Since breaking into the world of pop songwriting in the early 2010s, Sam Martin has shown his supreme skill at creating intensely catchy songs with deep emotional power. After earning his first Billboard #1 with Maroon 5s double-platinum hit Daylight, the Grammy Award-winner went on to pen tracks for artists like David Guetta, One Direction, The Chainsmokers, and G-Eazy, as well as shatter the record for the biggest Top 40 US radio launch in history (with Jason Derulos chart-topping Want to Want Me). Now, on his full-length debut Alpha Omega, Martin brings his warmly honest songwriting to an 18-track album exploring the journey from birth to deathand all the most monumental moments in between.
Centered on Martins impassioned vocals, Alpha Omega bears a lavishly detailed sound that merges so many distinct elements: soaring melodies, hazy atmospherics, hip-hop beats and EDM rhythms, flashes of folky simplicity and film-score grandeur. In addition to its symphony-like themes, Alpha Omega is embedded with audio from Martins own life (including clips from his wedding), giving way to an album that feels cinematic in scope but also profoundly intimate.
In the spirit of that dynamic, Alpha Omega is accompanied by a 12-minute narrative short directed and edited by Martin himself. Featuring excerpts from nearly all of Alpha Omegas songs, the exquisitely shot film follows its protagonist through the joy and heartbreak of lifes major trials, adding a whole new layer to the emotional experience of the album. What I hope people take away from the filmand from the record in generalis the idea that life flies by so fast, and youd better hold onto what really matters: family, love, relationships, all those connections you make with other people, says Martin.
Throughout Alpha Omega, Martins heart-on-sleeve storytelling gently guides the songs into ever-shifting emotional terrain. On Summer Days, a childrens choir brings their breezy sing-song to lyrics that capture the very specific melancholy of being a kid. Sabotage embodies a moody urgency true to teen angst, while The Great Escape delivers a darkly charged meditation on the lies and seduction of drugs. A burst of pure pop perfection, Sugar Is Sweet channels the self-destructive bliss of falling for someone whos all wrong for you. And on the soulful Bring Me Home, Martin makes a heartrending plea for redemption and rebirth.
Following the stark intensity of Stormsa track that examines anxiety and depressionAlpha Omega slips into a hopeful mood on Its Gonna Get Better. From there, the album delights in the enchantment of marriage on Blue Eyed Joy then conveys the wide-eyed anticipation of becoming a parent on Song For My Unborn Son. With its graceful swagger, Live Before I Die transforms the despair of midlife crisis into determination to live more deliberately. Martin later looks to the twilight years on the luminous What a Life and, for the albums final track, offers up the epic and gospel-inspired Shine On.
Born in Manhattan but raised in Oregon, Martin began his musical journey by taking up piano as a kid. By age 12 hed started writing his own songs and had a life-changing breakthrough when his father brought a reel-to-reel tape recorder home from work. I started recording music the same way the Beatles did, and from then on Ive always slept within ten yards of recording gear, Martin says. In high school, after saving up money to buy a digital recorder, he produced his own album (Electricity) and sold copies on CD. After cutting a second album under the title of Chaos, Martin headed to Berklee College of Music, but dropped out after two years to make another record. In his first few post-Berklee years, Martin struggled with some setbacks, and eventually began working as a videographer for nonprofits involved in disaster relief. During that time, Martin kept working on his music and joined a band with his brother Connor. Soon enough, a song that Martin penned for the band caught the ear of music executive Mike Caren (CEO/founder of Artist Partner Group), who signed him to a publishing deal.
Martin then threw himself into writing songs in hopes of landing a placement, but ended up finding his big break entirely through serendipity. I woke up from a dream one night with this melody rattling around in my head, so I went to the piano and recorded the idea, he says. The next morning, I listened back and sat at the piano again, and what came out was a second melody and the word 'daylight. The whole song happened in these two flashes. Just months later, Martin saw Daylight cut by Maroon 5 for their platinum-selling album Overexposed.
Before that point I was so burnt out, I wanted to quit music, Martin remembers. Id tried for years to make something happenand then in one night I have this dream, and everything changes. With the success of Daylight, Martin set off on a path that ultimately led to his debut as a featured artist: David Guettas back-to-back hits Lovers on the Sun and Dangerous, both of which Martin co-wrote. Those singles quickly paved the way for his signing as a recording artist to Atlantic, and Martin soon began the process of bringing Alpha Omega to life.
I think we constantly forget how briefly we are here, says Martin in reflecting on the message behind Alpha Omega. I wanted this music and video to inspire people to live a good and meaningful life, to search for what is true, to wake up spiritually, and choose the light inside of us over the dark. If everyone tried to live that way, this would be a very different world.