'Buying a home in Wolverhampton is a career highlight': Artist S-X on his love for his hometown

Watch S-X talk about getting his big break while at school, opening up about his mental health, and his love of Wolverhampton.

Video and words by Sam Leader and Zahra Errami, ITV News' Here's The Story

He is a Grammy and Brit Award-nominated artist and producer who has worked with the likes of Childish Gambino, Lil Wayne and J Cole, but S-X says that his biggest career achievement so far is being able to buy a house in his hometown of Wolverhampton.

S-X, real name Sam Gumbley, 29, got his big break while at secondary school when an instrumental track he produced, Woo Riddim, blew up online, being used by a number of artists in the grime scene.

In the years since, he has become an established producer and artist. Before he was 18, he had worked with Skepta, Chipmunk and Tinie Tempah.

He is also a solo artist, releasing his debut album on Friday - but one thing hasn't changed for S-X through the years - his loyalty and love for his hometown.

S-X in the Wolverhampton Wanderers warehouse where he used to work before producing music full time. Credit: ITV News

Speaking to ITV News at Wolverhampton Wanderers' Molineux stadium, where he once worked in its retail warehouse before turning to music producing full time, S-X says Wolverhampton is "a close knit community...that definitely shows in the music, it's raw.

"I love it here. And I live here, my family's here."

S-X said he always had a passion for music, playing the violin at school, and beatboxing in his room. But he says the real "game changer" for him was when he realised he could produce beats from home on his computer.

"When I found out you could make beats on a computer, not this big studio or whatever - game changer, like it changed my life. I made my first beat when I was like 11 or 12 and I'm still making them today."

Skepta, Chipmunk and Tinie Tempah are some of the artists S-X had worked with before he was 18 Credit: PA

He says it can be hard to make money from music, with streaming being the most popular way to listen to music today. "You have to have a song with a lot of streams to be like, 'yeah - I'm rich now.'"

The coronavirus pandemic had a big part to play in the name of his debut solo album, Things Change.

He says the pandemic helped him learned to prioritise his mental health, especially against the mounting pressure artists face to release new music, create social media content and stay seen in the industry.

"I don't pressure myself [to post], man. Like if I'm not feeling it, I'm not feeling it for a reason, you know? As you get bigger in music and there's more pressure on, especially from a label or like just to do things a certain way, it can be quite daunting"

"But then there's days where I just don't wanna post nothing, man. I don't wanna show my life. I'm not feeling too good about me. So why would I wanna share it? You know?"

Despite admitting he 'doesn't really care' too much about social media, S-X has racked up a serious following online, with over 300,000 subscribers on YouTube.

With the release of his new album and his career as an solo artist about to take off, he's adamant he is staying right where he is in Wolverhampton.

Asked what his 'pinch me' moment so far in his career has been, he said: "Buying my own property [in Wolverhampton] was one of them...to do that off of music in a pandemic when I don't have another job...I'm proud of myself for that."

Here's The Story is a new strand from ITV News bringing you stories worth knowing plus original journalism worth watching from our team of reporters. You can follow Here's The Story across ITV News' social media platforms, including on our Instagram account, or you watch the latest videos here on the ITV News website.