5 minutes with artist Heather Straka
Heather Straka is tickled by the irony of being isolated in Auckland and unable to attend her own Isolation Hotel exhibition in Christchurch. ...
Emerging Ōtautahi singer-songwriter Sam Heselwood hit No. 4 on the charts with his single ‘18’, and now he’s following it up with his latest tune, ‘Don’t Speak’.
Fluttering synths and warm guitar lines set the scene, and Sam puts forth a mesmerising vocal performance throughout ‘Don’t Speak’. Once again, the Christchurch boy proves he can deliver an authentic and relatable track.
Sam says he wrote the emotive track after his grandad died. “After my grandad passed away early last year, I started to reflect on the fact that I never had a lot to do with him. My dad and his dad didn’t get along that well and never really spoke. I started to think about how grateful I am to have the relationship I do with my dad. That’s what sparked the idea.”
‘Don’t Speak’ arrives at a crossroads for Sam, as his dreams of playing professional rugby come to an end. He dropped the release just before heading in for a life-changing surgery. After suffering a debilitating neck injury, the rugby player-turned-singer will never be able to play the sport he loves again. He’s on the mend now, but before the surgery, he had a chance to reflect on his musical journey so far, saying if he didn't have the music, he wouldn't know what he would do. The definition of a humble Kiwi lad, Sam is trying to break down boundaries through his music, fighting the stigma that men don’t cry.
Influenced by the likes of Ed Sheeran and Lewis Capaldi, Sam’s single is breathtaking. He isn’t afraid to expose his inner feelings, and it comes through clearly.
The 24-year-old is a student at SOLE Music Academy in Christchurch. He recorded ‘Don’t Speak’ with producers Will McGillivray and Josh Logan at LOHO Studios. “It was pretty eye-opening. Being in a room with such talented people collaborating and watching them work.”
SOLE is supporting Sam in the lead-up to his forthcoming EP Bloodline, set to drop this August. The EP explores themes around family and the often-complicated relationships that emerge.