Music

Sam Smith: I went through self-discovery, loss

Sam Smith says success of debut record affected him

British soul singer Sam Smith is only 25 but already has the music world at his feet.

Despite the success and fame, his highly anticipated second album,The Thrill Of It All, released yesterday, paints a picture of pain and heartbreak.

"I went on a bit of a spiral since I released In The Lonely Hour," Smith said in a London recording studio, referring to his hit 2014 debut album.

"It was a mental and thrilling three years of self-discovery and loss and heartbreak," he added.

Sticking to the formula he deployed with great success in In The Lonely Hour, Smith's second album is filled with gospel-infused ballads that tell poignant tales of lost love and longing.

In Too Good At Goodbyes, the first single off The Thrill Of It All, the Londoner describes the breakdown of a relationship, singing "every time you walk out, the less I love you".

Baby You Make Me Crazy sees him trying to move on, doing "anything to drown you out tonight".

"When I am happy, I don’t want to write music"Sam Smith

Writing from a place of sadness comes easier to Smith.

"When I am happy, I don't want to write music," he said, adding that he is "happy a lot".

"But just like anyone, there are dips and times when I go deeply into myself and deep in thought and it is these times that I go to the studio and pick up a pen.

"I feel like I've managed to write something that is honest and from my heart."

In The Lonely Hour went to No. 1 in several countries and won Smith four Grammys, including Best New Artist, Song Of The Year and Record Of The Year (for Stay With Me).

Seemingly unstoppable, he then won an Oscar for Best Original Song for his James Bond movie theme Writing's On The Wall.

Unprepared for this level of success, Smith retreated from the public eye for a year and a half to "get used to fame and really sit with it and understand it".

Now, he appears calm, collected and even comfortable with the attention.

His transformation is also physical as the 1.88m-tall Smith lost more than 23kg during his hiatus, making him appear even taller than he already is.

Gone also is the boyish look of his early 20s. Nowadays, he sports short hair and stubble, making his blue eyes pop even more.

Still, making a comeback album off the back of a successful debut is nerve-racking and Smith did not escape the pressure.

"I did feel it, and it affected my writing for the first two to three months," he said.

But with the difficult second album done and dusted, the soft-spoken crooner is now "ready to work".

Smith is preparing to go on a tour between March and September next year that will take him to Europe, Canada, Mexico and the US.

"I don't want to take as big a break between the second and third record," he said, adding: "I think I have already got a title for the third record." - AFP

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