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How Sam Fischer Turned Things Around After Being Screwed Over By A US Label

4 July 2022 | 12:06 pm | Jess Martyn

"They said, ‘We love you. We are just not going to move forward with this.'"

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On his Instagram, Sam Fischer describes himself simply as “an average Australian”, despite the fact that his career so far has been anything but. 

"I miss the energy. I miss the Australian relaxed way of life. I miss really cold beer. I miss great coffee. I miss the Thai food in Newtown. I miss so much about Australia and the Australian people. That's my home,” Fischer says.

Although Fischer’s heart belongs to Australia, LA was the city to break it, as told in his breakout hit, This City

Having been around the digital turntables millions of times and spawned countless remixes – all of them overseen by Fischer himself – the track is just as timeless as the story behind it: boy secures record deal, record company has a change of heart, boy hustles hard to get back in the game.

“I started writing with a producer in my final year of uni, and that was heard by a couple of executives at this label,” he recalls. “It was classic - a phone call from LA at two or three in the morning from a random number. I pick it up, and they’re like, ‘Get to LA, we have a record to make.’ I thought, ‘Oh my god, it's THE phone call.’ I literally turned to my girlfriend - who’s now my wife - and I was like, ‘I have to go, I have to get to LA.’

“I bought a one-way ticket and went out there, and the day after I got there, I went into the label and they said, ‘We love you. We are just not going to move forward with this, but we will help you.’ To this day, I have not heard from them.” 

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Determined not to give up on his dream, Fischer took on odd jobs, delivering Australian meat pies around LA and coaching “little rich kids” in Beverly Hills. Meanwhile, down on his luck and his budget, he developed an ingenious strategy for eating out on a budget in LA. 

“I would go out to bars, clubs, music venues – anywhere I could to meet anyone who was in the music industry. Anytime I did connect with them, I’d get the contact, and the next day I’d organise a meal meeting, and I would make sure that it was like a main meal. So for, like, six months, I'd have a meeting at least once a day, five days a week – to hustle for myself, but also to eat.” 

Many of these meetings turned into writing opportunities and collaborations with the artists who would become his support network – and as intrigued as he is by the possibilities of future collaborations, with artists like Jazmine Sullivan and Victoria Monae on the radar, he’s more than content with his inner circle – particularly after working with legendary producer Steve Mac for his latest track, All My Loving.

An apology letter set to an unapologetic beat, the song is an almost-too-relatable romp for everyone who gives and receives love. 

“I think that when you're feeling really insecure and vulnerable, you end up taking it out on the people that are closest to you, so this song really was me accepting fault and saying, ‘I'm so sorry, I've been so crap to all of you. I love you so much and I’m going to do better.’” 

Just as the track implies, the love is plentiful in Fischer’s life, and particularly within his creative circle. 

“I love who I create with right now. The people I've worked with on my project? That's who I want to work with for the rest of my life. They're incredible, amazing people, and I'm very lucky that they want to work with me.”

Fischer attributes many of his greatest career successes to friends in high places and on big stages – in fact, right now, he’s already looking forward to supporting Mimi Webb on tour in Australia this September. 

“I’ve known Mimi for years, we’ve written together – her manager is actually the reason Im signed to the label Im signed to. She’s such an amazing ball of energy. 

“Every tour I've done has come through either a text message or an Instagram message from the artist. Before I went on tour with Lewis Capaldi, we were just drinking buddies – I was staying with his first flatmate in London, I went to his show in Shoreditch, and we hung out after his gig and just got on so well. At three in the morning, we were pissed and having one of those drunken deep and meaningful calls. Then he messaged me on Instagram to come on tour.

“I think you have to have such a good village of people around you to keep straight in this very confusing industry,” Fischer says with a knowing look in his eye, and he would know, after months of couch-surfing and relying on those closest to him for the support he needed to breakthrough.

Of course, it’s often the peaks and troughs that make for the best songwriting fodder – but then again, as Fischer will attest, a great song can come out of almost anywhere.  

“Songwriting is such a weird thing. It’s like a second language, and songs happen from the strangest places. My song Hopeless Romantic came from a conversation I had with my therapist. We were talking about being a “hopeless romantic” in the sense of being unrealistic about your life. 

“You over-romanticise moments that haven’t happened yet, and then when you get there, you’re let down because they weren’t as good as what you dreamt up in your head. Other songs start with one line, like All My Loving did, and other times, it all starts with a conversation in the room - sometimes I’ll go into sessions and I’ll be like, ‘You know what? I don’t have anything – let’s just talk.’ 

Despite having worked solely as a songwriter for two years, Fischer admits that he still finds it challenging at times to divorce himself from his creations and hand them over to other artists – but at the end of the day, the drive for commercial success wins out.

“There were times when we would be writing a song and I would be like, ‘God, I would love to keep this,’ but I know that I, as an independent artist, would not get the same big push as a major label artist – so I’m looking out for my pocket, and I'm looking out for [the other writers’] pockets. It's a team effort.” 

Fischer’s writing style is a beautiful branding iron and one that may well refuse to be replicated, but he’s one for doling out practical advice for those chasing their own LA dream. 

“Surround yourself with positive encouraging like-minded driven people, and never be too proud to ask for help - from everyone. When you can afford it, get a really great lawyer, and just trust your gut with your art. Also, make sure you love doing this because this industry is really hard. Write every day, send new songs to people, and get used to honest feedback.” 

What’s not to love? 

Sam Fischer’s latest single, All My Loving, is out now on all major platforms, and you can catch him on tour supporting Mimi Webb in September – all ticketing information here.