Special to Sky-Hi
Samantha Fish talks fast and she has a lot to say, in person and through her music. Her inspiration: the human condition and the stories people tell.
“My life inspires my music,” Fish said. “I’m a pretty personal writer and there’s a storytelling aspect to it. I think that’s what connects with people and the way I get my message across.”
Her story began in Kansas City, Missouri, surrounded by music.
“My dad played guitar,” Fish said. “He still does, as a hobby. His friends would come over and have parties and play back and forth. It was an adult social thing, and I wanted to be a part of it. My mother sang in church. My sister, Amanda Fish, sings and plays.”
Young Samantha joined the music world when she was 13 years old, picking up a pair of drumsticks.
“I saw a movie with a girl playing drums,” Fish recalls, laughing. “I thought it was awesome. I liked the physicality of it.”
Fish switched to the guitar just two years later, but it wasn’t the blues that caught her attention. This Kansas City girl loved rock and roll.
“I played a lot of rock and roll covers for a while,” she said. “The blues gap was bridged when I heard north Mississippi blues, Delta blues. I heard Skip James and Charlie Parker. The John Spencer Blues Explosion was a big influence too. It was all very raw and focused on grooves.”
Fish loved to play, but never really thought about performing. When she was 17, she attended a neighborhood porch party with her father and everything changed.
“During the set, this guy strapped a guitar on me and told me to perform. There were 200 people at this party. I didn’t think about it. Just did it. It changed my life, that feeling of performing live. I never had that before.”
After that impromptu performance, music became a priority.
“It was a moment,” said Fish. “It was crazy and my life doesn’t usually work out for me like that. I remember I had my whole life planned out in another way. I thought it was a side thing.”
She has been performing and touring ever since, but says it took a while to find her voice in the blues scene. Her 2015 album, “Wild Heart,” a collaboration with songwriter Jim McCormick, is a reflection of that struggle.
“I’ve always been stubborn about collaborating,” Fish said. “You want it to be yours, you know? But I met Jim, he’s from New Orleans and lives in Nashville, and there’s a lot to learn from other people.”
“Wild Heart “ is Fish’s biggest album to date.
“The evolution was great,” she said. “We grew by leaps and bounds. I was 25 when I recorded it. Before this I always wanted to fit in. This time, I wasn’t scared of who I wanted to be as an artist and these songs are unapologetically me. I needed to step out and own this.”
Taking ownership of the music has allowed Samantha Fish to share her experiences on stage, using her own authentic voice.
“I want people to feel a part of their life in my music,” Fish said. “They’re not thinking about my story when they hear my song, they’re thinking about their own lives. It’s a healing thing. It makes the world go ‘round. You know, the human condition.”
“They have to hear their own story in it.”
Storyteller, singer and guitarist Samantha Fish will perform with her band at the 14th Annual Blues From the Top Festival June 25-26th. For more information on the artists or to buy tickets, visit http://www.bluesfromthetop.org.
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