Sam Smith was born in London in May 1992 and began singing at a young age. He first hit the charts as the featured singer on the 2012 Disclosure song "Latch," and he released his first single, "Lay Me Down," soon after. In 2014, Smith released In the Lonely Hour, his heartfelt debut full-length album. It contained the smash hit "Stay With Me," a radio staple over the course of the entire year. For his work on In the Lonely Hour, Smith was awarded four Grammys, among them Song of the Year and Record of the Year.
Sam Smith was born on May 19, 1992, in London. A natural singer, Smith began performing as a child, but the first real press he got came in 2009, when his mother, a successful banker, was fired after allegedly promoting her 15-year-old son’s singing career while on company time. Smith had only recorded two songs at that point and it would be a few years before he left his mark on the musical world.
Throughout his teenage years, Smith studied music while hitting the books at St. Mary's Catholic School in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire. He looked for inspiration in such soulful artists as Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder while keeping a close eye on his future in the music business.
Smith’s first moment in the spotlight would come when the dance/electronica duo Disclosure released its 2012 song “Latch,” to which Smith lent his vocals. The track featured the singer’s melodic falsetto over Disclosure’s electronic beat, and it immediately turned people on to the power of Smith’s voice. "Latch" reached the top of the UK singles chart when Smith was just 21, and he soon released his own single, “Lay Me Down.” "Latch," featuring a stripped-down sound that made the listener take notice of Smith’s vocal work, resonated in a big way with music fans and critics alike and laid the groundwork for his future success in the UK and beyond.
Smith’s next hit was again via a featured role on another artist’s song: Naughty Boy’s Bollywood-inspired "La La La." With Smith's lead vocal, the song became an instant No. 1 single in the UK in the spring of 2013. In the fall, Smith released his first EP, Nirvana, on which listeners were treated to an acoustic version of "Latch." A few months later, in February 2014, Smith was again at the top of the UK singles chart with "Money on My Mind," and in May 2014, his full-length debut, In the Lonely Hour, was released in the UK.
Coming Out and Awards Success
The same month that In the Lonely Hour was released, Smith told the world he was gay. He also revealed that despite the album being full of love songs, he’s never experienced it firsthand. “I've never been in a relationship before,” he said to the magazine Fader. “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.”
That dark place has taken Smith to some very exciting, rewarding arenas. At the 2015 Grammy Awards, Smith and his record took four awards: Best New Artist, Best Pop Vocal Album, Record of the Year and Song of the Year (“Stay With Me”).
"Before I made this record I was doing everything to try and get my music heard," Smith said during one of his four acceptance speeches. "It was only until I started to be myself that the music started to flow and people started to listen."
More Disclosure and James Bond
Smith continued to keep busy in 2015, releasing a re-recorded version of "Lay Me Down" as a duet with soul singer/songwriter John Legend. The track went to No. 1 on the UK pop charts while raising money for the charity initiative Comic Relief. Smith then contributed lead vocals on the sleek "Omen," one of the first singles from Disclosure's sophomore album, Caracal.
Smith has since joined the James Bond canon of movie vocalists with his orchestral single "Writing's on the Wall" for the 007 outing Spectre. Co-written with Jimmy Napes, the song became a No. 1 single in the UK. "Wall" received both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award in 2016, with Smith dedicating his Oscar win to LGBT communities across the globe.
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