Written By Kelly Holm
Samuel Jack’s “Feels Like Summer” was first released in 2019, but recently became America’s most popular Instagram Reels song, racking up tens of millions of plays in a matter of weeks. As the British singer-songwriter sipped tea in his bed, he quickly realized that the 2-year-old track was going viral.
“Madness,” he calls the experience. “It’s incredible to see the momentum spread in literally every corner of the globe. I’m just excited for when I can go and play some of those countries!”
With old-school jazz infusions, an infectious melody, and vocals that call to mind both Sam Smith and Cee Lo Green, “Feels Like Summer” is the perfect song to blast on your boat during a relaxing afternoon at the lake. Check out the acoustic version of the song here.
“Now that winter’s come and gone, I’m 17 again, my heart is beating stronger,” Jack sings in the pre-chorus. “And every time I think of you, it’s taking me back there, taking me back there… and it feels like summer.”
Born in London and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, Jack grew up on a diet of blues and soul, and quickly began to ponder a musical path of his own. An early original song called “Weatherman” inspired him to channel his formative experiences into lyrics, but it wasn’t until he heard his first-ever demo tape played back that he knew that music would be his calling.
“My first proper performance was actually at Glastonbury Festival,” he says. “I think I was writing songs on the fly to make the set list long enough!”
Most recently, Jack has packaged his original music into Empty Pockets Crowded Heart, a 3-part EP series released over the course of 2020 and 2021, with the last installment having dropped in April. Like just about everything else over the past year and a half, this musical endeavor was irrevocably intertwined with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We wrapped production for all the EPCH volumes in February 2020, [and] released ‘Gonna Be Alright,’ which transpired to be the first single, just four weeks after writing it,” he says. “It was insanely quick, but felt like a great vibe to kick everything off.”
That speedy timing turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it wouldn’t be long until COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic and many studios were shuttered worldwide.
“I’ve got tons of new songs, recently released on Empty Pockets Crowded Heart volumes 1, 2 and 3 that I haven’t even had the chance to perform live yet,” Jack says. “Each and every one is very special and personal to me in different ways.”
As the prospect of future concerts lies on the horizon, he relishes in imagining the setlist, which includes tracks from the first and second volumes of EPCH like “Red,” “Trouble,” “Gonna Be Alright” and, of course, “Feels Like Summer.”
And his lyrical well hasn’t dried up yet. Jack is still creating new music that he hopes to release before the end of the year, and hopes he’ll be able to perform some “proper in-person hot, sweaty shows.” He’s also got some new collaborations under his belt, and hopes to “write a banger” with Kygo sometime in the near future.
“Songwriting can be a bit like sport in that sometimes you’re on great form and other times [you] struggle to deliver. Fortunately, it’s feeling great at the moment,” he says. “I think the best compliment I ever received… came from a fan who had recently lost her brother, and she found one of my songs had really helped her through her own process.”
It is in moments like these, whether connecting with fans or sharing an inside joke with his best mate, that Jack truly comes to appreciate his success the most.
“‘Making it’ is waking up every day and doing something that you love, something that enriches the soul and fills you up,” he says. “Just strap in, surround yourself with the best people you can, enjoy yourself, ask questions and never stop persevering.”
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