Sam Fender and his team have given Music Week the inside track on his second LP Seventeen Going Under, which dropped via Polydor on Friday (October 8).
The record is the follow-up to Fender's 2019 debut Hypersonic Missiles, which has sales of 226,819 according to the Official Charts Company and rebounded into the Top 75 in last week's chart.
Polydor co-president Tom March said the album was a significant step up from Fender's debut.
"It sounds bigger, it’s better; it’s a more cohesive album," said March, speaking in the latest issue of Music Week. He has put so much of himself out there with this record and there are lyrics that are going to connect fans to him even more. He’s one of the most exciting artist breakthroughs of the last 10 years and I believe this is the record where he steps up and joins the greats.
“The first record set him apart as one of the most exciting new voices in rock music, always with something to say and a lot of depth to what he writes about, and he’s taken the time to come up with something pretty spectacular."
I'm mega-nervous about this record, because it's more personal
Fender, who has announced a UK arena tour for spring 2022, agreed with March's assertion.
“I think it shits on the first one,” said the 27-year-old. “It’s so much better. Everyone who we’ve played it to, in the label and everywhere, is unanimous that they think it’s better than the first one.
“I’m mega-nervous about this record, because it’s more personal. It just means a fuckload more to us than the first one to be honest, so I hope people like it. We’re a ragtag bunch of Geordie idiots, but we are really proud of this album.”
The North Shields singer-songwriter revealed that he wrote the bulk of the album during the first few months of the pandemic.
“I had a whole lockdown to write,” he said. “I ended up turning the magnifying glass inwards [and] because I had nothing to point at – nothing to talk about, no social situations – all of the songs became introspective, about my youth in Shields and the self-esteem issues you carry through into adulthood.
“I wrote 60 songs, man, it was insane. I had to whittle them down to 11 tracks, which was really tough. But in the end, the more autobiographical ones picked themselves."
Fender has 2.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify, where his most-streamed tracks are Hypersonic Missiles (55.7m), Play God (45.1m) and Will We Talk? (42.2m), and Polydor marketing manager Helen Fleming said she was confident the new album would provide ample opportunities for further growth on DSPs.
“We’ve already seen an incredible response to the title track, with the original and edit hitting No.9 and No.10 in Spotify’s Singles Debut Chart on release," she said. "Sam’s TikTok profile has also grown rapidly since the start of the campaign [91k followers and counting]. The album is a coming of age story so it’s great to see it resonating with this younger audience.
“The support from our partners across streaming, radio, press and sales has already been brilliant and we’re working closely with all of them to create bespoke moments that will help continue the narrative for the record.”
Click here to read the full interview with Fender and his team.