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Musician Sami James (c) on stage during a recent concert with his band The Rabbit Holes. SUR
Sami James: When music is the only thing that really matters

Sami James: When music is the only thing that really matters

The 34-year-old Estepona-based musician tried several jobs before deciding to concentrate on his love of performing and composing

Tony Bryant

Estepona

Friday, 21 July 2023, 11:49

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Making a living from music on the Costa del Sol can be a difficult task, but, as one musician points out, with a little determination and dedication, the dream of pursuing the one career that really interests you can be fulfilled.

Estepona-based musician Sami James, whose parents are British and Argentinian, has established himself on the local music scene, making his name as a solo performer, with his duo, The Blue Sky, and with his four-piece band, The Rabbit Holes.

The 34-year-old musician spoke to SUR in English about his early struggles and how today his music is one of the most important things in his life.

Sami was born in Malaga in 1989 and, although he had no direct musical influence from his family, other than his mother's record collection, he began playing guitar at the age of 14. He was schooled in the province, before heading to music college in Brighton, where he studied for four years, although, as he admits, education has never been one of his strong points.

"To be honest, my memory is terrible, so I didn't really learn anything. Of course, today we have the internet and Google, so it's much easier for us musicians," Sami tells SUR in English.

Like many teenagers, Sami was interested in pastimes like football and skateboarding, but as he got older, he realised that music was his calling. At the time, he was experiencing the normal problems of growing up, such as failed romances, so he used his music to make him feel better and overcome the "melancholy of being young".

He began concentrating on composing his own songs and dedicated his efforts to pursuing a career in music, as he realised that this was what he wanted to do, "because it beats doing hard work".

"I have been fired from numerous jobs, including mechanics, bricklaying and bar work. I am not very good at being told what to do," he declares, breaking into a smile.

Early influences

Sami began listening to the music from his mother's generation and was first influenced by bands like The Police, Fleetwood Mac and Supertramp.

"I started to listen to my mother's records, but then I turned my attention to the bands of the '90s and early 2000s, like Oasis, Blur and The Verve, but to this day, I still prefer the older stuff," the young musician explains.

Although born in Malaga, Sami says that Spanish music has not really influenced his style, which he describes as "a mixture of indie pop and rock".

"My English friends say I am too Spanish, and my Spanish friends think I am very English. I don't venture into Spanish music like flamenco because this is a very cultured music, and I don't want to mess with it as it is very difficult and you have to be completely dedicated to it. I try to make my music rock, but not too rocky, and pop, but not too poppy: it's kind of in between," he says.

Sami produced his first solo CD in 2020, a collection of self-composed songs that he recorded between the UK and Marbella. He is currently working on new material with The Rabbit Holes, who he joined 18 months ago. The band, who were one of the support acts for popular Spanish musician Kiko Veneno during the recent fair in Marbella, have their own recording studio in San Pedro, and are currently putting the final touches to a CD to be released next year.

He is also rehearsing for several gigs along the coast throughout the summer, because, as he explains, "there is nothing better than going on stage with your mates and really enjoying what you do. It's the whole camaraderie of it."

However, as he points out, finding suitable venues on the Costa del Sol is not always easy.

"We have a really interesting local music scene on the coast and a lot of really good musicians. One of the biggest problems is that a lot of venues only hire acts like an Elvis tribute, or bands playing hits the audience can remember; there are not enough venues promoting bands who perform their own material," he concludes.

Sami can be seen performing at Bar Allioli in Jimera de Líbar on Saturday 22 July.

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