Nights In

Artist spotlight: sam smith

"Guess it's true I'm not good at a one night stand , but I still need love cause I'm just a man" the opening line from singer Sam Smith's latest single, 'Stay With Me' has left me wondering how next do I continue with this. Singing from the heart, Sam declares, what we all need. In this case, I interpret it as a love that can be felt physically, but that is fuelled by emotion. 

Hailing from Britain, Sam came to the fore back in October 2012 when he featured on Disclosure's 'Latch' which hit number eleven in the charts. Rising steadily since then, he gained his first UK number one when he featured on artist Naughty Boy's infectiously catchy tune 'La La La'.

2014 however, appears to be the year of Sam Smith. Nominated in 2013 for the 2014 BRIT Critics's Choice Award and the BBC's Sound of 2014 poll, he went on to win both. Sam sounds older than his 22 years, and his voice is a mix of soul and pop. Not just content with singing, Sam also writes his songs himself, proving him to be up with some of the great singer-songwriters of the moment like Ed Sheeran, Paolo Nutini and John Newman.

Incidentally, this is how I would categorise Sam Smith: A good-looking guy, who writes good quality material, with a beautiful rawness that is particularly felt from his latest single. Although relatively new, his music is genuinely appealing to the majority of people. Soft spoken, and very personable, Smith comes across as someone who you could sit down for hours with having a chat.

His manager, came about in a peculiar sort of way. Years previously, when attending at Adele concert, Sam decided to heckle the support act. He was 16 year old, and as the saying goes, acting the maggot. He later contacted the support on MySpace to apologise, and years later, when he moved to London, he say the same support act again at a gig, and, long story short, he's now his manager. Not quite 'Ed Sheeran and the couch surfing' but still amusing.

In May of this year, Smith released his debut album,  'In The Lonely Hour'. Singles released off the album so far include "Lay Me Down" which he released prior to "La La La" this was then followed by "Money On My Mind", but it was the third single "Stay With Me" that took Smith to dizzying heights. It received international success, hitting peak position in both the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Pop Songs chart, and ended up at no. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. 

The album itself is about unrequited love, and Smith says, "Despite not having been in a relationship, I have been in love, just not in the conventional perfect way, I wanted to put unrequited love on a pedestal and write a body of work about it". Sam opened up about his sexual orientation the same month the album was released, Sam reveals that this love that was previously mentioned was with a guy, but as so often happens, it was unrequited. Sam states that being honest in music was important and that it connects more, he feels the album was about bravery as opposed to sadness, and even the title of the album, 'In The Lonely Hour' he feels was a brave move. 

The reaction to Smith's music has been one of emotion, which, given what the album's encompasses, isn't surprising. There's a haunting there, a pleading perhaps, a heartbreak. In life, it's always good to feel emotion, be it joy, sadness, anger, frustration. It shows we're human, and that we're not indestructible or impenetrable. Touching on the topic of mental health, it's good to talk and let things out. Whether it's through music, dance, poetry, writing or whatever way you let go of the feelings that can hold you back. For Sam Smith, it's evident that his heart is firmly on his sleeve when it comes to music, but in this day and age, where better to have it. 

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