Sampha hits NZ for first solo performance

Here at Newshub, we like to pull out all the stops when interviewing artists visiting from overseas.

Admittedly, using the breakfast room at an inner-city hotel basement to do it was something we weren't expecting.

But there's a first for everything, and guests hoping to use its facilities were turned away for several minutes while we conducted our interview with Sampha Sisay.

The 28-year-old British musician even took a moment to admire the setting, speaking over the humming of commercial fridges and occasional rumble of the Zip hot water unit.

"I like these vases, really nice vases, and that plant over there looks pretty interesting," he said.

But he wasn't here to discuss decor at a four-star hotel, he was taking time to speak to us just hours ahead of his first performance as a solo artist in New Zealand, at Auckland's Powerstation.

He's previously performed here at Laneway with SBTRKT, and has spent the past decade working with other big names like Kanye West and Drake.

"I feel a little bit more pressure than I did before, but it's also really rewarding," he told Newshub.

"It's an amazing feeling to know that people are coming to shows to see me."

He released his debut album, Process, in February. It took a while for it to come together, but he wanted to wait until he was in the right space emotionally.

"It's felt like an invisible weight has been lifted off my shoulders in some senses," he said.

"Maybe I was kind of subconsciously putting pressure on myself wondering if I would ever release a solo record, or if I could."

But he did - and people here love it so much, they had to get him a bigger venue to accommodate demand.

"I never really know how to react to that but it's a positive thing," he laughed.

The good news for Sampha fans is to expect more live performances, and more new music.

"I think I get the same sort of energy playing live as I do in the studio," he said.

"I'm just connecting to feeling alive and very sort of... stimulated. Physically, intellectually and spiritually in some senses."