Samuel Herb is a singer/songwriter originally from Jacksonville, FL. After placing second in American Songwriter Magazine’s Lyric Contest, Herb decided to make the move to Nashville in 2016 where he quickly fell in love with Americana music. After wrestling with the idea of becoming an artist as well as a writer he released his debut single, “Dirty.” which wound-up in the Top 10 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart. He recently released his new single, “Just a Tree” and for every 1,000 streams, he will plant a tree in it’s honor.
I got the chance to talk with him about the moment that made him realize that music is what he wanted to pursue professionally, what “Just a Tree” is about, what made him want to plant a tree for every 1,000 streams “Just a Tree” gets and more! Keep reading to see what he had to say!
Tell me a little bit about how you first got into making and performing music.
My first ever experience performing was the 3rd grade talent show – I got up on stage and sang “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down. Music wasn’t something that I dreamed of doing as a little kid. I really wanted to be a baseball player. Eventually, I learned that if I was going to put my hard work and effort into something, it was going to be something that I loved – and that turned out to be music.
Was there a specific moment or person that made you realize that music is what you wanted to pursue professionally?
In 2015, I had just made my first trip to Nashville and I received an email telling me that I had finished second in American Songwriter Magazine’s lyric contest. That showed me that I had the potential to write music for a career.
I’m always genuinely curious about what artists want to convey with their music so if you had to describe the music you make without using genre names, how would you describe it?
Johnny Cash meets the Jungle Book with a sprinkle of clever lyric.
Going off of that, who are some of your musical influences?
I am influenced by TOO many things, but mostly anyone in the Americana world right now. After that, Elton John, James Brown, early 2000s Country, Disney, and Motown.
Let’s talk about your new single, “Just a Tree.” What is this song about?
This song is about someone not texting me back. And as funny as that sounds, I was having a bad day and that was icing on the cake. It felt like in my world, she was the whole universe, and in hers… I was just a tree!
Something I’ve always been curious with songwriting is how topics come to mind. Did you know what you wanted to write about going into the song session that birthed “Just a Tree” or did it just come about organically? What was your songwriting process like in general for this song?
I had said the sentence out loud, “It feels like in my world she’s the whole freaking universe and in hers I’m just a freaking tree.” I had been listening to a lot of Jason Isbell at the time and it kind of sparked a lot of tree metaphors. I wrote the entire chorus at home with my dog and then brought it to Drea Gordon and Elysse Yulo to help me craft the rest. I told them that I wanted every line to describe how it feels to be a tree in the universe.
Was there any major changes to “Just a Tree” that happened once you got into the recording studio, whether it be in the lyrics or something sonically?
Absolutely nothing happened once we got to the studio. Adam Sickler did a great job capturing exactly what the song called for. The birds were just a nice touch.
You’re also planting a tree for every 1,000 streams of the song, which I think is an awesome idea. What made you want to do that?
There are two reasons that I decided to plant trees. First and foremost, climate change is way too real and I want people to be able to enjoy the Earth for as long as possible. I can’t do much as one person but I am doing what I can to help! Secondly, as an independent artist, it is hard to motivate people to listen to your music – even if it is great music. I wanted to give people the opportunity to listen to my music and feel good about making a difference while doing so.
I know “Just a Tree” just came out, but can we expect more new music sometime soon, whether it be another single or an EP/album?
The plan right now is to release 3-4 new singles this year! SO STAY TUNED. Shameless plug, you can be the first to know by following me on Instagram and Spotify.
You are still relatively new to the music game. What are some music industry-related goals or benchmarks that you’re aiming to reach in the next couple of years?
The biggest goals for me are to play the Ryman here in Nashville, have a song reach 1 million streams, and sign a booking deal that takes me around the world sharing my stories to as many folks as possible. Honestly, as long as I show progress, I’ll be a happy camper.
Last question — we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner nerd so what is something that you’re currently nerding out about?
I will forever be a Harry Potter nerd. I played Quidditch in college (you know founder and captain of the team, GO OWLS). But, currently, I am in awe of the music industry. I am learning everything I can about how building relationships and helping other people can help you grow not only as an artist but as a person and it is SUPER fulfilling.