Exclusive Interview: Viral Sensation Alex Sampson On His New EP, ‘Blurry Vision’

January 19, 2024

Alex Sampson lies on his back, gazing upward with a contemplative expression, wearing a sage green knit shirt. His wet hair is tousled, and he's accessorized with subtle jewelry. The phrase 'BLURRY VISION' is inscribed to the side, suggesting a deeper, introspective context.

Text: Jeremy Whitaker

With a curated selection of songs spanning his late teens, viral sensation Alex Sampson releases his debut EP Blurry Vision.

To the upbeat rhythm of pop-punk guitars, Alex Sampson belts, "So young/what do we both know about love/true love, and the way it grows?," kicking off the EP's opening track with the infectious energy that defines Blurry Vision.

Demonstrated in lyrics like these are his keen observations on personal heartbreak and the teen experience conveyed in a way that is profoundly appealing in its simplicity. Beyond the sheer enjoyment, anthemic rhythms, and Sampson's dynamic vocals lies an incisive and mature sense of self-awareness.

As a true student of Pop, Sampson draws influence from artists like Conan Grey to 5 Seconds of Summer and One Direction, crafting sounds that evoke a sense of shared nostalgia that he somehow makes uniquely his. 

Sampson's youthful authenticity is apparent in his work. He's enjoying the moment as much as we are.

With the release of his EP marking the end of his teenage years, Alex Sampson reflects on his journey, delving into the origins of the EP and looking into the future.

With images exclusive to Rain, read the full interview below:

Interview recorded in December of 2023.

Jeremy Whitaker: You're at 715,000 monthly listeners, and your top song Play Pretend has over 15 million streams. So tell me, Alex Sampson, how did you get here?

Alex Sampson: If I told you the whole story, we'd probably be here for hours, so I'll give you the rundown.

JW: I’ve got all day.

AS: I started my first TikTok account in late 2018. I gained about 150,000 followers on there, but then, my account was shadowbanned. So I started a new account, which is the account that I have now, and I was fortunate enough that one of my first few videos went viral. I started getting followers from there, and that's when I started singing.

JW: So, you were just making videos, you didn’t start with singing?

AS: I really started TikTok as a joke, but when I started singing, I started to gain traction and get an audience and a fanbase if you will. They followed me over to Instagram, then followed me over to Spotify where I released my first song. 

JW: Was singing the original dream?

AS: Singing was the original dream. As cliche as it sounds, it's been here forever in my house and my family and my life growing up. So when I finally started to gain traction on TikTok and social media for my singing, I was kind of like, oh crap.

JW: Your debut EP titled Blurry Vision comes out on January 19th. The EP has six songs in total, and if I’m not mistaken, four of them are songs written over the past four years.

AS:  It's an EP of four years' worth of songs. I have a catalog of a hundred songs in my toolbox, so me and everyone on my wonderful team curated a list of our favorite songs separately, and then we all went through and chose the ones that were on everybody's list. 

JW: Wow.

AS: Even though it's not a record with six new songs, I think we've carefully chosen the songs in a way that conveys the story that I wanted to tell. It was cool for me because obviously it's my first project and I really hope people like it. The oldest one on there is “Play Pretend,” which is my biggest song. It was actually written over Zoom while COVID was happening.

JW: The EP all feels very heartfelt, and then you kind of shocked me with songs like “Lemonadebeing all sexy and fun.

AS: I think the story of the EP tells itself with the title Blurry Vision. It represents a love that is very back and forth. You have songs like “Lemonade” and “Until the World Gets Sick of Us,” where you're in love. Then you have a song like “WANT YOU!,” which sounds happy, but if you listen to the lyrics, it is really like, “I want to be over you. I don't want you anymore.” A lot of the songs are like, do you want me? Do you not want me? It's so blurry. 

Photo by Ashley Osborn

JW: It didn't seem to me that it was about one specific heartbreak, but more about the condition. 

AS: … No comment. 

JW: No comment! Who hurt him! Who were you inspired by in making the EP? It sounds very boy band-inspired.

AS:  Definitely. There was a lot of inspiration behind all of the songs. I think “Girl Who Cried Love” subconsciously has a Conan Gray vibe. Also, spoiler alert, I was almost in three boy bands.

JW: Does it feel satisfying to know that you're doing it solo and you're succeeding?

AS: I think so. I mean, I always used to think that doing it in a band with four dudes, four bros, just getting to know each other and doing it together would be more fun.

JW: It seems like you're a real child of Pop.

AS: Definitely. Five Seconds of Summer is my favorite band of all time. With “WANT YOU!” I wanted to make something with an old 1D vibe. I feel like that is what’s been missing and people seem to have connected with it, especially the Directioners. They're crazy in the best way possible.

JW: They are crazy. When you're writing your music, are you thinking about virality? How does that factor into your actual process?

AS: Personally, when I write a song, I just like to write a really good song. I don't think of ways I'm going to promote it until after I'm done with it. I think what a lot of people do nowadays is they'll write a song with an idea or sound that will most likely go viral on TikTok.

JW: Tell me your favorite song on the EP and the lyric you're most proud of.

Photo by Ashley Osborn

AS: If I had to listen to one for the rest of my life it would probably be “WANT YOU!” closely tied with “The Girl Who Cried Love.” One of my favorite lyrics is in “The Girl Who Cried Love,” “Now I'm in Ruins and I feel so stupid/ I can't believe I believed what you said.”

JW: It's that knife to the heart that everyone can relate to.

AS: “WANT YOU!” has a cool lyric where it's “‘cause I get emotion sickness from back and forth with you.”

JW: That is a good one. My favorite lyric was also on “WANT YOU! When you say, “Put a lock on it and make sure I'm heartbreak proof.” Also on “Play Pretend,” I like the lyric “dancing on this fine line.” 

AS: Play Pretend” is a song about falling in love with your best friend and not letting them know, and then watching them fall for somebody else. You don't want to go too far to the “I like you” side, but you also don't want to go too far to the “I don't like you” side, so you're in the middle. You're kind of like, what do I do?

JW: And you have to respect the friendship.

AS: Exactly. You don't want to be like, “Hey, I like you,” and then have it be awkward,

JW: What do you want the people reading to know about the EP?

AS: The EP paints a period of my life over the past few years that is coming to a close. It's a story of a lot of overthinking. It's a story of love, it's a story of heartbreak. This is going to be so poetic of me, but with the EP coming out, I can finally close that chapter of life. I think what people can take from it is that it's okay to feel all this. At the end of the day, you're going to be fine.

JW: You're 19, right?

AS: I am. The day after the EP comes out, January 20th, I turn 20. It's my champagne birthday.

JW: It's closing your teens. It’s kind of saying goodbye to that era of your life as well. 

AS: My gosh. Didn't think about that. That's crazy.

JW: Not to give you an existential crisis or anything.

AS: I already had too many of those this year. 

JW: You’re turning 20 next year, your EP is coming out next year. Tell me, what are your goals for next year? 

AS: Next year is hopefully going to be a pretty big year. We have some pretty big plans that I can't announce but we have some big, big plans. I have a lot of songs that I've been working on, I'm excited to put those out. I am going to be doing a few shows. A big goal for me is to just get out there and start performing next year. 

JW: Are there any collaborators that you hope to work with in the future? I noticed you are into Tate McCrae.

Photo by Ashley Osborn

AS: I would love to do a collab with Tate one day. She's Canadian as well. 

JW: We're manifesting this, Tate.

AS: Come on, if you want to, I'm here. Jeremy Zucker, or I think Justin Bieber one day would be super fun. I'm an Owl City fan. Five Seconds of Summer if they ever do collabs. I mean, Harry, Niall, or any of the One Direction dudes.

JW: How important is fashion in your stories? 

AS: Fashion-wise, I've been exploring a lot this year what I feel cool in, what I feel comfortable wearing, and what I think I look the best in. I'm more of a casual-style vibe. You don't see it, but I'm wearing sweatpants right now. I was going to work out after this.

JW: I love it.

AS: I'm more of a T-shirt and jeans kind of guy. I'm down for a leather jacket occasionally. You won't see me walking down the streets of LA wearing a cheetah print coat. I like wearing a few rings, and a bracelet. I have my one ear pierced. 

JW: Very minimalist. 

AS: The Girl Who Cried Love” music video is the very first music video I had a stylist. It was so cool. The outfits I wore in that video are so much cooler than what I would normally wear. I'm very proud of that video. That's my favorite music video that I've done.

JW: It seems like 2024 for Mr. Alex Samson is going to be elevated. All about going to the next floor.

AS: I hope so, that’s the goal. Just up, up, up.

Blurry Vision and accompanying music video "The Girl Who Cried Love" are out now.