Mount Martha muso Sam O’Connell is about to release a new single, his first since 2016’s debut EP Down The Line.
Shanty, which Sam will launch on June 8 at Mornington Hotel’s Room 10 (doors open at 6pm), is inspired by the golden age of piracy and the 21-year-old says it’s his favourite song to date: “I’ve been working really hard on this track and I’m beyond excited for its release.”
Sam’s had a guitar in his hand since he was seven and hasn’t stopped learning and mastering his craft. At 16 he stumbled across a YouTube video of John Butler performing his instrumental piece Ocean, which inspired him to go full force with his music. With no reference other than the video, Sam practised Ocean for hours every day and began to find his own style. He researched similar musicians and the influences started coming in from the likes of Mumford and Sons, The Lumineers, The Last Bison, Passenger and Ed Sheeran, helping him improve his musical knowledge and refine his style.
At 18 he played his first show at Harba in Mornington, and the “amazing” response to his set of covers inspired him to play at every opportunity around the Peninsula. In early 2015 Sam entered his first original song, I’m Not Okay, in the Melbourne Music Bank competition, in which he finished runner-up from hundreds of entries.
Buoyed by his success, Sam later that year teamed up with Fresh Entertainment’s Chris Hoffmann and started work on Down The Line. The EP featured five original songs — Getaway, I’m Not Okay, Familiar Strangers, Should Have Got Her Name and the title track — and was launched at Gods Kitchen in Mornington to a large crowd of family, friends and fans. Since then Down The Line has racked up thousands of plays on Spotify, Google Play Music and iTunes, and has sold more than 500 copies. The EP has also been played on multiple radio stations from the Peninsula’s own RPPFM to New York’s WNYR.
In August 2016, Sam embarked on a three-week tour of Western Australia, playing shows in Perth, Subiaco, Fremantle, Baldivis, Yallingup, Bunbury and elsewhere, selling hundreds more copies of his EP and growing his fan base exponentially. This gave him a taste of touring and furthered his drive and passion to continue gaining exposure and pushing his music to different places.
After playing hundreds of shows all over Australia since the beginning of his career, Sam is continuing to perform regularly across Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula and has gained a solid fan base. With his raw and beautiful storytelling vocals, his incredibly intricate and delicate guitar work and his uplifting percussion, Sam is the whole package.
You can follow Sam on Facebook and Instagram at samoconnellmusic and find his music at open.spotify.com/artist/2KTWhtf5Tnv7Yr4rDjB6MC, itunes.apple.com/au/album/down-the-line-ep/1133599299, and triplejunearthed.com/artist/sam-oconnell