On a Wednesday afternoon, I was getting ready to interview a man whose songs I first heard through TikTok a year ago. Now, This City has over 35 million views on YouTube and has been streamed over 582 million times. The soulful song alluded to something much deeper, as Sam Fischer sang about the struggles he faced when he flew from Sydney to LA in the hopes of starting a music career.
Hit with one hurdle after another, the 30-year-old was close to losing hope, until This City took off, launching his career to unprecedented heights. Since then, Sam has collaborated with the likes of Demi Lovato, Keith Urban and Ciara, as well as a successful tour alongside Lewis Capaldi.
As I logged onto Zoom at 6pm local time, I felt a rush of excitement. Sam, who was in London, was getting ready to promote his new single Hopeless Romantic, and after listening to it the first time, I was hooked. In one week the music video, which was shot in a single take, has garnered over half a million views, and that number keeps growing.
“Hopeless Romantic is me having visions of grandeur and getting to the real thing and it not turning out the way that I wanted. When people talk about hopeless romantics, it’s about love and it’s people who are over-the-top and it’s kind of overwhelming and then the real thing doesn’t pan out,” Sam said.
“I always dreamed about everything you get to do when you’re an artist and you have a song that people actually cared about, and then a once-in-a-century pandemic stopped me from living out the experiences that I thought I would. I’m so grateful for everything that has happened to me, it just didn’t happen the way I thought it would.”
One of the moments that Fischer couldn’t experience to its full potential was being nominated for an ARIA Award, the most prestigious accolade an Australian artist can receive, saying he felt as if he was playing a weird game of tug-of-war. On one end he was thrilled, and then on the other, he felt a sense of sadness.
“It was something that I dreamt about, that was the pinnacle for Australian music, and at 3am, in my apartment on a Zoom, being nominated for an ARIA award, it was still really cool, but I was still on a Zoom. Like I’m grateful to be here but I’m not a carpet, in front of the Opera House, surrounded by the Australian people that I’ve always idolised growing up. I couldn’t help but feel a little sad.”
That was when his wife, who is also a talented vocalist, and his manager told him to stop romanticising the experience before it happens, something Sam said he does a lot. It was then the idea behind Hopeless Romantic was born.
But despite his immense success, Sam has evidently remained humble, and it felt as if I was catching up with an old friend.
“It takes moments like this, where I get to talk to people like you and I think ‘look how much you’ve f***ing done!’ It’s mental, Sam from five years ago would be so pissed off with Sam now for complaining about anything,” he said when asked about his career taking off so quickly.
“It’s really humbling thinking about it, and the numbers that I have on my phone. Getting to work with people like Demi, they’re so resilient and so powerful, and they know exactly who they are. Getting to know people who so many people around the world have opinions of, but have no idea who they actually are is really a fascinating thing.”
It was then a notification on Sam’s phone interrupted us, and as he clasped his face, giddy with joy, he said: “I just got a notification that my song got played on BBC Radio! Very crazy, ahhh!”
We laughed and celebrated for a brief moment and I couldn’t help but feel genuinely thrilled for someone who I’ve spoken to for a few moments.
Listen to Hopeless Romantic by Sam Fischer here.