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5 minutes with: Sam Smith

23 year-old singer-songwriter, Sam Smith, speaks candidly to MiNDFOOD about his life, his career and coming out.

5 minutes with: Sam Smith

Sam Smith, who recently sang Writing’s On The Wall, the theme song for Spectre (and received a Guinness World Record as the first Bond theme song to reach number one in the UK) is in the middle of his sold-out Australian tour.

YOU’VE WON GRAMMIES, YOU HAD THE NUMBER ONE SINGLE RECENTLY WITH WRITING’S ON THE WALL, HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE APPRECIATED?

I actually feel like my artistry has changed hugely over this process
because before I had my album and came into the industry I was so hungry.  I still am very hungry but I was so passionate and willing to do anything and everything to get my barge up.  I was working in a bar and I’d been working since the age of 15 doing the shittiest jobs you can imagine.  I just wanted it so bad.  At some points I would have been willing to give up my credibility and write certain pop jobs. I have learned so much over the last few years.  I’ve started to see what I don’t want which is sometimes more important than what you do want.  And I know now, going into my next album, what
I don’t want.

WHEN DID YOU FEEL THAT YOU’D MADE IT?

I still haven’t felt like I’ve made it. Seriously, I am wracked with insecurities and when I go back home to London with my family I feel completely normal as if nothing had changed, which is a beautiful thing.

YOU’RE DOING THE LONELY HOUR TOUR – WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THAT TITLE? WHAT KIND OF A TOURIST ARE YOU ON THE ROAD?

In the Lonely Hour is the name of my new album and the reason why it’s called that is because before I made this record, I had never had a boyfriend before and I fell in love with someone a few years ago, who didn’t love me back.  We weren’t in a relationship and it was very depressing. (laughs) and so the only way that I could get over him was to write an album about it and that is what I did. So music became therapy for me during that process. So that is why the album is called that.

And when I’m a tourist it’s food, food, food. (laughs) I am obsessed with food and that’s what I do.  The first thing I do when I travel is that I try to taste
the food that’s been made in that certain place. But I also love walking around.  My main priority is always the fans and to make sure that in each place I go, I stay behind after the show to meeting everyone and thank them.

SO YOU’RE MORE INSPIRED WHEN YOU’RE UNHAPPY, BY THE SOUNDS OF IT?

Way more inspired when I am unhappy, way more. But it’s not necessarily unhappiness to me and I try to make that clear with music.  It’s not sadness.  I feel like when I am being sad through my music I am being brave. So it’s almost like when I am being sad with my music it’s in a way actually like
getting happy again.

YOU ARE ONLY 23 AND YOU HAVE A WORLDWIDE INTERNATIONAL SUCCESS- WAS IT DIFFICULT TO COME OUT?

Come out as gay? I came out as gay when I was ten, (laughter) I think I came out as gay when I came out of my mum!  (laughs) but I didn’t actually have to come out – as it happened it was very disappointing the coming out story. I told my mom I was gay and then she was like, ‘We know.’ (laughs)
So it hasn’t been very depressing. But as far as the industry, you are right. I found it very scary actually in the beginning and I didn’t know because it hadn’t happened before, people hadn’t been openly gay in the pop market and released music saying it was about a guy. And it is scary and I still get scared sometimes and now probably more people know about my sexuality so I wonder sometimes what will happen with my second album. But we have come so far and as you said, I have this album as an openly gay artist and the response has been unbelievable. But it’s uncharted territory so it’s always going to be weird.

WAS THERE ANY NEGATIVE REACTION FROM FANS WHO WERE
DISAPPOINTED?

Oh my gosh, I get homophobic abuse every single day. You just have to go on my Instagram. But it’s the same if you are a woman in music you get abused if you look on Instagram and if you are black in music you will get abuse on Instagram.  It’s the exact same thing. But we are definitely moving forward in music, I think, which is great and inspiring.  My main thing is that I want to make music for everyone.  I can listen to a Stevie Wonder record and relate to it as much as I can any other record and he is talking about a woman. And I am talking about love and love is a universal thing.

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