The English balladeer Sampha performed a quietly thrilling version of his new song “Treasure” on The Late Late Show on Thursday.
The singer brought along a dream-team of backing musicians, including the pianist Robert Glasper, saxophone player Kamasi Washington, cellist Kelsey Lu and singer SerpentWithFeet, all of whom are acclaimed artists in their own right. The resulting rendition of “Treasure” was whispery and yearning, like the best P.M. Dawn ballads. Sampha sang with soft, quavery intensity, and his backing vocalists emitted long, wordless sighs behind him. Washington stayed silent until the track’s halfway point, but his playing became increasingly forceful as “Treasure” came to a close.
Sampha released “Treasure” in October on the soundtrack to the Steve Carell film Beautiful Boy. It marks the first new music from the singer since he released his debut album, Process, in 2017. Process went on to win England’s prestigious Mercury Prize. The singer also appeared last year on Drake’s More Life and on Richard Russell’s album under the name Everything Is Recorded.