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How TIDAL’s Unplugged Grant is giving artist Sam Austins ‘WINGS’

Sam Austins, a young up-and-comer has returned with a new sound and conceptualized project with TIDAL’S Unplugged Grant. Kulture Hub debuts his latest work “WINGS” showcasing a year’s worth of introspection and redirection.

But how did we get here?

Sam Austins’ website bio refers to himself as “an anxious fuck.” The Detroit rapper blew up with his EP GOAT. The 2015 project put him on bills with the likes of Playboi Carti, Vince Staples, and Juicy J. His sound on GOAT is raw and experimental mixing hip hop and alternative sounds.

His next release would be in 2017, a single titled “Fiji” (Take A Daytrip) leaning more on his hip hop sound but still with the young confidence of a talented lyricist. With “Fiji” and “Right Here 4 U” (Gosh Pith), Austins rose to national recognition.

His official debut album titled ANGST incorporated more synth beats and traditionally alternative sounds that so differentiated him from other acts. Austins describes the project as,

“A cerebral project about paralyzing anxiety and inhibited potential, coping mechanisms and escapism.”

ANGST also notably showcases Austins’ singing alongside with his rapping skills. His later releases in 2018 blend the two as well.

A cathartic hiatus


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At the beginning of 2019, Sam Austins found himself as one of the most talked-about young artists coming out of Detroit. The artist has a unique blend of rap and alternative sounds and an expansive visual aesthetic.

He was also one of the most enigmatic and elusive artists coming from the city. It surprised everyone when instead of riding that momentum, he disappeared for the year to work on music in isolation.

Austin expressed:

“I was fresh out of a long-term relationship, recovering from heartbreak, unsure of my career’s future, and just needed to escape for a minute to work on music. I just needed to make music for the therapy of releasing the energy that I had pent up inside me, without all the other pressures and influences.”

Austins’ new vision has “WINGS”


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Where Sam Austins’ previous music feels like an important emotional journey within, his latest release “WINGS” ushers in a journey forward, with a deep understanding of the past and its importance.

His year-long absence comes to a complete on with the song that establishes the importance of letting go of past love in order to grow.

“When we were working on the song, the first thing that came out of my mouth were those somber words: ‘sorry that I had to let you fly.’ With those words alone, I knew this song was the track that would start the transition into who I would become musically. I think that WINGS was truly the goodbye to my past in my personal life, and even in my artistic life. This is the origin point of a new Sam Austins.” – Sam Austins

The music video for “WINGS” was co-directed and produced by Andrew Amine. It shows Austins crossing a field while in pain and struggling to continue but ultimately triumphantly continuing to move forward.

The aesthetic and sound together remind us of Frank Ocean’s individual genius.

TIDAL Unplugged

Sam Austins submitted an acoustic rendition of “WINGS” with his application. This was undoubtedly one of the deciding factors in Sam Austins’ acceptance of TIDAL’s Unplugged program.

Since being awarded TIDAL’s Unplugged Grant, Austins has been able to finish the body of work he started without compromising his vision or creative control.

The pilot grant program launched in February 2019 to support up-and-coming musicians and nurture the launch of their careers. And the artists retain full ownership of his or her masters.

During the process, recipients work with industry experts and received access to resources tailored to their individual needs. “WINGS” is the first release from that body of work. It drops just as Austins heads out on tour with Interscope artist Yoshi Flower.

Austins’ new music is sure to take flight.

Sam Austins Tour Dates (w/ Yoshi Flower)

March 13 – Chicago, IL (Cobra Lounge) 

March 14 – Detroit, MI (Loving Touch) 

March 15 – Toronto, ON (The Underground at Drake Hotel) 

March 18 – Cambridge, MA (Middle East Upstairs) 

March 19 – New York, NY (Chelsea Music Hall) 

March 20 – Philadelphia, PA (World Cafe Live) 

March 21 – Washington DC (DC9)