FROM open mic nights at Hartford Hall to releasing his first EP, Cheshire songwriter Sam McLaughlin has achieved so much in just a few years.

The 19-year-old from Northwich has been likened to Sam Fender and Tom Grennan, despite only first singing in front of an audience three years ago.

Speaking about his journey with music, Sam explained: “I got a guitar for my 13th birthday and after a few lessons I was hooked.

“As my music taste expanded I started singing covers of my favourite bands at the time – Arctic Monkeys and Catfish and the Bottlemen – when I was around 17.

“My first time singing to anyone was to my close friends in my back garden when I was around 16.

“It was a song called ‘She’s Casual’.

“My voice was shaking and trembling with nerves but it actually sounded alright (apparently).

“At the time I played rhythm guitar in my high school band and started to do backing vocals.

“The band soon folded as college approached but I quickly found a new, and still my current, band ‘The Personas’.

Northwich Guardian:

“I’m the frontman and rhythm guitarist and we have gigged around the north west and also had a tour planned, which was sadly cancelled due to Covid.

“Our debut single ‘Uu’ amassed 50,000 streams and this band really sparked my solo career and gave me the confidence I needed.”

Sam started playing at open mic nights at Hartford Hall and small pubs, but during lockdown he started writing his own music about ‘real personal topics’.

“This led to the release of my debut EP which I released on April 30,” Sam said.

“It’s called ‘Iced Coffee at Midnight’ and it’s a three-track album.

“‘Our Society’ looks at society’s problems such as loneliness, alcoholism and relationship problems.

“‘Little White Pills’ looks at depression through the eyes of someone else, and the feeling of helplessness as they watch someone close to them suffer.

Northwich Guardian:

“‘Tommy’ looks at class divide through the eyes of a young 13-year-old boy who feels trapped in his middle class family and just wants to experience the ‘real’ world.

“Lockdown helped a lot, sparked my creativity and gave me a lot more time to think about my music.

“Especially as at this time I was 18, my A-levels were cancelled and I had no responsibilities.

“Sometimes I would just sit in my room playing guitar for hours upon hours trying to work on one chorus.”

Sam’s debut EP ‘Iced Coffee at Midnight’ is available on all streaming platforms.

His debut Northwich gig will be at The Salty Dog on August 20.

Jessica Farrington