Popping Up: Samuel

Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey, Madonna and Britney were once unknown, too.

For this week’s Popping Up, we head to Manhattan to meet 22-year-old New York native Samuel. He’s yet another musical genius from to emerge from The Knocks’ artist stable. Samuel’s upcoming album Trains To Wanderland has a sound he describes as “melodic, but also kinda grimy, not perfect.” Head below to sample some tracks from his new EP and to check out some sweet remixes he’s cooked up with The Knocks. And then decide if you agree that he was “made to grow up and be famous.”

AGE: 22

FULL NAME: Samuel Hindes


WHERE YOU’VE HEARD HIM BEFORE: His remix with The Knocks of The Temper Trap’s “Fader” and his cover of Ellie Goulding’s “Starry Eyed”.

[wpaudio url=”//static.idolator.com/uploads/2010/06/Starry-Eyed-Ellie-Goulding-Cover-Produced-By-The-Knocks.mp3″ text=”Starry Eyed – Samuel (Ellie Goulding cover) Produced by The Knocks” dl=”0″]

[wpaudio url=”//static.idolator.com/uploads/2010/06/Fader-The-Knocks-Remix-Ft.-Samuel.mp3″ text=”Fader (Remix) – The Knocks ft Samuel” dl=”0″]

MUSICAL BACKGROUND: Both of Samuel’s parents helped to lay a strong musical foundation. From his mother, a singer in her own right, Samuel gained an appreciation for the Police, Paul Simon, and Bob Dylan. And his father, who had studied under avant-garde composer John Cage, exposed Samuel to classical and Jazz. Long before teaming up with The Knocks, the aspiring singer was in a high school band (not, the band, a band). When that didn’t turn out to be all he had hoped for, Samuel quit the band and enrolled at NYU.

He’s still musically well rounded. Samuel’s current favorite artists include Owen, Marina And The Diamonds, Ellie Goulding (clearly), and Sigor Ros. The singer has said he also succumbs on occasion to his, “guilty pleasures: Justin Bieber, Sean Kingston. Those are good, catchy songs. I wouldn’t put it in my iPod, maybe, but it’s still good to listen to.”

HIS BIG BREAK: Around the time he was attending NYU’s Gallatin school majoring in Anthropology Of Music History, he met and eventually teamed up with James Patterson and Ben Ruttner, the producing duo collectively known as The Knocks. (You might remember them from our other Popping Up artist Alex Winston.) “I played them a few demos of songs I had and they really liked them, so they gave me some beats to write to,” Samuel recalls. “We all had our own sounds,…but it just worked.” When The Knocks decided to make Samuel their brand defining artist, he left the hallowed halls of NYU for the walls of HeavyRoc Studios.

HIS BIGGER BREAK: Not long after Samuel had recorded a hefty 40 potential songs for his first album with The Knocks, major record labels came a’knocking. The teenage boy who was once kicked out of Columbia Prep was then signed to Columbia Records. The team didn’t stop there. After careful consideration, JPatt, B-Roc, and Samuel decided to bring in an Grammy nominated Greg Wells (Katy Perry, MIKA, OneRepublic) as executive producer for the album to give it its final polish. On working with Wells, Samuel says, “We wanted someone who could take the bells and whistles and put them to good use. Greg was that guy.”

WHAT’S NEXT: Samuel’s I Heart NY EP which includes the title track “I Heart NY”, “Champagne Kisses” and “Still Here” just hit iTunes earlier this month. And later this year comes the release of debut album Trains To Wanderland. Samuel describes the album as “… a treasure map. It starts in New York and Ends in New York but all the places along the way are different.”

[wpaudio url=”//static.idolator.com/uploads/2010/06/i-heart-NY-samuel.mp3″ text=”I Heart NY – Samuel” dl=”0″]

Samuel 2

OUR VERDICT: Forget all the claims made about Katy Perry’s “California Gurls”, the 2010 Summer Jam is gonna be “I Heart NY”.

We’ll leave you with Samuel’s live acoustic rendition of Usher’s “Love In This Club”, joined by fellow HeavyRoc artist Julia.

(black and white photo via Loren Wohl)