Having once worked in Wolves’ retail department while he was aiming for his musical breakthrough, it’s fair to say that S-X’s connection to the club runs pretty deep. On the back of launching his latest mixtape, ‘A Repeat Wouldn’t Go Amiss’, we caught up with the hugely successful record producer, singer and songwriter to talk music and, of course, Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Scrap off all that talk of Londoners who support teams in Manchester, or vice versa; S-X is a Wolves man through and through. A Wolves Foundation ambassador, we caught up with the top grime artist Producer at his home ground of Molineux. He may have long outgrown his time in the club’s retail department, producing for the likes of Childish Gambino, Lil Wayne, J Cole and Skepta, as well as performing and recording his own material, but as an avid Wolves fan he always has the club at heart.

You have such a strong connection with Wolves. Where did it all begin for you?

I’d say I fell in love with the club deeply and emotionally when I worked here. That’s when I realised how much of a family vibe there was. It’s not just like a team on the pitch but everyone here cares behind the scenes. From the catering staff to the people at the stadium – that’s when I really fell in love with Wolves. As a kid, it’s your childhood team and having a big team in your hometown, it’s where you naturally gravitate towards. When you’re not from London or Manchester or Liverpool, it’s special to have the club we do.

How proud are you of being from Wolverhampton?

It’s unreal how proud I am. It’s all I ever talk about – just being proud of Wolverhampton. I still live here. Considering what I’ve done in my career, that blows a lot of people’s minds. I love it here. You don’t need to be anywhere else if you’re comfortable where you’re at.

Not being part of the London scene, breaking through as someone outside of that, are you proud of that? Do you feel like an outsider in a good way?

Yeah and you know what, I think that helps as well. They know I’m not from London when I go there. I get a different kind of love when I do go there. I’ve been welcomed wherever I go but I always take where I’m from with me. I think the whole mental way that you look at things when you’re not from London, or a place where there isn’t a dominant scene, whether it’s music or say fashion - you have to think differently in order to rise up. You just make it happen when you’re from where we are. We don’t wait for things to happen. Yeah you may have to travel to get your name out there but that’s nothing in the long term.

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How did the story unfold from working at the club to then producing music for the very top in the game and then releasing your own stuff?

The crazy part about that is that I started making music early on when I was at school and had a lot of success in the grime scene with one of the biggest underground beats and instrumentals. That put me out there to be able to work with pretty much all of the biggest UK artists – I could have picked to work with anyone it felt like. With that, I found that I was just busy every day from the age of 16-20. I had a kid when I was 20 and that changed my whole perspective. It knocked me a bit. My confidence took a hit. I was making a lot of music for others, not really making anything for myself. Within the music industry it’s hard to make money unless you’ve got a hit record.

There were a lot of great things happening, but the money side wasn’t consistent. I had to get a job in 2015 and started working at the club. I had a GRAMMY nomination at that time, I had gold records in America, but I had to get a normal job. It was one of the most humbling and purposeful experiences I’ve ever had. When I left here after about 10 months, it was in that time that I grew as an artist, and I put out my own track as a singer. That changed my life. To go full circle and now be an ambassador for the club, it’s weird. I’ve always felt like I was a person who would put myself in a situation for other things to happen. It feels like these things were meant to be. They’re all part of the story.

Making your own luck, it has to happen doesn’t it…

Literally. It's the law of attraction as well. You’ve got to be deeply involved and passionate about what you do. When I was 15/16, I remember reading mad books and getting so invested in my passions. That level of hunger is something you’d like to keep forever. That whole “I want this, man”, level of belief in myself, I was always going to make this happen. I know as a kid I wasn’t the best at making music, but I would always aim for the limits of what I could do and make the best of what I’ve got. I’m beginning to feel that way all over again now. Post covid hope, mixtape dropping…

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For kids outside London, kids in Wolverhampton, they can see someone in you who has gone on to do great things and reach huge levels, that’s got to make you proud, and it’s got to make the people from here proud too…

I hope they are. I think definitely with the kids. A lot come up to me to say hi when I’m about and being an ambassador for the club, I’ve been able to do initiatives with Wolves that help kids too. It’s a role model thing that I want to hold in the city and I’m personally proud of that. I want to be that person to make this place proud. Wherever I go with my music, I want to be able to take my city with me. Kind of like how Drake has with Toronto, I want to show the world how much love I have for this place.

How would you describe what the club stands for and is about? Such a unique club badge as an example - it’s an independent place isn’t it?

I think that’s what it is. We don’t bullshit, we don’t mess around. It is what it is – it’s Wolverhampton. It’s not recognised as the greatest city in the world but that’s what makes it the greatest city in the world for me. It’s humble. There’s a lot of run-down parts but there’s also a lot of beautiful parts too. I think that comes across in the team too. It’s real. It’s not some facade multi-million-pound club that glosses over the issues – Wolves fuck up, like we all do in life. It’s normal, it’s real and it’s human.

How do you feel as you roll into a new season? Does the excitement return and you start to get all that love back for the game again?

That’s every season for me. At the start of the season, it’s always the same. No matter what the last looked like - it’s always a massive time of the year for me. The sad thing is for me that the busier I get, the less games I can get to. I find that tough. I wish that I was still able to come to every game and not worry about missing a game. You can have all the highs but there’s nothing like going to a game of football for 90 minutes.

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That business, that experience of success – how would you describe the rollercoaster and the highs along the way?

To be honest with you, as a solo artist, it’s been a very strange experience. I think the highs were on their way but then covid came in. There was such a peak with the track I dropped with KSI and then the track that followed that but that was just when covid hit. So, as much as I was gaining this new level of success and this new level of fame if you want to call it that, it also meant I wasn’t able to put my music out the same way or as I intended. I had just signed a new record deal with a label in America and suddenly, I couldn’t travel over there. It made things a bit messy, man. So, I had to get out of that record deal. So now I’m at this point and ready to put my mixtape out there – it feels like if you ask me in a month, those highs would have landed. I’m so excited to drop the mixtape, be touring again – I’m playing Reading and Leeds this month. So, I’m going from being busy in the studio and be back out on the road.

How excited are you not to just play live shows but Reading and Leeds will be incredible…?

It’s my first festival, man. So, to be in at the deep end and to learn and grow, I think it’s the best way. That’s how you learn most effectively. The deep end is the best way to be…

Festival music has changed so much. It’s so eclectic and such a range now. Does it feel good to be an artist emerging again at a time when there’s such a good wave?

I think the whole music scene has changed so much. Drill is pop music now - it’s gone number one. Music is changing and the way it is put out is changing too. Festivals are about what’s hot at the time. The sick thing is that you can have that mix now of Drill, Hip-hop, Pop and Rock – it fuses together and everyone just has a  great time with it. I’m excited for that, man. I’m performing on the 1Xtra stage at Reading and Leeds where there's only drill artists. I’ll be the only non-drill artist on that stage - it’s going to be amazing.

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What are the other milestones that you’ve really got your sights on?

My goal is to get my own charting tracks. Top 10s and things like that would be so good. I don’t put pressure on myself in terms of numbers and all that but for anyone to achieve that, me thinking back to being a kid, it would be a straight up cool thing to achieve. That would be cool. I really would love to sell out arenas. I feel like that’s where my music is supposed to be played. Stadiums, in front of way more people than you can imagine, you know? It’s heartfelt, meaningful music. It’s not the same shit that’s churned out. I feel like that’s one reason why it’s not taken off in the commercial sense. It’s the music that isn’t necessarily the music for the radio. It could easily be played there but it’s made for these big nights.

You’ve played on the pitch, here – what does that feel like?

Performing here at half-time – that alone was amazing. That was before ‘Down Like That’ and so it was showing that I was moving in the right direction. I’ll always call that one of the greatest moments in my career. It’s mad and surreal. It was a dark night, and the floodlights were beaming. It was incredible to be standing in the centre circle singing one of my tracks to fans of the club that I love.

You mentioned Drake – where else do you draw inspiration? Who else has a similar mindset to you?

I love Pharrell Williams. Especially in the fashion sense. How he has his own clothing brand too - that’s special. I love how he started out as a producer too and went on to be in his own bands and do his own thing as an artist. He’s had so much success as he’s gotten older. I love that about music. It’s timeless, it’s organic. There’s no pressure or barriers - it’s art and you can do it whenever you like. Because I don’t make music without the pressure of thinking “I have to chart”, I’ll be able to do it for the rest of my life. I don’t care if there’s one person listening because I’m doing it for me and having fun with it.

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You were talking about making your merch earlier – there’s a nice parallel with football and music in that way. Do you still get excited when a new kit comes out and all that?

Yeah man, definitely. How could you not. A new kit or a new piece of merch – as fans, who care about what they’re supporting, you live for that. That excitement around a new Kanye album and all that, it’s so good. I want Drake’s new album and I want that new S-X merch too – that’s what I’m hoping people say [laughs].

Like Pharrell, he’s been able to cross-industries. Is that the way you like to approach what you do?

Definitely. Anything I do is always an outlet of who I am and a form of expressing myself. It’s all a real part of me, as Sam. It’s not ‘S-X’ the name, it's all me. ‘A Repeat Wouldn’t Go A Miss’ – the title for the mixtape, came from a conversation I was having with a close friend of mine. We were having a conversation and I knew he wasn’t listening to me...I said to him, “did you hear what I said?” and he said to me, “A Repeat Wouldn’t Go a Miss” – instantly, I was like “WOAH, that’s crazy”. I’ve run with that and there’s so many layers to it. It interlinked to the conversation him and I were having, it was another moment where I just thought, “this is meant to be”. It was organic.

How are you feeling about the next chapter in your career?

It’s time now. No more worrying about my old label, no more worrying about covid. To be back out touring, releasing music, meeting the fans and engaging with them, I’m excited to take on the future.

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Listen to S-X's latest mixtape, 'A Repeat Wouldn't Go Amiss' on Spotify now.