Watch Sam Ryder play ‘Whirlwind’ and ‘Tiny Riot’ for NME Home Sessions

We’ve all found a bit of solace in TikTok amidst the turbulence of the past year, but, very few of us have achieved the same level of internet-induced success as Essex-based Sam Ryder.

Ryder found viral acclaim after he begun posting covers and at-home karaoke tracks at the beginning of lockdown last March and, by the end of the year, he was crowned TikTok’s most popular artist account.

With 7.7 million followers and a range of famous fans including Justin Bieber and Alicia Keys, Ryder brings his award-winning charisma to his NME Home Sessions performance.


Delivering a charmingly atmospheric rendition of his recent single ‘Whirlwind,’ floaty keys underscore the singer-songwriter’s crescendoing vocals and characteristic emotional intensity.

“To be frustratingly ambiguous about the meaning, when you’re spiralling, up or down, there are forces at work that are beyond your control,” he says of the track. “If you ever find yourself swept up in a whirlwind, it might (or might not) be of some comfort to know that where you end up may not be completely up to you.”

It’s a faultlessly fitting track given the chaos of the past twelve months and, along with his stripped back rendition of his second single ‘Tiny Riot,’ Ryder offers a sense of assured optimism as the world slowly returns to normal.

You can watch Sam Ryder’s full NME Home Sessions performance above.

For more NME Home Sessions, you can check out multi-instrumentalist Ela Minus, Genesis Owusu and Kirin J Callinan stripping things back, Chloe Moriondo joining us from her bedroom and a performance from the Shed Leopard Studios by Kara Marni.