Sam Tompkins’ started off as many early artists do–making song covers on social media. He began making covers on TikTok of various R&B artists, but changed the sound of the music to his own. One of his most popular covers is “Talking to the Moon '' by Bruno Mars. The sound was later remixed with Jnr Choi. It quickly became a viral TikTok sound, used in over two million videos.
“Going viral was a first for me,” Tompkins told Her Campus in an exclusive interview regarding his upcoming EP, “Who Do You Pray To?”. Prior to going viral, Sam didn’t use social media as much as he does now, referring to it as a ‘great marketing tool.’ Now thanks to TikTok, Sam expanded his career to sign with Republic Records and JigSaw Music Group.
Tompkins described his upcoming EP as “honest.” His candid lyricism resonates with fans globally; however, he was not always so open in his music. Tompkins’ early music style was less personal, but the death of one of his closest friends prompted a studio session where he sang freely and released the song without overthinking. The release gained a ton of support, and once Tompkins realized that his vulnerability allowed him to connect with fans on a deeper level, his music began reflecting his lived experiences and emotions.
Much of the EP focuses on his family and navigating relationships with those closest to him. Growing up, Tompkins' parents divorced and he watched his dad struggle with depression. This caused a strain on their relationship. In the lead single and his personal favorite of the project “Hero,” Tompkins encourages his dad to push through mental health issues and find joy in being alive. His journey with his dad from tense relations to mutual admiration over time is one that many can relate to, and it reminds us that we are bigger than our darkest moments.
Tompkins marks “Bloodline” as one of the most difficult tracks to create because he wrote it in two days after his grandfather’s passing. In the song, he struggles with adjusting to life without one of his biggest role models, but reminds himself that his grandfather will always be with him. In “Whole,” Tompkins continues the theme of coping – this time with the uncertainty of the world and the direction it’s headed in.
“My advice to people who feel like the world’s going to crap is try and connect with people on a human level as much as possible,” Tompkins said. “If there’s a reason we are all here, it’s to say that we can communicate with each other and enjoy the time we have together.”
Tompkins hopes his EP can uplift listeners and help them deal with their battles healthily when they may be running low on faith. His genuine spirit and ability to articulate feelings that many people struggle with makes his project authentic and worth a listen.
Sam Tompkins’ music explores life in depth–mental health, grieving– but his personality is even deeper than his music. One of Tompkins’ greatest appeals is his ability to relate to the average person. He enjoys normal things like skating while listening to music and fashion. His life experiences like “busking”–a UK term for dancing on the street for money–makes his life relatable. “Busking gave me confidence and gave me purpose,” he said.
Tompkins' focus has been music, but we could be seeing more of an artistic side of him after the EP. He told Her Campus that he’d like to get into directing. We’ll be able to see this new side of him in an upcoming music video. “The next video I'm doing will be acting based. Acting and producing is something I’d like to explore.”
In addition to seeing more acting and directing, we’ll see more diverse music. According to Tompkins, R&B is important to his identity. He grew up being inspired by storytelling artists like Kanye West, Justin Timberlake and Chris Brown.
The more the upcoming artist talks about his life and inspirations, the more you can’t help but to fall in love with his personality. He’s open about his life experiences and using them to help others get through similar situations. He hopes that his music helps people feel less alone and wants the music to project his feelings onto his audience. The EP focuses on daily struggles that everyone goes through from grieving, brotherhood and depression. However, the most inspiring part is overcoming these challenges.
The EP “Who Do You Pray To?” will be available on major streaming platforms March 18th.