Check out this exclusive interview we did with Sam where we ask him as much as we could about as much as we could.
Also check out his new single
'SOMETHING TO PROVE' OUT NOW!
When did you decide that a career in music was for you?
I don't think it was ever a decision as such. It just went that way! I have been performing from the age of 8 years old, so growing up I did a lot of theatre and acting. However in the background from the age of about 13 I bought a guitar and had started to teach myself at home, this lead to writing songs and that lead to me wanting other people to hear those songs. I did a lot of social media work re my music from the age of about 15 and managed to begin building myself a fanbase. At 16 I was noticed and signed by former Spice Girl, Geri Halliwell and Pop Mogul Simon Fuller who put me in a mixed pop group.
This was great for a while, but after some time elapsed I felt that the band was no progressing so I left.
I passed my driving test at 17 and ferried myself all over the UK to do free gigs and get my music noticed. Unfortunately I was attempting to fund this through a part time bar job which I had at the time... Evidently I eventually ran out of money!
At this point I embarked on an anti bullying schools tour where I was paid (not much, but something) to speak about bullying and social media and where they also let me perform a few songs at the end to each school that I went to. This for me was a great deal as I was able to spread the word about my music whilst being paid to do something else also very worth while.
However once again, when this came to an end, the finances ran out and my options became very few and far between!
After which I tried for The X Factor and although I can't pretend it's been exactly smooth sailing ever since, my path to have a career in music was definitely ver much cemented in my mind by this point.
Leaving The X Factor and going back to working at a bar or a normal job, was not an option in my view.
So I did what I could move the years to push myself and keep the ball rolling so to speak!
Who are your musical inspirations and why?
Right now I love Lewis Capaldi, I love his latest music and I even think some of my new songs have a bit of an LC influence in them too. But I do take influence from all sorts of artists from, Shawn Mendes to The Script, to Maroon 5.
Can you tell me 3 things about yourself that people might not already know?
1 - I am a Motorsport Enthusiast and an amateur racing driver in my down time.
2 - I have a brother who lives in the USA.
3 - I once sang to Chad Kroeger from Nickleback in a hotel bar at 3am which lead to him inviting myself and all of my family to their concert at The o2 the next day!
What song of yours best describes you and why?
'Stitches and Scars'.
I'm by no means perfect but I mean well and all of my imperfections also add to who I am as a person.
The lyrics to S+S go, 'Would I really be me without my Stitches and Scars?' which I think sums that up nicely!
What has been the best gig you have done to date and why?
Thats a tough question but to name a few:
Maspalomas Pride in GranCan 2016 - This event consisted of 70,000 people.
Wolverhampton Wonderers Event 2018 - With 35,000 people.
The o2 Arena (The X factor Tour) 2014 - 20,000 People.
Wembley Arena (The X factor Tour) 2014 - 20,000 People.
South Hampton Pride 2019 - 20,000 People.
The Abbey - Los Angeles - 1,500 people.
If you could perform a gig at any venue where would it be and why?
Madison Square Gardens - New York. | IMO That place is like the holy grail of music venues!
What has been your best achievement to date and what would you like to achieve in the future?
The single I just released reached #26 in the Pop Chart and #82 in the 'All comers' (All Genres) chart making it my first Top 40 Pop hit and my first Top 100 in the (All Genres) charts.
Tell me a story from backstage or after a gig?
In Gran Can after Mas Palomas Pride, myself, my brother and a bunch of the other artists who were on at the event went and skinny dipped in a hotel pool after a few too many and got thrown out by the security! WOOPS.
What do you like best about being a musician and why?
I have always loved the fact that writing music allows me to express my feelings and turn them into a creative, fun piece of work, but my personal favourite thing about performing is standing on stage and having a live and enthusiastic audience sing your own lyrics back to you!
There isn't much that can beat that.
If you were not in the job you are now what would you be doing?
I'd probably be trying to be a racing driver! (The Office 9-5 was never gonna quite cut it!)
What has been the best gig you have been too as a fan and can you tell us about it?
Nickleback - The o2 Arena London.
One day I was in London with a friend and after a few drinks they asked me to sing something to their other friend who had joined us in the hotel bar. When I had finished singing a thick Canadian accent uttered from behind me, "Wow dude, that's a beautiful voice you've got there!"
I turned and was mind blown to see that it was the lead singer from Nickelback.
After this I spent hours chatting to them all about my career and where I want to go in life! That night the band invited myself and my whole family to watch their concert at The o2 Arena.
We stood in VIP and watched the show and it was like something out of a movie. After the show my whole family were invited back to the back stage area and literally the full band and my family started drinking and having our own little after show party which was incredible.
My highlight memory is watching my Dad and Chad Kroeger singing Neil Diamond songs with their arms around each other and a Heineken in the other hand!
What would your ideal festival line up be and why?
Lewis Capaldi, Robbie Williams, Queen, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Nickelback, James Arthur and Myself!
No Idea why, I just think that'd be super cool.
What would you say is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
I don't think he knows this, but my Dad used to have a framed Winston Churchill quote on his desk at work and one day when I went to the office with him, he showed me it.
The quote goes: "Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in."
I must have been about 5 when I saw this, but I've applied it in everything I've done as I grew up!
It's funny how something that was just a passing gesture like that has stayed with me and had so much influence in my life.
What things make you happy and what things annoy you?
Right now, nothing would make me more happy than to see my family. Obviously as I answer these questions, I'm sat in isolation.
So seeing those I love would make me super happy.
What annoys me the most... bad drivers! Hahaha...
What things do you like to do when you are away from music?
Mostly, race cars.
But obviously I can't do that all the time, so I love to socialise with friends and see family, BBQs are my favourite, so I'm hoping for lots of those in the summer as lockdown lifts.
Do you think social media and the internet are a good thing in the music industry?
I think like most things it has it's pros and its cons.
I could not have done my job the way I have without the outreach and engagement which I have access to thanks to social media, however social media is also to blame for some of the darkest head spaces which I've ever experienced.
How important do you think you look and image is when it comes to being in the music industry?
So my opinion is that this is very much a territorial thing.
If you look at the U.S they love a pretty person. If you go to LA to make music, they care about how you look and you have to have straight white teeth and perfect hair, however here in the UK, I'm not sure that helps at all!
Infact I would go as far as to say that in the UK if you're too well groomed then people thing you've got a stick up your butt so to speak!
Some of our greatest artists right now would all be the first to admit they aren't / haven't always been the prettiest in the playground.
Lewis Capaldi, Ed Sheeran and Adele were all criticised for their look when they first started out... now look at them!
Can you tell us about any tattoos you have and the significance of them to you?
Well I have a lot!
I have one on my back which is a Celtic tattoo for my family's coat of arms, back when Callahan was spelt, 'Callagahan', back to my Irish routes.
This always makes me sound posh, but any family born in the UK will have had a coat of arms at some point, no matter their class.
If you run the country for a day what would you change about it and why?
If I ran the country, the first thing I'd change would be me running the country!
That would be a terrible idea, I'm not going to lie!
What would your ideal day consist of?
Waking up with the Mrs in the Bahamas, doing a huge gig to thousands of people, finding out that my new music had hit number 1 by lunch time!
A big BBQ (Late lunch/dinner) on the beach with all my friends and family to celebrate and a spot racing at LeMan through the night in a P1 race car to finish.
A guy can dream right?
Can you tell us what the X factor did for you,what was the experience like and do you think they got the best out of you?
I mean, how long have you got.
I think people are beginning to see the truth about, The X Factor and how it can be behind closed doors. My experience was no exception in that way!
I still meet people 7 years after the show, who used to work on it when I was a contestant, who ask me 'Am I okay now?' purely because of the nature of the tough run I had back in 2013.
The X Factor gave me some of the coolest experiences that I've ever faced, from red carpet London movie premiers, partying with Robbie Williams and Olly Murs in London to Performing on a 42 date arena tour of the UK.
More than that it helped to grow me a huge audience that I am extremely grateful for and grateful to have been able to capitalise on!
However what people don't know is that it put my Mum in shear depression which she needed medication for.
It put other stresses on my family which I'd sooner not mention too much about!
I was beaten up by another contestant on tour meaning I was unable to completely close my jaw on one side for over 6 months and suffered damage to my ear drum, however I continued on with the tour as I refused to let them stop me.
I was heavily manipulated at times in my personal opinion and some of the impact that being in the public eye as a result of The X Factor has had on my mental health over the years has in my opinion been severely negative and I have certainly been in some dark places that I personally wouldn't wish on anyone.
People often ask me if they should apply to The X Factor, if you are strong enough to see past all of that and focus on the positives, I don't see why not, but I wouldn't over look those tougher attributes!
What has been your experience during the Covid 19 situations.Can you tell us how this has affected you personally,how it has affected you professionally and maybe a story from this time or a message for people out there?
So I tend to be keeping busy with releasing new music, mountain biking a lot and binging on Netflix and Disney+.
The hardest part for me is how bad I miss my family. I've missed my niece, 'Mollie's' first birthday among other important events that we won't get back.
But I think what is always in the back of my mind is that someone else is always worse off.
My girlfriend Robyn and I are isolating together and it's weird but we're doing great in my opinion.
Professionally it sucks I'm not going to lie!
90% of a singers income comes from live gigging and obviously there are 0 gigs at the minute, however I have to look at the positives and I think releasing music at this time has been a good thing as we have an almost forced live captive audience stuck to their devices 24/7.
If you could say one thing to your fans what would it be and why?
I wouldn't have achieved half of what I have without the support they have shown me with engaging with my content and downloading/streaming my music. On top of that, there have been quieter times where I've not released anything for a vast period and they have been amazingly patient and hung in there for me!
How would you answer the question Who is Sam Callahan and what are the differences between you as a music artist and you away from music ?
For a long time, that would have been difficult for answer.
But my belief is that there isn't really a whole lot of different between the two anymore!
I now only write music about real life feelings and situations and what you get in my music is a real representation of who I am as a person.
I'm passionate and tenacious with a lot of love for life itself and the amazing people who I come into contact with. I have shear desire to live life to the full and get the most out of every opportunity that presents itself.
What was the first record or song you purchased and why?
I am not sure if it was defo the first, but I loved the Marshall Mathers (Eminem) LP, although our music is super different, I've always taken huge inspiration from his lyrics and the way he rhymes them.
What would say to someone thinking about becoming a musician and getting into the music industry?
It's not for the faint hearted!
I think lots of people want the good sides of what it has to offer, the fun, the glitz and the glam, but 99% of those people aren't aware of what it takes or what you actually have to put in to achieve that.
Most of those people wouldn't be able to go again and again and again, persisting, dealing with the knock backs and criticism among other truly tough parts of the job. It is unforgiving and relentlessly abusive for the most part, but the small bouts of satisfaction when it goes well.
If you could collaborate with any other band/singer or musician who would you choose and why?
Lewis Capaldi, he's wicked!
If you could have written one song from history which would it have been and why?
Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
It is the most randomly genius song ever and I can't help but feel it may have made a fair wedge financially over the years too! lol
What things make you uncomfortable?
If there's one thing I cannot stand it is injustice, people who're truly bad, getting the better of good people, people taking advantage of others kindness.
Bullies taking advantage of smaller or weaker people, this stuff really grinds my gears!
If you wrote a book about yourself what would it have in it?
Everything! I think it'd be cool to write a biography,
I may only be 26 but I have had a very full life and boy do I have some stories to tell!
What has the rest of the year got in store for you?
I have a whole bunch of new music coming your way, fully equipped with music videos, alternate version IE Remixes, acoustic etc!
If the lockdown lifts I hope be doing a lot fo live appearances and performance globally for you all too.
Fingers crossed and I'll see you there!