One thing that is about the Denver music scene is some people realize that other cities are better fit and move away. Such is the case with singer-songwriter Sam Lee, who moved to Nashville this year. Lucky for us he still has family and friends in Denver and I was able to catch up with him recently to talk about his new Storyteller video series that are being released every Wednesday throughout the month – and into the new year.
Me: Tell me about Storyteller.
Sam Lee: It started out as just a bunch of videos I made in Nashville this year. They were live recordings in Warner/Chapell Studios with musicians there and we wanted to release them as sort of the series, so we decided to do one a week to build the idea of songwriting and storytelling.
Me: Do the five songs connect?
Sam Lee: Not exactly. The songs I wrote this year have been about the transition from Denver to Nashville and the changes in my life regarding that. There has been some loneliness, of course, with the move and going from such a supportive scene in Denver to not knowing anyone in Nashville. I’ve talked about this a lot but I went through some bouts of depression and the songs I’ve been writing recently have been a tonic for that.
Me: The videos are recorded live?
Sam Lee: Yes. Usually in Denver the studios use the multitracking which means each instrument is recorded separately and brought together in production. In Nashville, it’s more common to record live together and I’ve never been exposed to that. It brought some magic and enthusiasm for crafting the music back to life for me.
Me: You working with any others on the songs?
Sam Lee: It’s funny because I worked with Randy Ramirez (of The Hey Day and The Wild After) on a couple of songs – who is also from Denver and just moved to Nashville. Sometimes when you write songs together you are drawing on multiple experiences and there isn’t a clear picture of what the song will be about until it really takes off. One of the songs with Randy was like that until the end – it became clear it was about love and a driving song… but really, for me, about why I left Denver to chase something I couldn’t get here.
Me: So, why did you leave?
Sam Lee: Denver has a really diverse scene but in a lot of ways there is not an infrastructure for someone like me, especially in the way that Nashville does. Not that I am so much country music but that Nashville has a bigger “American” base. There’s just more swagger here.
Me: What’s the plan for 2015?
Sam Lee: I want to celebrate Storytellers as a whole. I plan to do a little rebranding and look for record label support. Also, I was selected for the Main stage at NACA in February so hopefully I will be playing a lot of college shows all around the country. And really I just want to keep making music and continue releasing videos like I have been to showcase that.
Awesome! I hope that Denver is on that tour list because we miss seeing Sam around. Look for new videos on Sam’s site and below is my favorite of the ones that have been released so far.
It was co-written with another Denver ex-pat Olivia Rudeen, who I have known since she was playing with her band in high school, and boy do I feel old typing that.