Eight things you should know about beloved North East rock star Sam Fender

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North Shields rock star Sam Fender is up for a number of coveted Brit Awards at tonight’s ceremony, after a fantastic couple of years saw him shoot into stardom.

Sam is no stranger to the awards, first honoured by the Brits at the start of 2019 when he received the Critics Choice accolade – and now he’s up for a trio of further gongs.

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He finds himself on the shortlist for Best Artist alongside Adele, Ed Sheeran, Little Simz and Dave, as well as Best Rock/Alternative Act.

He also has sights on the highly prestigious Album of the Year award for Seventeen Going Under at the ceremony that will take place from 8pm where he will perform on stage for fans around the world.

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And with all of the successes of Sam’s career so far, we thought we would take a look into his lesser known life and achievements.

Here’s eight interesting facts about Sam Fender, which you may be surprised to learn.

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1. He still lives right here in the North East

Eight things you should know about beloved North East rock star Sam Fender
© Newcastle Chronicle North Shields Fish Quay

Many that are successful here in the North East of England are drawn to the bright lights of London. However, Sam has chosen to stay in the region due to it holding a special place in his heart.

The musician grew up on the North Shields coast where he has an abundance of fond memories, and struggles to let the area slip away despite his new found stardom.

Despite day to day life becoming a little harder due to the fame and fan-ship of the area, Sam continues to reside in his hometown – insisting in an interview with the New York Times that he would never leave North Shields behind.

2. If he wins another Brit, he’s promised to give it to his beloved local boozer

Eight things you should know about beloved North East rock star Sam Fender
© Newcastle Chronicle Low Lights tavern in North Shields where you can get a pint of beer pulled by Sam Fender’s Brit award

Sam loves his local community, and wears hit heart on his sleeve regarding home turf – and over the years he has built tremendous relationships with businesses and residents.

He continues to go about his daily business like nothing much has changed at all, regularly visiting his favourite pub; the Low Lights Tavern on Brewhouse Bank, North Shields.

And he has built such a budding rapport with owners over the year that he has promised to give them his Best Rock/Alternative Act award if he’s bestowed with one.

And it’s not the first time that Sam has selflessly given away a prestigious honour to his favourite pub – turning his 2019 Critic’s Choice award into a beer pump.

Speaking to Chronicle Live last month, Low Lights owner Cameron Boyd, said: “We already have his Critics Choice but he said on his social media if he wins, he’ll put his Brit Award behind the bar!

“When he’s at home and he’s not going away he and his band come in quite often. His friends all drink here and people who know him.

“Everybody loves to see him doing well, all the local people are behind him, he’s got the whole of North Shields behind him.

“He’s proud of where he comes from, he’s not a Newcastle lad, he’s a North Shields lad and he’s so supportive of the little town he’s come from. It’s really important to him.”

3. He turned down the chance to be Ariana Grande’s ‘boyfriend’

Sam earlier this year revealed that he once turned down Ariana Grande, after being invited to play the world famous singer’s boyfriend in one of her music videos.

Speaking to Lorraine Kelly on her talk show, Sam was probed about the prospect of working with the Thank U Next singer in the past and why he turned the opportunity down.

Sam revealed he was worried that it would tarnish his career, labelling him almost an extra in a music video, when he was concentrating on building a career in his own name.

Speaking on the show, Sam said: “It’s a strange story. We got offered to play the boy in this music video at the time.

“It was ages ago, it was before we’d even really released anything. We were doing a music video at the time in America and it was like ‘do we just run over to this set and be in this other video with Ariana Grande?'”

He added: “It was one of those things where I was worried I’d just be known as the kid that was in the Ariana Grande video.”

4. He went to the same high school as NUFC’s Matty and Sean Longstaff

Eight things you should know about beloved North East rock star Sam Fender
© Newcastle Chronicle Sean and Matty Longstaff at the John Spence Community School, North Shields

Sam is just one of the many talented alumni to come from the John Spence Community High School in North Shields.

He was a student there at the same time as up and coming Newcastle midfielder Sean Longstaff, with his younger brother Matty also attending years later.

Sam was described by teachers as ‘inspiring’ and as a ‘performer’ from a very young age, with his music and English teachers both praising him highly.

Sam’s music teacher at the school, Damien Grazzer, spoke of his fond memories of his ex-student in a previous interview with Chronicle Live.

He said: “With Sam, there was always this inclination that he was going to do well. It’s been really exciting for us at John Spence: being able to say he came here and now he has a number one album, that’s an inspiring thing for our students to know.

“Sam was talented in all the performing arts, you knew he’d be a performer.

“Not just music, it was drama as well. I know he was very inspired by his English teacher too – she gave him his love of writing.”

5. Sam performed at the UK’s first ever socially distanced outdoor gig after the Covid-19 lockdown

Eight things you should know about beloved North East rock star Sam Fender
© PA/Owen Humphreys Sam Fender on stage at the Virgin Money Unity Arena, a pop-up venue in Gosforth Park, Newcastle.

The past few years have been life-changing for everyone around the globe, with Coronavirus restrictions altering ways of life and how people can go about their daily routine.

It also threatened the livelihoods of musicians and performers, who were unable to make money from touring due to restrictions in place.

However, musicians and promoters alike came up with the bright idea of putting on ‘socially distanced’ outdoor gigs when the time came for restrictions to be loosened, taking to Gosforth Park to put on a show for music thirsty fans in attendance.

During the string of gigs, Sam played to an audience of some 2,500 fans in the second of what promoters claim were the world’s first socially-distanced concerts.

The Libertines, Two Door Cinema Club, Tom Grennan, Maximo Park and Supergrass were all big names who also performed sets during the history-making summer stint outdoors.

Sam took to the stage on opening night, 11 August 2020, to play songs to his hometown crowd at the Virgin Money Arena in Newcastle’s Gosforth Park – with barriered seats filling the field, allowing spectators to enjoy live music once again.

It’s safe to say that the horse-track-turned-arena venue was a spectacle to behold, but Sam made history on the night – performing at the UK’s first ever socially distanced gig.

Geordie favourite Alan Shearer even attended the performance, in celebration of his milestone 50th birthday.

6. Sam initially sought after a career in acting

Eight things you should know about beloved North East rock star Sam Fender
© TimMcGuinness/ChronicleLive Brenda Blethyn as starring as TV detective Vera filming on Station Road in Corbridge.

Before the idea of making a living from music sprang to mind, Sam initially set his sights on becoming an actor after visiting a friends house where they would play games and improvise.

And Sam was successful in his aim, starring in the likes of Vera – a North East based ITV detective programme – when he was just 15 years old.

Sam auditioned for the part in his first ever interview in the field, landing the role and going straight to TV – although the next 30 or so auditions were a different tale all together, being knocked back every time.

He also found qualms with acting due to his personality and love of being in control, and when he discovered his talent for music he changed course while still working in the performing arts sector that he is so fond of.

Speaking to Chris Moyles on Radio X, he said: “The problem with acting for me is that I’m a control freak, and with acting you’re portraying somebody else’s dream or you’re doing somebody else’s script do you know what I mean?

“I quite like to tell the story.”

Despite not sticking with acting, Sam insists that he takes the tricks and tips he learned in training and uses them on stage to set the tone of his live performances.

7. He comes from a musically talented family

Sam isn’t the only member of his family who is musically gifted – his brother Liam (who is ten years older) is a talented signer songwriter, who is also skilled in piano and drumming.

Liam has also had a somewhat successful musical career himself, both as a solo musician and as a session artist.

His father, Alan, is also a singer-songwriter who relocated to France around seven years ago.

8. A very charitable character

Eight things you should know about beloved North East rock star Sam Fender
© Bill Corcoran Sam Fender visits Newcastle West End Food Bank.

It comes as no surprise that as someone who loves the region wholeheartedly, Sam often tries to make positive changes to the community for the benefit of residents who are a little worse off.

Household Below Average Income (HBAI) figures indicated that 37 per cent of all children in the North East were living in poverty over the three years leading up to 2020’s Covid-19 pandemic.

Figures also showed that the North East was the second-most impoverished area in the UK behind London.

And Sam has used his influence in the past to create positive changes for the local area. Last Christmas he made an appearance at Newcastle’s West End Food Bank – where he met with volunteers in the kitchen team, who prepare over 100 meals each Monday.

Sam selflessly went down and helped out on the 13 December, assisting those in the kitchen with their daily preparations.

He has also previously urged fans to buy the Big Issue magazine, to help support those who are homeless and vulnerable – as well as campaigning against local councils charging homeless people for vital support helplines.

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