Sam Smith: The Brit Behind the Beat
He’s more than just the blue-eyed, leather-jacketed singer featured on Disclosure’s garage track “Latch.” While brought to most people’s attention as the British voice behind DJ Naughty Boy’s EDM chart topper and number one single “La La La,” Sam Smith brings much more than a plug-and-play voice synched to a catchy beat. Growing up listening to and singing Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston, the 21-year-old rising star draws comparisons to a male Adele. With his passionate and bluesy vocals, his raw falsetto, and his intimate lyrics, Sam Smith is emerging as one mighty musician. A man of many genres, Smith flirts with pop, R&B, house, dance-pop, and breakbeat, and is featured on multiple charts.
Appearing on a number one EDM single while simultaneously establishing a solo career can be tricky. With expectations set high, Smith has the potential to exploit his EDM success, and concentrate on the diversity of his music in hopes of advancing his solo career.
Though blessed with cross-platform talent, Smith risks becoming a jack of all trades and master of none. Defying the single-genre prerequisite of many artists, Sam Smith justifies his diversity by claiming he loves the music and not the fame. As the lyric to his most recent single “Money On My Mind” attests, “Cause I’m not a puppet, I will work against your strings.” In other words, Smith will take his own direction, carve his own path, and he will be successful—without the influences of financial success.
With his highly anticipated album The Lonely Hour dropping in the U.S. on June 17, Smith is shaping up to have an even bigger year than last. Following his American television debut on Saturday Night Live last month featuring songs “Stay with Me” and “Lay Me Down,” the album is expected to be more sensitive and soulful than his recent work with Disclosure. Many call him the artist to watch out for in 2014. I call him the artist of 2014.