In HERO 23 we travel to Alex Sampson’s house in the middle of Southwestern Ontario, documenting the rising singer-songwriter and social media phenomenon across a special sixteen-page feature.
Following his swift rise through countless Insta-stories, TikTok videos and Snaps, we spotlight Sampson as he begins a bold, new chapter in his life: knee-deep recording new material in LA; swapping school textbooks for air miles, commuting back and forth to the city where dreams become reality.
“I’ve recorded a lot of songs, I think it’s about twelve or thirteen… They say I’m really quick in the studio, they book six eight hour sessions but I’m done in two or three,” Sampson tells us of his transition from bedroom producer to working with a full production team in LA. “In my room at home, it’s always just me with my headphones and a really crappy microphone, so it was weird stepping into a booth with someone talking to me on the other side. They have everything ready, they just give me a couple of run-throughs of the whole song so I can learn it a bit more and then we go, verse, chorus, bridge, it’s pretty simple.”
Sampson’s interest in creating music and performing started at a young age, performing live in 5th Grade with his back to the crowd due to nerves: “I was originally going to do it in the 4th Grade, I brought home the permission slip and I was like, “Guess who’s in the talent show!” A couple of hours later I broke my arms… I was playing tag in the back field and there’s a big truck back there, I climbed up on it and my friend said, “What are you going to do now?” I was like, “I’m going to jump,” and he’s like, “No you’re not.” He ran at me, I jumped off and broke both my arms.
…So basically I couldn’t enter the talent show in 4th Grade, so I went in 5th Grade. [I sang] Goal by Owl City, it’s one of my favourite songs… I had to audition facing backwards because I didn’t want to look at anyone. As soon as I finished they were like, “Holy crap, you can sing,” and at the time I was like, “You’re just being nice.””
Having now built up his confidence alongside a body of new material, Sampson is taking inspiration from fellow musicians who have combined social media stardom with music to make waves. “I’d love to be driving and then just hear my song come on, that would be amazing,” Sampson says. “[My music] is going to be on the radio I think, starting in Canada and making its way to the US, and then hopefully international. I always hear people like Charlie Puth and Justin Bieber on the radio, it would be crazy to hear a Justin Bieber song and then me.”