In a brutally honest interview ahead of his stunning second album, the Tyneside chart-topper discusses politics, family, fame and mental health

In 2011, Sam Fender was, by his own admission, “a little stoner” who had flunked out of his A-Levels in his hometown of North Shields, living with his mother in a flat with black mould on the walls. A decade later, he’s one of the UK’s best and most successful singer-songwriters: his 2019 debut album Hypersonic Missiles went to No 1, he won a Brit award, and his knack for writing songs about 21st-century disaffections marked him out from cheerier peers such as Ed Sheeran and George Ezra. His second album Seventeen Going Under, a superb record that channels the sound of Bruce Springsteen and the War on Drugs into an examination of his family, youth and frailty, is out in October.

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