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Thursday 09 October 2008

Introducing… Sam Sparro

Posted in: Music
By Matt Akersten - 27th June 2008

"I'm an out gay man who listens to fucked-up music in clubs. I'm quite balls-out about everything" - Sam Sparro, chatting to NME magazine.

You know the routine - a new, young male music artist appears, and the world is taken with his falsetto voice, funky beats and keen fashion sense. Months of speculation follows, with bloggers claiming he's gay, the rising star musician not talking, or perhaps just dropping hints, or worse, giving us the annoying "what does it matter, anyway?" Blah blah…

So it's a joy to see Sam Sparro be so upfront on his homosexuality from the outset. See? It is possible.

"I've always thought, 'This is me, I'm happy with myself,'" he told the Guardian paper recently. "So that's what I'm here to project - so that gay teenagers don't have to get the shit kicked out of them in school and think that they're a horrible person.

"It's easier to be an 'out' pop star today. Morrissey never came out, and Neil Tennant left it very, very late, whereas Jake Shears was open from the start."

Sparro was born in Australia to a gospel artist well-known in the Christian music scene, and who passed on his love of making music to his son, though seemingly not his faith - Sam now describes himself as 'spiritual', but "not into any religion".

Now 25 and living in California, but touring and doing well with gigs around England lately, Sparro has gifted us with a self-titled debut solo album which showcases his three-octave vocal range.

So, what's this album like then? If you're a fan of Gnarls Barkley's voice, you'll love quite a few of the tracks, and he can do a great Prince-like falsetto too, with electro-funky beats backing it all up. There are some familiar groove samples, and some 80's pastiche, but his lyrics are very 'now'. We get references to global warming, Donald Trump, and even "buying my weed from a vending machine".

Some of it could have done with being edgier though, and at times the lyrics are a little bit cheesy (Track 10 - Cut Me Loose is the worst offender here), but we've heard far worse lyrics recently… hello, Madonna! I got the feeling Sparro is a lot more interesting than he's letting us in on so far.

Discover Sam Sparro and you'll be glad you did. Listen in on his MySpace page, and check out the video below - his second UK single Black and Gold

Matt Akersten - 27th June 2008