The moment he opened his mouth, everyone knew that British crooner Sam Smith was a big deal. Now the out and proud gay singer hits town with a velvet voice and even more to love him.
It’s a busy week for Smith (photos), who hits House of Blues in Houston on Saturday and Tabernacle in Atlanta on Monday, before zig-zagging from Nashville to Dallas on Tuesday and Thursday. The shows are sure to please fans of the London lad – he was born in 1992 – who came out to gay fanfare in May. That was even before his full debut “In the Lonely Hour” dropped, but not before its first single “Stay With Me” became a runaway hit with jilted lovers around the world.
If you’re an ‘80s kid, think of Smith’s vocal pull as a cross between Jimmy Summerville of Bronski Beat and Mick Hucknall of Simply Red with a face remarkably like Boy George. If you’re more of a ‘90s-00’s baby, think of an updated Euro twist on Tracy Chapman’s tone and vibrato with Michael Buble’s oral swagger. If you’re even younger, Ed Sheeran and Adele had a gayby, OK?
But hear this: Smith may remind us of crooners past, but he has a style and forges a path all his own. Here are just some of the reasons that his concert will steal your heart and leave you wondering why you ever asked, “Who is Sam Smith?”
He’s the guy on ‘SNL’ whose song you realized you already knew.
And then he sang ‘Lay Me Down’ and you were hooked.
So it hits you that he’s the voice on that Disclosure song.
That was March. Your gaydar gets confirmed in May.
“[‘Stay with Me’ is] about a guy, and that's what I wanted people to know – I want to be clear that that's what it's about,” he said in the interview. He later added, “I want to make it a normality because this is a non-issue. People wouldn't ask a straight person these questions.”
He pined for a straight guy. Last year. Because he’s 22.
“In the Lonely Hour’ is about a guy that I fell in love with last year, and he didn’t love me back. I think I’m over it now, but I was in a very dark place. I kept feeling lonely in the fact that I hadn’t felt love before. I’ve felt the bad things. And what’s a more powerful emotion: pain or happiness?”
Mary J. Blige graced Sam with her duet superpower.
His June debut convinced all laggers that his voice is ‘Money.’
Everybody knew he was going to make it big. Even Sam.
“I hate talking about it, because I feel really big-headed saying it, but I never doubted it would happen,” he told the London Sunday Times. “I have that sort of drive because I want it so bad. But it’s hard to be soulful and driven.”
Then he slayed a Tracy Chapman cover.
And brought down the beat for a ballad take on Whitney.
Sam is the one who got Ed Sheeran’s blessing, too.
He’s the guy inspiring gay youth against body Nazis.
“Once Sam Smith publicly came out, he came under a whole new series of microscopes of scrutiny,” bemoans My Hyper Reality. “The subtext behind this idea: If he were straight, he’d be totally normal, but he’s gay so he’s obese. … For me, a slightly overweight late-twentysomething gay man who used to be a very fit mid-twentysomething gay man, Sam Smith is pretty much the most accessible [new] pop star to emerge in recent years.”
Because he’s not afraid of a burger.
But Sam is nobody’s gay role model. Mmkay?
“We are, as a society… people think it's okay, but it's not all okay. Equality is so far from where it should be, so I was worried,” he put it to Gay Star News. “But I'm not trying to be a spokesperson. It sounds awful of me, but I'm really just trying to live my life and write music about it. That's what I do. I'm not trying to heal the world.”
Well, as long as you’re listening, you should delete Grindr.
“I just feel like it’s ruining romance. I really do,” he whined to Metro UK. “We’re losing the art of conversation and being able to go and speak to people, and you’re swiping people. From my experience, the most beautiful people I’ve been on dates with are the dumbest, so why would I swipe people who are 'unattractive' when I could potentially fall in love with them? Stop Tinder and Grindr!” Agree or not, some say the whole thing is shameful shaming.
Gay or not, Sam Smith makes girls cry.
“When he sings ‘Like I Can’ and you can’t help but stomp your feet and scream to the heavens. … When he sings ‘I’m Not The Only One’ and it breaks your heart into a million little pieces… brb crying forever.”
He even makes Vin Diesel hit high notes for that matter.
“First of all I thought it was going to be good, but when I heard it it's the most hilarious thing I've heard in my life,” Smith told Capital Breakfast. “It's amazing. Brilliant. The falsetto! It's so weird for me because I remember watching 'xXx' when I was like 11 years old! I definitely think we should do a duet one day; it would be amazing.”
So in case you didn't know, now you do. That’s who Sam Smith is.