Samuel Frederick “Sam” Smith was born on May 19, 1992 in London, England. He began performing as a young child in the Bishop’s Stortford Junior Operatics and the Cantate Youth Choir. Smith starred in the Youth Music Theatre UK’s 2007 production of “Oh! Carol” and studied singing and songwriting under jazz pianist Joanna Eden. He looked for inspiration in soulful female artists such as Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, and Whitney Houston while keeping an eye out on his own future in the music industry.
His first moment in the limelight came when the dance duo Disclosure released their 2012 “Latch,” accompanied by Smith’s vocals. The track features the singer’s melodic falsetto over the pair’s electronic beat, garnering attention to the power of Smith’s voice. The track reached the top of the UK single chart when the singer was only 21, and he soon released his own single, “Lay Me Down.” His vocal work resonated with music fans and critics alike and laid the foundation for his future success in the industry.
Smith’s next hit was a feature on Naughty Boy’s track “La La La.” With Smith’s lead vocals, the track instantly became a number 1 single in the UK in the spring of 2013. The following fall, Smith released his first EP Nirvana, which treated listeners to an exclusive acoustic version of “Latch.” In February 2014, the singer reached the top of the UK singles chart once again with “Money on My Mind.” His full-length debut album In the Lonely Hour was released in the UK the following May.
The same month Smith released In the Lonely Hour, he revealed to the world that he was gay. He said to the magazine Fader, “I’ve never been in a relationship before. In the Lonely Hour is about a guy that I fell in love with last year, and he didn’t love me back. …I was in a very dark place.” However, the singer was able to turn his dark times in an exciting, rewarding era. At the 2015 Grammy Awards, Smith and his LP took home four awards: Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, and Song of the Year (“Stay With Me”).
Sam Smith has continued to keep busy in 2015, releasing a re-recorded version of “Lay Me Down” as a duet with singer John Legend. The track went to number 1 on the UK pop charts while raising money for the charity initiative Comic Relief. Smith also contributed vocals on the track “Omen,” one of the singles from Disclosure’s sophomore studio album Caracal. In addition, he has joined the ranks of James Bond theme vocalists with his orchestral single “Writing’s on the Wall” for the 007 movie Spectre.