Interview: Shiner Sam (Radio Free Matlock)Shiner Sam has become one of the leading lights of grassroots music, from her regular radio shows and playlists to her journalism work. She spoke to Sam Lambeth about why she’ll keep fighting the good fight.

Every musician has to face rejection. From a Spotify snub to an uninterested audience, it can be a painful experience. Shiner Sam decided she was going to cushion the blow. “I promoted an unsigned show a couple of years back, and discovered the constant rejection and disheartenment that upcoming musicians face,” she explains.

“Everyone starts at grassroots level, all of the biggest bands in history had to go through the part of playing the tiny venues to half-empty crowds. It is so important to support them at grassroots and encourage them to keep going and growing and reaching their potential.”

From this moment on, Shiner Sam has made it her mission to help these unsigned musicians get a fair crack of the whip. Her radio show on Radio Free Matlock attracts a staunchly loyal cohort of listeners, namely due to the fact Sam has found the perfect balance between promoting grassroots music and giving people the classics.

“A balance of new and old attracts more listeners,” she confirms. “I also like doing shows with a theme and encouraging people on social media to have some input.”

Despite only being behind the mic for a year, Sam has a natural flair and poise for radio. She is passionate about what she does, but also relaxed, funny and engaging. However, she’ll never talk too much. “Less is more,” she says. “I try to make sure I play as much music as possible and keep the talk to a minimum. However, I’ll make sure the voiceovers are interesting and informative, especially when playing new bands.”

Alongside her radio endeavours, Sam also writes for the classic fanzine Speakeasy, which is still lovingly produced in print and devotes time to new music. Up-and-coming acts such as Vela Incident, The Shed Project and Alex Ohm can all attest to Sam’s shining brilliance.

It’s this promotion of nascent acts that keeps Sam interested.

“When I’ve been working hard on a show knowing that not many people will have heard certain songs, it’s a real buzz,” she says. “The feedback from the listeners and the musicians I’ve featured means the world.”

For the future, Sam has both eyes locked forward on ensuring talented musicians always have her in their corner. “I’ll keep fighting the new music fight,” she confirms. “I’ll keep pushing it on people and, who knows, maybe we can start a revolution?”

With Sam’s talents, there’s no maybe about it.

You can follow Shiner Sam on Twitter. You can stream her Best Of 2021 playlist on Spotify.


All words by Sam Lambeth. Sam is a Birmingham-based journalist and musician. More of his work for Louder Than War is available on his archive. His music can be found on Spotify.

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