British artist Sampha recently beat out 11 other artists to win The Mercury Prize for his album “Process.” At the awards ceremony the artist performed one of the tracks from the album. The song is called “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano,” and features a solo Sampha singing with just piano as accompaniment, documenting a time in his youth when he first discovered the instrument.
“No one knows me like the piano in my mother’s home
You would show me I have something, some people call a soul
And you drop-topped the sky, oh you arrived when I was three years old
No one knows me like the piano in my mother’s home
You know I left, I flew the nest
And you know I won’t be long
And in my chest you know me best
And you know I’ll be back home”
“(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano” is one of those slow-burning, introspective songs that digs right into that feeling of solace that music can bring. The song seems layered in meaning, as Sampha sings about the piano that would be his greatest friend in his youth, an instrument that would allow him to express himself and process his life.
The song is also about his mother, who passed away recently. The piano, which was introduced to him by his mother, seems like his only comfort in that trying time. The instrument is the closest thing to home he still has left.
The prestigious Mercury Prize touts itself as being “the music equivalent to the Booker Prize for literature and the Turner Prize for art.” Every year they shortlist 12 albums from the United Kingdom and Ireland that they feel are exceptional, and eventually choose one winner from the mix. This year, no one could have been more deserving than Sampha, whose album “Process” was a wholly unique blend of electronica and neo-soul that wowed critics across the board.
For those who just heard of Sampha after his Mercury Prize win, “Process” is definitely required listening. The 10-track album is varied in its compositions and execution, offering everything from tender ballads like “What Shouldn’t I Be?” to heart-thumping, exasperated tracks like “Blood On Me.” Some of my favorites include “Timmy’s Prayer” and “Incomplete Kisses,” as well as the intense existential pressure of track “Plastic 100°C.”
You can watch Sampha perform that song below, filmed by the FADER. In an interview with The FADER, the artist expressed what making music means to him:
“There’s a lot I see, feel, really want to express,” Sampha tells The FADER. “I think that’s part of the thing, like — I feel so much.” In his most in-depth interview to date, he opens up about the journey he’s been on, the music he’ll be releasing, and his hopes for the future. “I wanna make things feel more magic to me, like how I felt when I was younger. When you grow older, you try and work harder to find the magic in life.”