Artist Spotlight: Sam Smith

Daisy Urgiles

If you aren’t familiar with the name Sam Smith by now, odds are you’ve at least heard the voice behind it. Although he’s only 21 years old, he’s a rising soul singer from Bishop’s Stortford, England who’s been having quite the year. Having been deemed “the male Adele,” he’s garnered massive success in the U.K. and is now well on his way to taking over America. Many artists struggle to break out on both sides of the pond but Sam Smith is making it look easy. He’s currently featured on two songs on USA TODAY’s top 40 airplay chart; Naughty Boy’s “La La La” and Disclosure’s “Latch” which is the lead single from the British duo’s debut album Settle. His soft falsetto in this song earned him widespread notice in England as well as some dance music fans in the United States. His exposure on these two hits was something necessary to him, because he thought being a featured artist before releasing his own material was important. No doubt about it, his plan succeeded.

Along with this success have come many accomplishments to be proud of. In December, the Brit Awards named him the Critic’s Choice. Previously given to Adele and Ellie Goulding, this is a coveted spot usually given to a new artist with the best chance at international success. The following month, Smith won the top spot in the BBC Sound of 2014 Poll, topping fellow newcomers Banks and Sampha. He also recently wrapped a sold out, 10 city North American tour, and played with Disclosure both weekends of Coachella, where he was seen hanging out with Katy Perry. Other stars who are fans of his music are Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift, who brought him on stage to sing his hit song “Money On My Mind” during her show at London’s O2 Arena in February. One of his first big breaks on this side of the pond was when he blew everyone away with his heartfelt and soothing voice on Saturday Night Live, performing “Stay With Me” and “Lay Me Down,” songs that best depict the soulful nature of his music. Immediately after his performance, he trended on Twitter throughout the night and shot up the iTunes charts and one week later, entered Billboard’s Hot 100.

Many people may be surprised, but not disappointed, to find out that Smith’s music sounds less like “Latch” and more like those performed on SNL. His own releases, even the one produced by Disclosure, have him crooning blue-eyed soul. Although his debut album In the Lonely Hour, has already been released in the U.K., it won’t arrive in the U.S. until May 26th, from Capitol Records. Having never been in a serious relationship before, Smith’s courageous decision to have his debut album primarily feature love songs was due to his desire to address themes such as unrequited love, one night stands, and the hopes of finding someone. With powerhouse vocals like his, there’s no doubt we’ll be seeing, and hearing, much more from Sam Smith in the months to come.

Stay With Me

Sam Smith

Montclair State | New Jersey

Daisy Urgiles

Daisy Urgiles is a Junior at Montclair State University majoring in Broadcasting and minoring in Communication Studies.