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Politics and pizza crunch: A day in Glasgow with Sam Fender

The Newcastle native spoke to STV in his 'second home' ahead of a gig at the O2 Academy.

Sam Fender: Describes Scotland as his 'second home'.
Sam Fender: Describes Scotland as his 'second home'. Getty

"I'm not trying to score points here, but I think my hometown Newcastle and Glasgow are like the same place."

So declared Sam Fender as he took to the stage in front of a delighted crowd at the O2 Academy.

"That's the best start to a gig we've ever had. If you go independent, you're taking us with you," he laughed, before launching into another lethally-catchy tune.

It's been an incredible year for the 25-year-old singer-guitarist. He reached number one with his debut album, was championed by Elton John and sold-out this headline tour.

The latest recipient of the Brits' critics' choice awards, Sam is already planning a jam-packed 2020 - which includes playing two sold-out shows at Barrowland Ballroom.

"I played loads of gigs in Scotland, before I was signed or had a band or anything and my first gig with this band was actually in Ullapool," Sam told STV News ahead of his Glasgow show.

He said: "We're secret Scottish people, the Geordies. We both have a strong ship-building history, love getting smashed and love fried food.

"Last time I came here I was walking down Sauchiehall Street, absolutely mortal, eating a pizza crunch.

"I'm so buzzing to be back. It wasn't even a year ago we were supporting Blossoms at this venue and I was kind of nervous backstage. And now we're doing it ourselves - so I'm buzzing."

'Last time I came here I was walking down Sauchiehall Street, absolutely mortal, eating a pizza crunch.'
Sam Fender

Sam's songs are socially and politically inspired and he's been hailed the new working-class voice in British rock.

His tracks about male suicide, white privilege and the spice epidemic have resonated with young people across the country - but especially here in Glasgow.

And even Stormzy's a fan - recently leaving him a voicemail about how much he loved his music and inviting him on a night out "that Lorraine Kelly's managed to muscle in on too".

While Sam writes politically minded songs, in the title track from his new album Hypersonic Missiles, he admits he "doesn't have the answer".

He added: "I'm not clever enough to fix the problems I write about. 

"I just take something that's stirred me up while I'm smoking rollies and watching daytime telly in the Toon and I turn that into a tune."

But if last night's gig is anything to go by, Sam is perhaps selling himself short. As indie-kids streamed out of the O2 Academy, I asked a group of boys why they like Sam.

"We feel like he's like us," one said. "And he understands us. He's working class too - and people always portray us as a bit thick.

"There's actually a lot of really clever people like Sam Fender, and he's giving our generation a voice."

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