To the uninitiated, the 5.67m YouTube views of Sam Tompkin’s Yesterday may appear to be an anomaly. The Guinness World Records lists the Beatles’ Yesterday as the most covered song of all time, so there are plenty of covers to choose from. One could listen to versions by Marvin Gaye, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, and many more.
Then there are the apologies listed by Tompkins under his video: his terrible guitar work, the noise of the fountain behind him, and the poor quality of the cellphone footage. Two things explain the popularity of the video. Sam Tompkins has a soulful voice with an impressive range and he is a major-label artist with a burgeoning reputation.
As you see, it’s ultimately all about the singing! Tompkins is blessed with a splendid voice and the wisdom to deploy it with artful restraint. Despite the reservations expressed by Tompkins, the unpretentious honesty of the video only adds to the charm. Bayralysis wittily comments: “This man combined the 70s, a tennis coach, emo and the modern male look into one style”. Baryalysis is onto something. 0n 27 January 2023, Sam Tompkins was featured in GQ magazine.
The GQ article touches on both Tompkin’s music and his personal style. Music-wise, Sam Tompkins is fresh off a top-10 EP. When it comes to outfits, he currently favours tracksuits by Cherry, jeans and hoodies, loose-fit baggy clothes, a duckbill hat, and Nike Airforce sneakers. Sam Tompkins’s latest single is Die For Someone. GQ says it feels like brain-chemistry-altering music. Tompkins wrote it to prove to himself that he was ready to love again following traumatic previous relationships.
Interestingly, despite signing to Island Records in 2019, Sam Tompkins continues to write and record in his basement flat in Brighton. Not that this has held him back. He has collaborated with JNR Choi (To The Moon) and he has been sampled by Nicki Minaj and Young Bleu (both sampled Tompkins’s Whole). Then there is the success of his recent releases.
In March 2022, Sam Tompkins released the “autobiographical” EP Who Do You Pray To? The EP included four singles Bloodline, Hero (about his father’s battle with mental health issues), Whole, and My Brother (which touches on the deaths of his grandparents and his brother’s inability to attend his grandfather’s funeral due to Covid19 restrictions. The EP made the UK Top Ten and Tompkins started selling out music venues across Europe.
In September 2022 Tompkins released Lose It All, which hit the number 9 spot on the UK singles chart. His most recent single, Die For Someone, is a taster from his much anticipated upcoming debut album. Meanwhile, Sam Tompkins is planning his biggest tour yet, and he plans to perform at several festivals in 2023. Musicians who have praised Tompkins include Elton John and Justin Bieber.
Sam Tompkins started his adventure in music by busking in Brighton, often with his friend Ren, who achieved fame with The Big Push. Tompkins remains well-grounded. Speaking of his future plans, he says that he hopes to sustain a music career “that helps people and that people care about”.
Given that Sam Tompkins is a rapidly rising star with a powerful voice, it is not surprising that the cellphone video of him singing Paul McCarthy’s Yesterday in a Brighton park went viral. Posted in July 2019, Yesterday remains Sam Tompkins’s most popular video on YouTube.