Over the course of the past couple of years, I’ve managed to spill copious amounts of virtual ink covering North Shields, UK-born, Newcastle-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and JOVM mainstay Sam Fender. 2019 was a breakthrough year for Fender: His Bramwell Bronte-produced. full-length debut, Hypersonic Missiles was a commercially successful and critically applauded effort, which was supported with some relentless international touring that included two North American tours with a festival stop at Lollapalooza and sold-out shows in Los Angeles and NYC. Fender also made appearances Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. And Fender was featured on CBS This Morning Saturday in a segment in which CBS anchor Anthony Mason chatted with the British JOVM mainstay about his seemingly sudden rise in notoriety.
Although 2019 was full of some momentous, life-changing achievements for the rising, young British singer/songwriter, the year unfortunately, ended on a frustrating and disappointing note: Fender had to postpone and then reschedule a handful of sold-out, end-of-the-year dates.
Before the pandemic struck, last year looked promising for the JOVM mainstay. Fender was hand-picked by Elton John to play at his annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Party — and he received a BRIT Award nomination for Best New Artist.
Much like countless other artists across the world, Sam Fender’s plans were put on an indefinite pause but he did manage to keep busy, writing and recording the standalone single, the anthemic 80s-inspired slow-burn “Hold Out,” and a bluesy cover of Amy Winehouse‘s “Back To Black,” which he performed on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge series. But along with that he also wrote and recorded his highly-anticipated sophomore album Seventeen Going Under.
Released earlier this month through Interscope Records, Seventeen Going Under is the most intensely personal album of Fender’s growing catalog with the material finding Fender turning the mirror on himself — particularly his adolescence and the trials and tribulations of growing up. As a result, the album is a relatable journey that careens through an often misspent youth, navigating tumultuous relationships with both friends and family and trying to figure out what comes next and how to get there. Naturally, his birthplace of North Shields serves as the setting for the album’s songs, which see him chronicling cherished memories, difficult encounters and the events that he can’t unsee. “The whole record is about growing up and the self-esteem issues that you carry into your adult life,” the acclaimed, British JOVM mainstay explains.
Seventeen Going Under‘s third and latest single “Get You Down” is a big, breakneck Born in the USA era Bruce Springsteen-ilke song centered around Fender’s earnest delivery, a soulful horn solo, strummed guitar, a sprinkle of soaring strings. While being an unvarnished and honest look at himself and his life, revealing a man, who has desperately fought against the destructive patterns and cycles of his own upbringing and his battles with crippling self-bout, the new single centered around Fender’s unerring knack for crafting rousing arena rock anthems. “This song in particular is about how insecurity has affected my relationships. Definitely one of the more personal ones,” Fender notes.
Directed by Hector Dockrill, the recently released video for “Get You Down” stars the British JOVM mainstay as the song’s narrator, desperately struggling with his self-doubt, his upbringing and with keeping a major romantic relationship together. Told through a kinetic yet gorgeously shot series of flashbacks, the video follows the car racing protagonist as he practices for a major race — and then gets into a near fatal car wreck during the race.