So far, Sampha's foray into visuals has been a resounding success. His Kahlil Joseph-directed short film Process, which shared a title with his debut album, was a moving examination of the places that inspired the record, and it seems that he's now giving that introspection physical form, in the shape of a new zine.
Titled Shy Light, it's a collaboration between the south London musician, designer Grace Wales Bonner, the Durimel brothers and art director Jamie Reid. It includes lyrics from the album, photos from Sampha's own archive, as well as images taken in Freetown, Sierra Leone, by the Durimel brothers. The zine will be available next month with no specific date given as yet, but it promises—like basically everything Sampha does—to be excellent (and you can peep a preview here). Of the project, Sampha says, "I want to thank Grace and Jamie for all the work and love they've put into creating Shy Light. It's been a pleasure collaborating and inspiring to work with such driven and visionary individuals. We also had the the great fortune of shooting in Sierra Leone with the Durimel brothers," so now you know. Keep an eye out for the release date.
Sampha's not the first musician to recently enter into the world of zines, which makes sense as they've always been linked to music. Their roots, as unofficial magazines, are in the US punk and hardcore scenes in the 1980s, and they found particular voice in the riot grrrl movement of the 90s. And today they're pretty commonplace—Frank Ocean gave away copies of a free zine called Boys Don't Cry at pop-ups in various cities upon the release of his album, and just this week, rapper Rejjie Snow dropped a zine alongside a new mixtape.
The popularity of zines seems to reflect how musicians can now communicate with their audiences in several ways—lots of which are visual, via social media. Where people in the industry used just focus on presenting music to their fans, certain artists have been able to flex their muscle as visual creators as well as musicians. Sampha seems to fit this bill, considering his carefully-approached aesthetic, so Shy Light looks to be very special indeed.
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(Image via PR)