Sam Phillips is no newbie to the music scene. A singer/songwriter from Los Angeles, she was nominated for a Grammy as early as 1994. As of now, she has birthed 10 full-length albums to the world, numerous other – smaller – projects, and aided in scoring the Gilmore Girls television show for seven years. She was also involved in the recent – highly-anticipated and incredibly well done – Gilmore Girls revival.
And perhaps that’s what we could have focused on. But she is far too talented to hone in on one topic. Luckily, we got a chance to speak with her briefly about her new SAMpler Human Contact Is Never Easy – You can say that again! – and other fun things in her world.
How did you get your start in music?
I learned about melody and rhythm through dance..it helped me develop my ear for music.
What was the earliest record you can remember listening to? Who introduced it to you?
My older brother played me a 45 single of “Eight Days A Week” by the Beatles.
What has been your greatest challenge as an artist?
It is difficult to accept one’s flaws and shortcomings without getting discouraged and giving up, but that is the only way to keep moving forward. All emotions are useful in making art if you can step back and see them as useful.
You’ve released nearly 10 full length albums. What keeps you inspired to continually create music?
Listening to great music and keeping my goal in sight of wanting to create a solid body of work before I leave the planet inspires me.. I am constantly inspired by the musicians I work with… good books, films, visual art and nature.
Did your relationship with Amy Sherman-Palladino changed your career trajectory?
It has been so much fun working with Amy on Gilmore Girls. It has inspired me to write more songs and I am so grateful for that.
How supportive have your friends and family been in your pursuit of music?
I have been very lucky to have been surrounded by a lot of love…dogs included!
What’s your dream collaboration?
I have already had a few of those. When Robert Plant and Allison Krauss recorded my song “Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us” on their Raising Sand album with T Bone Burnett producing and some of my favorite musicians (Mark Ribot and Jay Bellerose) playing, it was a dream collaboration. When Amy used my song “Reflecting Light” in the last (Fall) episode of Gilmore Girls A Year In The Life, it meant so much to me because it was the underscore of a beautiful scene. Music to picture is a wonderful thing when it works and I would love to do more of that as a composer or song writer.
What kind of chemistry did you form with the personnel you recorded the score to the revived Gilmore Girls with? How did that play into what you have in Human Contact Is Never Easy?
The musicians I worked with on the Gilmore Girls score are the same crew that I collaborate with on my records, so there is a happy overlap. When I began to write songs for this SAMpler..and for the new album due out next year..I collaborated with drummer Jay Bellerose for the first time. He recorded drum performances and I wrote songs to them..that is how we wrote the song “World On Sticks”.
Where do you feel most comfortable as an artist? Playing live, being in the studio or on the road?
I love writing songs and recording, but connecting with an audience in a live situation is extraordinary.
Anything else you’d like to let our readers know?
Human Contact Is Never Easy is a preview of some of the songs that will be on a new, full length album coming out next year called World On Sticks. Samphillips.com will have all the info about that. Happy 2017!
Keep up with Sam Phillips here.