been such a big champion of mine. When I opened for Lewis Capaldi in 2019, I played “Alright.” Afterwards, Meghan was like, “Yo, what is that song? I wanna be on it. Can we put it out together?” And I was like, “Are you serious? Yeah!” Then I went over to her place and we recorded it, and then life happens and the pandemic happened, and it wasn’t until the end of last year (2022) that we reconnected at our mutual friend’s wedding. She came up to me and asked, “’When are we putting this song out?” I was like, “Let’s do it.’
With Amy (Shark), you know being Australian, working with other Australian artists is so cool and important to me. I wrote “High On You” with Sasha Sloan, and I’m a huge Sasha fan. She wasn’t able to stay on it, so we were thinking about who the song would resonate with and who would sound great on it. And Amy is such an institution in Australia and we had become friends over the pandemic. She had reached out to me and said, “Congrats, and if you ever need to talk or whatever, I’m here.’ So we sent the song over, and she responded immediately and was like, “I love this, let’s do it.” And it was amazing. I went to Australia and we performed it everywhere, on Australian Idol and other shows. It went number one on iTunes there. It was an amazing experience doing “High on You” with Amy. She’s the best.
DK: Besides the songs we’ve discussed, what are your other favorite songs on your album?
Fischer: I love “Second Hand Happiness” because of the melody and the story behind it. The story is…I met someone at a drinks thing in London and we got to talking. She said, “Oh you’re from Australia…my best friend is from Australia. Maybe you know her. She’s a singer as well.” I said, “Who is it?” And she said, “She’s an opera singer.” I said, “That’s crazy; my ex was an opera singer. What’s her name?” And she says, “Alex Oomens.” I was like, “That’s my ex-girlfriend.” And it was nuts, because I dated her in high school. I was like, “How’s she doing?” Then she told me all about her and how great she was doing and how happy she was. And I was genuinely happy to hear it. Then the next morning I woke up to a message from my ex, and we chatted for a little bit, just saying how we both ended up happy.
Here’s the video of Sam Fischer & Amy Shark’s song,
“High On You.”
Then I went to the studio and I wrote “Second Hand Happiness,” about being happy for someone you never thought you’d be happy for again. And the melodies are so soaring, and the production is so cool. I love that song.
“Carry It Well” has become an important song for my fans. It’s always a nice moment in my show because I play it acoustic, and I think people have found a lot of safety and peace within that song…to know it’s okay to not be okay. Then I’d also say “Landslide.” It’s just a magical song because we wrote it when we were so drunk and it was one in the morning, and there was four of us in the room: Ink, Wendy Wang and Geoff Warburton. We were trying to write this uptempo party rock song, and it was one in the morning and we were hammered. Then Geoff stops the session and goes, “Guys, this sucks (laughs). So Wendy grabbed her guitar and was like, “Well what about this?” She played these chords, and it was this magic moment where Geoff turned to me and goes, “What if we wrote a song called ‘Landslide’?” So we wrote it and we put out the demo that happened in that room at that moment. The lead vocal was done in one take. The harmonies were in one take. It ended up being this magical, cool moment, and I adore that song. The process was so carefree.
Here’s the link to Sam Fischer’s site: https://www.samfischermusic.com/