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Who is Sam Branson? Richard Branson’s son makes music debut

Sam Branson’s debut album is slated for release in June  (Dave Benett)
Sam Branson’s debut album is slated for release in June (Dave Benett)

Sam Branson chose to celebrate the launch of his debut album by offering fans the chance to win a seven-night stay in a luxury estate in Bali.

For any other aspiring pop star, it would be a potentially bankrupting opening gambit (his contemporary Ed Sheeran was, after all, sleeping on the Circle Line before he found musical fortune). But Branson was never likely to be your typical pop star. For a start, he is launching his career at 38.

He told the Sunday Times he waited that part of the reason he put off launching his career for so long “is because of my family’s history with music”. Oh, right, it’s about now I should mention that Sam is the son of media and business tycoon Sir Richard Branson.

“I was like a kid at art school comparing himself to Picasso,” he added about keeping music something of his secret.

But it is not like the youngest child of Richard and Joan Branson has shied away from embracing his other passions. A browse through his YouTube channel shows he has clearly inherited his dad’s love for exotic travel and living life to the full. His chiselled features and self-confidence make him a natural in front of the camera, whether he is presenting a yoga video or demonstrating an ice dip on a foreign adventure.

The top line of his Virgin profile reads: “His passion for adventure and the environment has seen him endure many challenges – most notably embarking on a 1,400 mile, three-month, dogsled expedition to the Arctic to raise awareness around climate change.”

Like his dad, he has ventured into media. In 2012, Sam founded production company Sundog Pictures which in 2021 became HiddenLight Productions in partnership with Hilary and Chelsea Clinton. He has also had a presence in Virgin, directing how the empire can best serve in its philanthropy.

“It took me 30 years to pluck up the courage,” he says of finally getting around to diving into a music career. But it took the encouragement of Ed Sheeran, a friend since before his fame, to give Sam the confidence to take the plunge.

Sir Richard Branson (PA Wire)
Sir Richard Branson (PA Wire)

The Times reported it was Sheeran who advised Branson to release 7 Billion, a love song to his wife of ten years Isabella Calthorpe, as the first single. The acoustic ballad is a representative take from Under The Static - the debut album which will be released on June 16 and is also set to feature more pop rock-led numbers such as The Man I Am.

To distance himself from his famous surname, Branson will release the record under his performance name Waves Rush In. But he will never completely leave behind accusations of being a nepo baby, and he has been wise enough not to try to. The video for his 2022 standalone single Valley Of The Shadows, a campfire house-infused track, sees Branson perform on an exotic island as surfers take to the waves around him.

But while the mise-en-scene invokes Necker Island, he insists he has not asked his dad for advice on making it in the business.

“I don’t think anyone in the world has been more sensitive to their position in life than myself,” he told the Sunday Times.

“The music industry has changed so much since he was involved, and I’ve always been driven to do my own thing.”

Under the Static will be released on June 16.