Sam Smith (singer)

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Sam Smith
Sam Smith in Boston.jpg
Smith performing in Boston, Massachusetts in 2013
Background information
Birth name Samuel Frederick Smith[1]
Born (1992-05-19) 19 May 1992 (age 22)
London, England
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active 2007–present
Associated acts

Samuel Frederick "Sam" Smith (born 19 May 1992)[2] is an English singer and songwriter. He rose to fame in October 2012 when he was featured on Disclosure's breakthrough single "Latch", which peaked at number eleven on the UK Singles Chart. His subsequent feature—on Naughty Boy's "La La La"—earned him his first number one single in May 2013.

In December 2013, he was nominated for the 2014 BRIT Critics' Choice Award and the BBC's Sound of 2014 poll,[3][4] both of which he won.[5][6] He released his debut studio album, In the Lonely Hour, in May 2014 on Capitol Records.[7] The lead single, "Lay Me Down", was released prior to "La La La". The second single, "Money on My Mind", became his second number one single in the UK.[8] The album's third single, "Stay with Me", was an international success, reaching number one in the UK and number two on the U.S. 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 UK.

In December 2014, Smith was nominated for six Grammy Awards, and at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards in February 2015 he 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, he won the awards for British Breakthrough Act and Global Success.

Early life

Smith was born in London, England, the son of Frederick Smith and Kate Cassidy, a broker.[2][9] He is an alumnus of Youth Music Theatre UK and starred in their 2007 production of "Oh! Carol".[10] Before entering the musical theatre, Smith had been in jazz bands.[11] For a number of years he studied singing and songwriting under jazz pianist Joanna Eden.[12] He attended St Mary's Catholic School in Bishop's Stortford.[13] He was a member of the Bishop's Stortford Junior Operatics (now Bishops Stortford Musical Theatre Society) and the Cantate Youth Choir.[14]

Music career

2012–13: Breakthrough

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, he released the first single from his debut album, "Lay Me Down". He was 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. The same year, he released his first EP Nirvana consisting of four tracks. 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.[15] 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".[16] Smith released the Disclosure, Nile Rodgers, and Jimmy Napes collaboration "Together" on 25 November 2013 as the only single from Settle: The Remixes.

2014–present: In the Lonely Hour

The second single from his 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.[7] He describes the album as "all about unrequited love" because he has never been loved back by any of his love interests.[17] 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 U.S. behind only 1989 by Taylor Swift.[18][19] In January 2015, In the Lonely Hour was named the second best selling album of 2014 in the UK, behind X by Ed Sheeran.[20]

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 promotion on 27 December 2013.[21] 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.[22] Smith went on his debut American headlining tour in the Spring of 2014, with a setlist of primarily new material.[17]

On 20 January 2014, Smith made his American television debut performing "Latch" with Disclosure on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. He 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".[23][24][25] "Stay with Me" reached number one on the UK Singles Chart and number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.[26][27] The fourth single from the album, "I'm Not the Only One", reached number three in the UK and number five in the U.S.[27]

In June 2014, Smith first appeared on the cover of The Fader in its 92nd issue.[28] In August 2014, Smith's single "Stay with Me" was named Variance Magazine's Song of Summer.[29] Smith performed "Stay With Me" live at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards on 24 August at The Forum in Inglewood, California.[30] 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.[31]

Smith subsequently awarded 12.5% of the royalties from his hit "Stay with Me" to Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, co-writers of Petty's 1989 hit "I Won't Back Down", upon being confronted with the similarities between the two songs. Petty and Lynne are now listed as co-writers on the track.[32]

At the 57th Annual Grammy Awards held on 8 February 2015 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Smith performed "Stay with Me", and received four Grammy Awards: 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.[33] At the 2015 Brit Awards held at the 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.[34]


Smith cites Adele and Amy Winehouse as his main influences.[35][36] He further lists Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, and Mariah Carey as influences. Sam said about a diva quality to his voice:

"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."[37]

Personal life

In May 2014, Smith revealed to the public that he is gay. He acknowledged a relationship—since ended—with actor and model Jonathan Zeizel.[38][39] At the 2015 Grammy Awards, where he won four categories, he said, "I would like to thank the man that this album is about. By breaking my heart, you won me four Grammys!"[40]

In an interview with 4Music, Smith discussed his struggles with obsessive–compulsive disorder. "I actually have OCD really bad, and it's getting a bit worse at the moment", he said. "I have to check taps... before I leave the house, to make sure I've checked everything in case it floods."[41] He is a third-cousin of singer Lily Allen and actor Alfie Allen.[42]


Main article: Sam Smith discography


Awards and nominations

Year Organisation Award Work Result Ref.
2013 MOBO Awards Best Newcomer Himself Nominated
Best Song "La La La" Won
Best Video Won
2014 BRIT Awards Single of the Year Nominated [43]
Critics' Choice Himself Won [44]
BBC Sound of 2014 Won [4]
MOBO Awards Best Male Artist Won
Best Song "Stay with Me" Won
Best Album In the Lonely Hour Won
Best Soul/R&B Artist Himself Won
MTV Brand New For 2014 Nominated [45]
MTV Europe Music Awards Best New Artist Nominated
Best Push Act Nominated
Best UK and Ireland Act Nominated
Best Song "Stay with Me" Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Artist to Watch Himself Nominated
Best Male Video "Stay with Me" Nominated
Q Awards Best New Artist Himself Won [46]
Young Hollywood Awards Song of the Summer/DJ Replay "Stay with Me" Nominated
Hottest Music Artist Himself Nominated
Breakout Music Artist Won
American Music Awards New Artist of the Year Nominated
Favorite Male Artist - Pop/Rock Won
2015 People's Choice Awards Favorite Male Artist Nominated
Favorite Breakout Artist Nominated
Favorite Song "Stay with Me" Nominated
Favorite Album In the Lonely Hour Nominated
Grammy Awards Album of the Year Nominated
Best Pop Vocal Album Won
Record of the Year "Stay with Me (Darkchild Version)" Won
Song of the Year Won
Best Pop Solo Performance Nominated
Best New Artist Himself Won
BRIT Awards Best Male Artist Himself Nominated
British Breakthrough Act Won
BRIT's Global Success Award Won
Best British Video "Stay With Me" Nominated
British Single of the Year Nominated
British Album of the Year In The Lonely Hour Nominated


  1. ^ "Songwriter/Composer: Smith, Samuel Frederick". Broadcast Music, Inc. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Wilkinson, James. "Artist Biography". Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "Brits announce Critics' Choice 2014 shortlist". BBC. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Sound of 2014 Profile: Sam Smith". BBC. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "Brits Critics' Choice Award 2014: Sam Smith announced as winner". The Telegraph. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "BBC Sound of 2014: Sam Smith". BBC. 10 January 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "Sam Smith announces debut album In the Lonely Hour, shares tour dates". Fact. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "'Money on My Mind' – EP by Sam Smith". Itunes (UK). Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  9. ^ Daily Telegraph reporter (3 February 2009). "Banker claims she was sacked for promoting son's pop career". Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  10. ^ "Alumni Youth Music Theatre UK". 17 December 2013. 
  11. ^ "Sam Smith: “Every day I think about how insane this is”". The Line Of Best Fit. 14 February 2014. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  12. ^ "Sam Smith Opens up About Life and Love". The Fader. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "Former Stortford schoolboy Sam Smith gears up for tonight's Brit awards". 19 February 2014. 
  14. ^ "Home -". Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  15. ^ "New: Sam Smith – Safe With Me". Crack in the Road. 24 July 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  16. ^ "iTunes – Music – Nirvana – EP by Sam Smith". iTunes. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  17. ^ a b Ollman, Jonah (28 March 2014). "The Angel of Cambridge: Sam Smith". Sound of Boston. Retrieved 29 March 2014. 
  18. ^ Caulfield, Keith (2014-11-04). "Official: Taylor Swift's '1989' Debuts With 1.287 Million Sold In First Week". Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2014-11-04. 
  19. ^ "Sam Smith's debut album on track to knock Coldplay off Number 1". Official Charts Company. 
  20. ^ "UK album chart for 2014 dominated by British artists". BBC. Retrieved 1 January 2014
  21. ^ "I've Told You Now (Live at St Pancras Old Church, London): Sam Smith". 27 December 2013. 
  22. ^ "iTunes – Music – Make It To Me – Single by Sam Smith". iTunes. 13 January 2014. 
  23. ^ Montgomery, James (27 March 2014). "Meet Sam Smith: The British Bartender Set To Take The 'Saturday Night Live' Stage -". MTV. Retrieved 29 March 2014. 
  24. ^ 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. 
  25. ^ Tharrett, Matthew (27 March 2014). "Is Sam Smith The World's Next Great Male Diva? / Queerty". Queerty. Retrieved 29 March 2014. 
  26. ^ "2014 Top 40 Official Singles Chart UK Archive (31 May 2014)". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 December 2014
  27. ^ a b "Sam Smith Album & Single Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 5 December 2014
  28. ^ "Cover Story: Sam Smith Opens Up About Life and Love". The FADER. The FADER. 28 May 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  29. ^ "Readers Select 2014 Songs of Summer". 12 August 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  30. ^ "Sam Smith Is Performing at the 2014 VMAs And Tears Are Unavoidable". Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  31. ^ "Band Aid 30: One Direction among celebrity line-up". Telegraph. 11 November 2014. Retrieved 6 December 2014. 
  32. ^ "Update: Tom Petty awarded songwriting royalties for Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” - Consequence of Sound". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  33. ^ "Grammy Awards: Sam Smith wins four prizes". BBC. Retrieved 26 February 2015
  34. ^ "Brit Awards 2015: Winners list". BBC. Retrieved 26 February 2015
  35. ^ ""I Look Up To Her" - Sam Smith On Being Inspired By Adele". Retrieved 12 Dec 2014. 
  36. ^ "This Week's Fresh Music". 17 May 2014. 4Music.
  37. ^ "BBC Sound of 2014: Sam Smith". BBC News. 
  38. ^ "Sam Smith Opens Up About Being Gay, Reveals Album Is About a Guy Who Didn't Love Him Back". Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  39. ^ "Sam Smith confirms break-up on stage in Toronto". BBC. 22 January 2015. Retrieved 22 January 2015. 
  40. ^ Sam Smith's acceptance speeches. Retrieved February 9, 2015.
  41. ^ "Sam Smith: 5 things you don't know about me". 4Music. Retrieved 29 May 2014. 
  42. ^ "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. 
  43. ^ "Brit Awards nominations 2014: full list". The Telegraph. 9 January 2014. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  44. ^ "Sam Smith wins Brits Critics' Choice award". BBC. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  45. ^ "MTV's Brand New for 2014 Nominees announced". MTV. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  46. ^ Dex, Robert (23 October 2014). "Q Awards 2014: List of winners in full". The Independent. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 

External links