Sam Smith - Biography

Smith is a singer-songwriter from England. They rose to prominence in October 2012 after appearing on Disclosure's chart-topping song 'Latch.' Smith then featured in May 2013 on Naughty Boy's number one song 'La La La.' In December 2013, both the 2014 Brit Critics' Choice Award and the BBC Sound of 2014 poll were nominated. In the Lonely Hour was released in May 2014 by Capitol Records UK. 'Lay Me Down' was released before 'La La La.'

Smith's second UK number one hit was 'Money on My Mind.' 'Stay with Me' peaked at number one in the United Kingdom and number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, while 'I'm Not the Only One' and 'Like I Can' both peaked at number ten in the United Kingdom. At the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, the album was nominated for Album of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance.

Smith received a Golden Globe and an Oscar for his song 'Writing's on the Wall,' which he co-wrote with Jimmy Napes and was used as the theme for the James Bond film Spectre (2015). Smith's second studio album, The Thrill of It All, debuted at number one in both the UK and the US. 'Too Good at Goodbyes' peaked at number one in the United Kingdom and Australia, and at number four in the United States. They released 'Promises' with Calvin Harris, which peaked at number one in the United Kingdom.

Smith and Normani released 'Dancing with a Stranger' in 2019, which charted in the top 10 in both the UK and the US and was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2020 Brit Awards. As of April 2021, Smith has sold over 30 million records. They have four Grammys, three Brits, three Billboard Music Awards, an American Music Award, a Golden Globe, and an Oscar to their name.

Family

On May 19, 1992, in London, Samuel Frederick Smith was born to Frederick Smith and broker Kate Cassidy. They grew up in Great Chishill, Cambridgeshire, and went to Thomas More Primary School. Smith was ridiculed as a kid for 'having breasts,' so she underwent liposuction at the age of 12. They were members of Youth Songs Theatre UK and performed in the troupe's 2007 production of Oh! Carol, a musical using Neil Sedaka's music. Smith had previously worked in jazz ensembles before joining the musical theatre.

Smith attended St Mary's Catholic School in Bishop's Stortford and was a member of the Bishop's Stortford Junior Operatics (now Bishops Stortford Musical Theatre Society) and the Cantate Youth Choir while studying singing and songwriting with jazz pianist Joanna Eden for many years.

Smith came out as homosexual to the public in May 2014, and recognised a relationship with actor and model Jonathan Zeizel, which has since terminated. When the 57th Annual Grammy Awards were held, ''I want to thank the guy who this song is about, who I fell in love with last year,' they stated after winning Record of the Year. Thank you so much for hurting my heart by winning four Grammys!' Smith said in October 2017 that their new album, The Thrill of It All, revealed 'the homosexual man I've become.'

Smith confirmed her relationship with actor Brandon Flynn in an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in September 2017. Smith and Flynn announced their breakup in June 2018 after nine months of dating.

Smith came out as genderqueer in October 2017, saying, 'I feel just as much a woman as I do a man,' and recalling a time when they 'didn't own a piece of male clothing and would wear full makeup while attending school.' They announced their intention to come out as non-binary and alter their gender pronouns to they/them in September 2019, saying, 'after a lifetime of being at battle with my gender, I've chosen to accept myself for who I am, inside and out...' Smith is Lily Allen's third cousin, as is actor Alfie Allen. Smith is a godparent to the kid of close friend and colleague Jimmy Napes. Smith considers herself a feminist.

Smith has battled with body image problems throughout their adolescence and has been candid about it in interviews.

Smith with her sister
Career

Smith appeared on the song 'Latch' by Disclosure, which was released on October 8, 2012 and peaked at No. 11 on the UK Singles Chart. Smith released the first song off her first album, 'Lay Me Down,' in February 2013, and later that year appeared on Naughty Boy's hit 'La La La.' It was released on May 19, 2013, and reached number one on the UK Singles Chart. The next year, Smith's first EP, Nirvana, was published. The first song on the EP, 'Safe with Me,' was produced by Two Inch Punch and premiered on MistaJam's BBC Radio 1Xtra programme on July 24, 2013. The EP's second track, 'Nirvana,' was produced by Craze & Hoax and Jonathan Creek.

Smith's acoustic solo version of 'Latch' and a live version of 'I've Told You Now' are also included on the EP. Smith released the Disclosure, Nile Rodgers, and Jimmy Napes duet 'Together' as the sole single from Settle: The Remixes on November 25, 2013.

Smith's second single from her first album, 'Money on My Mind,' was released on February 16, 2014. On December 16, it was revealed that Smith's first studio album, In the Lonely Hour, will be released on May 26, 2014 via Capitol Records. Smith characterised the album as 'all about unrequited love' as a consequence of their own experience of never being loved back by any of their love interests. The album debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart and number two on the Billboard 200, and by November 5th, it had become the second best-selling album of 2014 in the United States, behind only Taylor Swift's 1989.

Smith embarked on their first American headlining tour in the second quarter of 2014, with a setlist mainly comprised of new songs. Smith made their American television debut on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on January 20, 2014, playing 'Latch' with Disclosure. On March 29, 2014, Smith appeared on Saturday Night Live, playing the gospel-tinged 'Stay with Me' and an acoustic rendition of 'Lay Me Down.' 'Stay with Me' peaked at number one on the UK Singles Chart and number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. 'I'm Not the Only One,' the album's fourth single, peaked at number three in the UK and number five in the US.

Smith originally featured on the cover of The Fader in its 92nd edition in June 2014. Their song 'Stay with Me' was selected Variance Magazine's Song of Summer in August 2014. Smith sang 'Stay With Me' live at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, which took place on August 24th at The Forum in Inglewood, California.

In 2015, it was revealed that musician Tom Petty had reached an out-of-court settlement with Smith in October 2014, citing similarities between 'Stay with Me' and his 1989 smash song 'I Won't Back Down.' Petty and co-composer Jeff Lynne were paid 12.5 percent of the earnings from 'Stay with Me,' and their names were added to the ASCAP song credit alongside James John Napier (known professionally as Jimmy Napes).

Smith sang 'Stay with Me' at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, held on February 8, 2015, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and won four Grammy Awards: Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year (for 'Stay with Me'), and Best Pop Vocal Album (for In the Lonely Hour). They sang 'Lay Me Down' at the 2015 Brit Awards, which were held on February 25 at The O2 Arena in London, and won the Brit Awards for British Breakthrough Act and Global Success. 'Lay Me Down' was re-released as the album's sixth single in March 2015, reaching at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 (Smith's third US top 10 song).

The following month, Smith recorded a new version of the song with John Legend for the British charity telethon Comic Relief, which went to number one in the United Kingdom. Smith won three Billboard Awards at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards on May 17: Top Male Artist, Top New Artist, and Top Radio Songs Artist. They made an appearance on Disclosure's song 'Omen,' which was released on July 27, 2015.

Smith and Jimmy Napes announced on September 8, 2015, that they have written 'Writing's on the Wall,' the theme song for Spectre, the 24th James Bond film. The song was published on September 25, 2015, and it became the first James Bond theme tune to hit number one in the United Kingdom. On October 19, Smith was honoured with two Guinness World Records: one for recording the first James Bond theme tune to reach number one in the UK, and another for In the Lonely Hour spending the longest straight weeks in the UK top ten for a debut album.

Smith shared video of themselves in the studio working on new songs throughout 2016, leading up to the release of their second studio album. Smith was reported to be working on new material with Adam Lambert in late 2016. Smith announced in early 2017 that their second album, Smith, would be released in September 2017 and had been recorded with long-time collaborator Jimmy Napes and Naughty Boy.

Smith was reported to be in the studio with classical crossover trio Clean Bandit in April 2017, working on a potential 'comeback song.' Along with Clean Bandit, record producer Timbaland and singer Frances said that they have collaborated on tracks for Smith's next album. Smith released a new song titled 'Too Good at Goodbyes' on September 8, 2017, which debuted at number one in the United Kingdom and number five on the US Billboard Hot 100.

The Thrill of It All, their second studio album, landed at the top of the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200, earning their first number one album in the US.

Smith released the song 'Dancing with a Stranger' with Normani as a single in January 2019, and it hit the top 10 in the UK, the US, and other countries. On July 6, 2019, Mike Adam of New 102.7 radio revealed the song 'How Do You Sleep?' on their Twitter account. Smith said on social media on July 9, 2019, that an announcement will be made the following day.

On July 10, the pre-order link became live, and later that day, they officially announced and released a music clip. Smith expressed enthusiasm about their forthcoming album in an interview with The Zach Sang Show in October 2019. The singer also revealed that their upcoming album would have less ballads and more poppier songs in the spirit of their last two hits.

'I feel like I've lately revealed a part of myself that I usually keep to myself or for my family and friends,' Smith said to Sang. 'I showed it to everyone, and they all liked it. It's practically given me permission to do what I've always wanted to do but was always afraid to do, which is make pop music.' The singer also said that a 2018 duet with Calvin Harris, 'Promises,' inspired her to create new songs. 'I simply naturally got back into the studio and began writing,' they said. 'I grabbed this breeze and began riding this wave, and I haven't stopped writing since.'

Smith announced on February 13, 2020, that a third studio album, To Die For, will be released on May 1, 2020. Smith stated on March 30 that, owing to the continuing impacts of the COVID-19 epidemic, they would be postponing the release of their third album and would make a number of modifications to the record track list and title while they worked on it. They did, however, indicate that it will be published sometime in 2020. 'I'm Ready,' a duet with American singer Demi Lovato, was released on April 16 and performed well in many countries' top 40.

Smith released their version of Coldplay's 'Fix You' on July 6. They first played the song at the iHeartRadio Living Room Series in May. They debuted a new song, 'Diamonds,' on September 17th, and then revealed the new title for their third album, Love Goes, which was released on October 30th. On September 29, they announced that they will conduct a livestream concert from Abbey Road Studios in London on October 30th, their last live performance in 2020.

The performance included guest appearances by British actress Jade Anouka on 'My Oasis' and singer Labrinth on 'Love Goes,' as well as a cover rendition of 'Time After Time,' which was praised by the song's original singer and composer Cyndi Lauper. On March 19, 2021, the performance was recorded and published as a live CD, Love Goes: Live at Abbey Road Studios. Smith collaborated with Summer Walker on a version of 'You Will Be Found' for the soundtrack album of the 2021 film adaption of Dear Evan Hansen. Their rendition of the song is also heard throughout the film's ending credits.

Smith singing a song
Inspirations

Smith named Adele and Amy Winehouse as major inspirations. They appreciate Adele's 'honesty in her songs' and the way she has managed stardom, and they indicated a desire to project a similar public image. Frank, Winehouse's first album, was the first record Smith purchased. Smith got guidance early in their career from Mary J. Blige and Chaka Khan, both of whom they listened to when they were younger; Smith said that this encouraged them to support emerging musicians themselves. They referred to Taylor Swift as a 'role model,' praising her 'soulfulness' and 'honesty.'

Smith said that Lady Gaga's narrative inspired them to go to London in order to launch their own careers. They also gave her credit for assisting them in coming out as non-binary. Smith cited Robyn as a significant influence on Love Goes, claiming that they listened to her 'nonstop' while recording the album so that they 'could dance and be sad at the same time and feel powerful.' They also mentioned Beyoncé and Christina Aguilera as sources of empowerment and motivation.

Smith ranked Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey as the best R&B voices in a January 2016 interview with Rolling Stone. Britney Spears and Brandy are among Smith's other inspirations. Smith discussed the effect of their close buddy Ed Sheeran's breakthrough in an October 2017 interview with Attitude magazine: 'It forces you to push yourself. Watching him over the last year has been amazing, but it does, of course, make me hungry.' Smith earlier said in a January 2015 interview with GQ that they 'envy the competition that guys like [Frank] Sinatra would have [...] because you could see he was working off them.'

Smith's new song
Music style

Smith's vocal teacher, Joanna Eden, was profiled on VH1 and said that their vocal range 'can soar from baritone to tenor for dramatic effect.' Smith puts a high value on their voice and said that they attempted to make it the focal point of their first album, In the Lonely Hour. Following the album's release, their voices were often likened to Adele's. According to Jessica Robertson of The Fader, Smith symbolises a 'return of the virtuoso singer in popular music,' following in the footsteps of Whitney Houston and Luther Vandross.

According to Jim Farber of The New York Daily News, Smith is 'utterly unashamed to sound feminine'; Mary J. Blige first misidentified Smith as a black woman when she first heard them sing on Disclosure's 'Latch.' In response to a question regarding the 'diva quality' of their voice, Smith said in January 2014:'It was all I could hear. I didn't start listening to male singers until approximately two years ago. I just finished listening to Whitney Houston and Chaka Khan. Massive choruses.'

Smith music style