Samuel Frederick Smith (born 19 May 1992) is an English singer and songwriter who rose to fame in October 2012 after being featured on Disclosure's breakthrough single "Latch", which peaked at number eleven on the UK Singles Chart. Their subsequent feature—on Naughty Boy's "La La La"— became a number one single in May 2013. In December 2013, Smith was nominated for the 2014 Brit Critics' Choice Award and the BBC's Sound of 2014 poll, winning both.
Smith performing at the 2015 Lollapalooza
|Birth name||Samuel Frederick Smith|
|Born||19 May 1992|
Smith's debut studio album, In the Lonely Hour, was released in May 2014 on Capitol Records UK. The album's lead single, "Lay Me Down", was released prior to "La La La". The album's second single, "Money on My Mind", became Smith's second number one single in the UK. The album's third single, "Stay with Me", was an international success, reaching number one in the UK and number two on the US Billboard Hot 100, while the fourth single "I'm Not the Only One" reached the top five in both countries. The fifth single, "Like I Can", reached number nine in the United Kingdom. They made their United States debut on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, followed by a performance on Saturday Night Live in March 2014.
In December 2014, Smith was nominated for six Grammy Awards, and at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards in February 2015 they won four: Best New Artist, "Stay with Me" for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, and In the Lonely Hour for Best Pop Vocal Album. At the 2015 Brit Awards, they won the awards for British Breakthrough Act and Global Success. At the 2015 Billboard Music Awards, Smith received three Billboard Awards: Top Male Artist, Top New Artist, and Top Radio Songs Artist. Their musical achievements have also led them to be mentioned twice in the Guinness World Records.
For their and Jimmy Napes' song "Writing's on the Wall", the theme for the James Bond film Spectre (2015), Smith won the Golden Globe Award and the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Their second studio album, The Thrill of It All, was released in November 2017, and debuted atop the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200. The lead single, "Too Good at Goodbyes", reached number one in the UK and Australia and number four in the US.
Samuel Frederick Smith was born on 19 May 1992 in London, to Frederick Smith and broker Kate Cassidy. Smith was bullied for having breasts as a child, and had liposuction at age 12. They were an alumnus of Youth Music Theatre UK and appeared in their 2007 production of Oh! Carol, a musical featuring the music of Neil Sedaka. Before entering the musical theatre, Smith had been in jazz bands. For a number of years they studied singing and songwriting under jazz pianist Joanna Eden. Smith attended St Mary's Catholic School in Bishop's Stortford. They were a member of the Bishop's Stortford Junior Operatics (now Bishops Stortford Musical Theatre Society) and the Cantate Youth Choir.
2008-2009: Career beginnings with debut singles
Smith released two singles before 2010, “Bad Day All Week” and “When It’s Alright”.
Smith was featured on the Disclosure song "Latch", which was released on 8 October 2012 and peaked at No. 11 on the UK Singles Chart. In February 2013, Smith released the first single from their debut album, "Lay Me Down". They were also featured on Naughty Boy's single "La La La". It was released on 19 May 2013 and peaked at No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart. Smith's first EP Nirvana was released the following year. The first song on the EP titled, "Safe with Me", is produced by Two Inch Punch and premiered on MistaJam's BBC Radio 1Xtra show on 24 July 2013. The second song on the EP is titled "Nirvana" and is produced by Craze & Hoax and Jonathan Creek. The EP also includes Smith's acoustic solo version of "Latch" and a live version of "I've Told You Now". Smith released the Disclosure, Nile Rodgers, and Jimmy Napes collaboration "Together" on 25 November 2013 as the only single from Settle: The Remixes.
2014–2016: In the Lonely Hour and international success
The second single from Smith's debut album, titled "Money on My Mind", was released on 16 February 2014. It was announced on 16 December that Smith's debut studio album titled In the Lonely Hour would be released on 26 May 2014 through Capitol Records. Smith describes the album as "all about unrequited love" because they have never been loved back by any of their love interests. The album reached number one in the UK Albums Chart and number two on the Billboard 200, and by 5 November it had become the second biggest selling album of 2014 in the US behind only 1989 by Taylor Swift. In January 2015, In the Lonely Hour was named the second best selling album of 2014 in the UK, behind x by Ed Sheeran. A live version of album track "I've Told You Now", performed at St Pancras Old Church, was made available for free download as part of an Amazon.com promotion on 27 December 2013. The album track "Make It To Me", co-written by Howard of Disclosure and Jimmy Napes, was made available for free download as part of an iTunes Store promotion on 13 January 2014. Smith went on their debut American headlining tour in the Spring of 2014, with a setlist of primarily new material.
On 20 January 2014, Smith made their American television debut performing "Latch" with Disclosure on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Smith also performed on Saturday Night Live on 29 March 2014, performing the gospel-tinged "Stay with Me" and an acoustic version of "Lay Me Down". "Stay with Me" reached number one on the UK Singles Chart and number two on the US Billboard Hot 100. The fourth single from the album, "I'm Not the Only One", reached number three in the UK and number five in the US.
In June 2014, Smith first appeared on the cover of The Fader in its 92nd issue. In August 2014, Smith's single "Stay with Me" was named Variance Magazine's Song of Summer. Smith performed "Stay With Me" live at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards on 24 August at The Forum in Inglewood, California. On 15 November 2014, Smith joined the charity group Band Aid 30 along with other British and Irish pop acts, recording the latest version of the track "Do They Know It's Christmas?" at Sarm West Studios in Notting Hill, London, to raise money for the 2014 Ebola crisis in Western Africa.
In 2015, it came to light that singer Tom Petty, noting similarities between "Stay with Me" and his 1989 hit song "I Won't Back Down", had negotiated an out-of-court settlement with Smith in October 2014. Petty and co-composer Jeff Lynne were awarded 12.5% of the royalties from "Stay with Me", and the names of Petty and Lynne joined James John Napier (known professionally as Jimmy Napes) in the ASCAP song credit. At the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, held on 8 February 2015, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Smith performed "Stay with Me" and also received four Grammy Awards: Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year (for "Stay with Me") and Best Pop Vocal Album (for In the Lonely Hour). At the 2015 Brit Awards held at The O2 Arena in London on 25 February, Smith performed "Lay Me Down", and won the Brit Awards for British Breakthrough Act, and Global Success.
In March 2015, "Lay Me Down" was re-released as the sixth single from the album, peaking at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 (Smith's third US top 10 single). The same month, Smith recorded another version of the song, featuring John Legend, for the British charity telethon Comic Relief, which reached number one in the UK. At the 2015 Billboard Music Awards on 17 May, Smith received three Billboard Awards: Top Male Artist, Top New Artist, and Top Radio Songs Artist. Smith features on Disclosure's single "Omen" which was released on 27 July 2015.
On 8 September 2015, Smith and Jimmy Napes confirmed that they had composed "Writing's on the Wall", the theme song to Spectre, the 24th James Bond film. The song was released on 25 September 2015 and became the first James Bond theme to reach number one in the UK. On 19 October, Smith was presented with two Guinness World Records—one for recording the first James Bond theme song to go to number one in the UK, and another for scoring the most consecutive weeks in the UK top 10 by a debut album (In the Lonely Hour). At the 73rd Golden Globe Awards on 10 January 2016, Smith received the Award for Best Original Song for "Writing's on the Wall". On 14 January, the song earned Smith an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. In the nominations for the 2016 Brit Awards announced on 14 January, the song was among the nominees for Best British Video. Smith performed "Writing's on the Wall" at the Academy Awards on 28 February and, along with Napes, collected the prize for Best Original Song. In their acceptance speech, Smith referenced an article by Ian McKellen published before the awards ceremony that claimed no openly gay man had won an Oscar for Best Actor; Smith misquoted McKellen as saying that no gay man in general had won an Oscar. This was quickly discredited by openly gay recipient Dustin Lance Black, but McKellen mentioned that the error "doesn’t detract" from Smith's achievement.
2016–2018: The Thrill of It All
Throughout 2016, Smith released footage of themself in the studio working on new music, leading up to the release of Smith's second studio album. In late 2016, Smith was said to be working with Adam Lambert on new material. In early 2017, it was reported that Smith would be releasing their second album in September 2017 and had recorded with constant collaborator Jimmy Napes and Naughty Boy. In April 2017, Smith was said to have been in studio sessions with classical crossover group Clean Bandit, working on a possible "comeback single". Along with the group, record producer Timbaland and musician Frances have said they have worked on songs for Smith's upcoming album.
On 8 September 2017, Smith released a new single titled "Too Good at Goodbyes", which debuted at number one in the United Kingdom and number five on the US Billboard Hot 100. Smith's second studio album, The Thrill of It All, debuted atop the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200, becoming their first number one album in the US. On 20 March 2018, Smith started The Thrill of It All Tour, which visited Europe, North America, Asia, New Zealand and Australia. On 27 March 2018, Smith released "Pray" featuring American rapper Logic. On 17 August 2018, the singer collaborated as the main vocalist on Calvin Harris's new track "Promises". The song became Smith's seventh number one hit on the UK Singles Chart and their first top song on Billboard's Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart. Sam also released the song "Fire on Fire" as the Watership Down soundtrack.
2019: Upcoming third studio album
On 6 July 2019, New 102.7 radio host Mike Adam announced the song, "How Do You Sleep?" on their Twitter account on 6 July. On 9 July 2019, Smith posted on social media that they had an announcement to make the following day. The pre-order link became active on 10 July, and later the same day, Smith formally announced and shared a clip of the song.
In October 2019, in a new interview with the Zach Sang Show, Smith expressed excitement about their upcoming record, which will land sometime in 2020. The singer also confirmed that their newest offering will feature fewer ballads and plenty of poppier tracks in the vein of their recent two previous singles. They said, "I feel like I have recently shown a side of me which I normally keep to myself or for my family and friends,” Smith told Sang. “I showed everyone it and everyone loved it. It’s almost given me permission to kinda do what I’ve always dreamed of doing but I was always scared to do, which is pop music." The singer also revealed that they were spurred to write new music following a 2018 collaboration with Calvin Harris, "Promises". “I just naturally started getting back into the studio and started to write," Smith said. "I caught this wind and started riding this wave and I haven’t stopped writing since."
Smith cites Adele and Amy Winehouse as primary influences. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Smith cited Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey as the greatest R&B voices. The singer also lists Chaka Khan, Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé, Brandy, and Lady Gaga as influences. Asked about the "diva qualities" to Smith's voice, the singer remarked:
"It's all I listened to. I actually didn't listen to male vocalists until about two years ago. I just listened to Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan. Massive voices."
In an October 2017 interview conducted by Elton John for Attitude magazine, Smith spoke of the impact of the success of their close friend Ed Sheeran. "It makes you push yourself. Watching him this past year has just been incredible, but yeah, of course it makes me hungry."
In May 2014, Smith came out to the public as gay. They acknowledged a relationship—since ended—with actor and model Jonathan Zeizel. At the 57th Annual Grammy Awards when "Stay with Me" won an award for Record of the Year they said, "I want to thank the man who this record is about, who I fell in love with last year. Thank you so much for breaking my heart because you got me four Grammys!" In 2017, they stated their latest album, The Thrill of It All, showed "the gay guy I've become." In September 2017, Smith said in an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that they were in a relationship; celebrity tabloid media reported Smith was dating actor Brandon Flynn. In June 2018, it was announced that Smith and Flynn had split after nine months of dating.
In October 2017, Smith came out as genderqueer and said "I feel just as much a woman as I am a man". Smith said they went through a period in their youth where they "didn’t own a piece of male clothing" and would wear full makeup while attending school. In September 2019, Smith announced that they came out as non-binary and changed their gender pronouns to they/them, stating, "after a lifetime of being at war with my gender I’ve decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out..."
Smith identifies as a feminist.
Awards and nominations
- "Sam Smith Comes Out as Genderqueer: 'I Feel Just as Much Woman as I am Man'". 23 October 2017.
- Hunte, Ben (14 September 2019). "Sam Smith changes pronouns to they/them". BBC News. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
- "Brits announce Critics' Choice 2014 shortlist". BBC. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- "Sound of 2014 Profile: Sam Smith". BBC. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- "Brits Critics' Choice Award 2014: Sam Smith announced as winner". The Telegraph. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- "BBC Sound of 2014: Sam Smith". BBC. 10 January 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- "Sam Smith announces debut album In the Lonely Hour, shares tour dates". Fact. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- "'Money on My Mind' – EP by Sam Smith". Itunes (UK). Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- "Billboard Music Awards 2015: See the Full Winners List". Billboard. 17 May 2015. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
- "Video: Double record joy for 007 singer Sam Smith". 18 October 2015.
- "Songwriter/Composer: Smith, Samuel Frederick". Broadcast Music, Inc. Archived from the original on 31 January 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- Wilkinson, James. "Artist Biography". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
- Daily Telegraph reporter (3 February 2009). "Banker claims she was sacked for promoting son's pop career". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
- Wong, Curtis M. (15 March 2019). "Sam Smith Opens Up About Gender Identity, Body Image In Candid Interview". HuffPost. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
- "Alumni Youth Music Theatre UK". 17 December 2013.
- "Sam Smith: "Every day I think about how insane this is"". The Line Of Best Fit. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
- "Sam Smith Opens up About Life and Love". The Fader. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
- "Former Stortford schoolboy Sam Smith gears up for tonight's Brit awards". 19 February 2014. Archived from the original on 31 May 2014.
- "Home – cantate.co.uk". Cantate.co.uk. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
- "New: Sam Smith – Safe With Me". Crack in the Road. 24 July 2013. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
- "iTunes – Music – Nirvana – EP by Sam Smith". iTunes. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
- Ollman, Jonah (28 March 2014). "The Angel of Cambridge: Sam Smith". Sound of Boston. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
- Caulfield, Keith (4 November 2014). "Official: Taylor Swift's '1989' Debuts With 1.287 Million Sold In First Week". Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
- "Sam Smith's debut album on track to knock Coldplay off Number 1". Official Charts Company.
- "UK album chart for 2014 dominated by British artists". BBC. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- "I've Told You Now (Live at St Pancras Old Church, London): Sam Smith". Amazon.com. 27 December 2013. Archived from the original on 2 April 2016. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
- "iTunes – Music – Make It To Me – Single by Sam Smith". iTunes. 13 January 2014.
- Montgomery, James (27 March 2014). "Meet Sam Smith: The British Bartender Set To Take The 'Saturday Night Live' Stage - MTV.com". MTV. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
- Exton, Emily (28 March 2014). "Get To Know Sam Smith Before He Plays Saturday Night Live – Music News + Gossip – VH1 Music". VH1. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
- Tharrett, Matthew (27 March 2014). "Is Sam Smith The World's Next Great Male Diva? / Queerty". Queerty. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
- "2014 Top 40 Official Singles Chart UK Archive (31 May 2014)". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
- "Sam Smith Album & Single Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
- "Cover Story: Sam Smith Opens Up About Life and Love". The FADER. The FADER. 28 May 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
- "Readers Select 2014 Songs of Summer". Variancemagazine.com. 12 August 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
- "Sam Smith Is Performing at the 2014 VMAs And Tears Are Unavoidable". Retrieved 20 August 2014.
- "Band Aid 30: One Direction among celebrity line-up". Telegraph. 11 November 2014. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
- "Update: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" – Consequence of Sound". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
- "Grammy Awards: Sam Smith wins four prizes". BBC. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
- "Brit Awards 2015: Winners list". BBC. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
- Trust, Gary (18 March 2015). "Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars Lead Hot 100; Sam Smith, Fetty Wap Hit Top 10". Billboard. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
- "Sam Smith scores double number one in the UK charts". BBC. Retrieved 20 March 2015
- "Disclosure and Sam Smith Connect On "Omen"". 27 July 2015. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
- BBC News reporter (8 September 2015). "Sam Smith records Bond's Spectre theme tune". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
- "Sam Smith's Stay With Me named song of the year". BBC. 20 October 2015.
- "Golden Globes 2016: The Revenant wins top three awards". BBC. 11 January 2015.
- Ford, Rebecca (14 January 2016). "Oscar Nominations: The Complete List". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
- "Brit Awards 2016: The nominations". BBC News Online. 14 January 2016. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
- Copsey, Rob (29 February 2016). "Sam Smith wins Oscar for his James Bond Spectre theme song". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
- "Sam Smith Gaffes at Oscars with Misinformed Acceptance Speech, Shaky Performance". Music Times. 29 February 2016. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
- Joseph, Yonette (29 February 2016). "Sam Smith, the Only Openly Gay Oscar Winner? Not Really". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
- "Clean Bandit working on comeback song with Sam Smith?". NWI Times.
- "Sam Smith – Too Good At Goodbyes (Official Single Cover)". 360musicng.org. 4 September 2017.
- White, Jack (15 September 2017). "Sam Smith scoops his sixth UK Number 1 single with Too Good at Goodbyes". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
- "Sam Smith Hits No. 1 on Billboard Artist 100, Thanks to 'The Thrill of It All' Debut". Billboard. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
- Rob Copsey (10 November 2017). "Sam Smith's The Thrill Of It All debuts at Number 1 on the Official Albums Chart: "This is a dream come true"". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
- "Calvin Harris & Sam Smith Debut "Promises" | The Nocturnal Times". www.thenocturnaltimes.com. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
- "Calvin Harris Ties Rihanna for Most Dance/Mix Show Airplay Chart No. 1s With 'Promises'". Billboard. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
- @MikeAdamOnAir (6 July 2019). "New music from @samsmith is on the way!!! Sam will drop "HOW DO YOU SLEEP?" on July 19th!!! The upcoming #SamSmith single was written with Savan, IIya and Max Martin... if that isn't a recipe for a great song, I don't know what is!" (Tweet). Retrieved 10 July 2019 – via Twitter.
- @samsmith (9 July 2019). "🔥🧡 sound on 💛🔥" (Tweet). Retrieved 10 July 2019 – via Twitter.
- Medeiros, Kavad (9 July 2019). "Sam Smith prepara anúncio especial para esta quarta-feira (10)". Portalpopline (in Portuguese). Retrieved 10 July 2019.
- "Sam Smith – How Do You Sleep?". samsmith.world. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
- @samsmith (10 July 2019). "HOW DO YOU SLEEP? July 19th" (Tweet). Retrieved 10 July 2019 – via Twitter.
- ""I Look Up To Her" – Sam Smith On Being Inspired By Adele". Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- "This Week's Fresh Music" (17 May 2014). 4Music. Retrieved 28 July 2015
- "Sam Smith Breaks Down 10 Great R&B Voices". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- "Sam Smith: 5 Fact Facts About The 2015 Grammy Winner". International Business Times. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
- "BBC Sound of 2014: Sam Smith". BBC News.
- "Sam Smith: Watching Ed Sheeran makes me push myself". Belfast Telegraph. 10 December 2017.
- Malec, Brett (29 May 2014). "Sam Smith Opens Up About Being Gay, Reveals Album Is About a Guy Who Didn't Love Him Back". E!. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
- "Sam Smith confirms break-up on stage in Toronto". BBC. 22 January 2015. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
- Sam Smith's acceptance speeches. Popsugar.com. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- "Sam Smith: 'I feel just as much a woman as I am man'". news.com.au. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
- "Sam Smith and 13 Reasons Why star Brandon Flynn have split up after nine months".
- Voss, Brandon (22 October 2017). "Sam Smith Comes Out As Gender-Nonbinary". www.newnownext.com. Logo TV. Archived from the original on 8 June 2019. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
- "Sam Smith Comes Out As Gender Queer". 23 October 2017.
- Blackmom, Michael. "Sam Smith Announced That Their Gender Pronouns Are They/Them". BuzzfeedNews. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
- "Nick Grimshaw and BBC Sound of winner Sam Smith joke about Lily Allen's 'big mouth'". New Musical Express. 10 January 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
- Smith, Sam (15 March 2015). "Instagram". Instagram. Archived from the original on 7 April 2016. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- Iannacci, Elio (16 January 2015). "The Interview: Grammy winner Sam Smith". Maclean's. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sam Smith.|
- Official website (samsmithworld.com)
- Profile, samsmithsinger.com; accessed 14 February 2015.
- Smith profile, MTV.com; accessed 14 February 2015.
| James Bond title artist
"Writing's on the Wall", 2015
| Saturday Night Live musical guest
29 March 2014
|Awards and achievements|
Common and John Legend
| Academy Award for Best Original Song
Justin Hurwitz and Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
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| Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song
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| Sound of...
Years & Years