In the career-defining poll that nominates the year’s next top music makers across the globe, BBC’s Sound of 2014 has declared Sam Smith as this year’s winner. Following in the footsteps of Adele, Jessie J, Mika, and HAIM, the twenty-one year old from Cambridgeshire is an enthusiast of sound, experimenting not only with his own singles, but also collaborating with well-known producers.
Since he was eight years old, Smith has been singing and participating in musical endeavours. Not only has he studied under a jazz singer to enhance his skills but also participated in musical theatre before moving to London.
Radio was first introduced to Sam Smith when he loaned his vocals to Disclosure’s “Latch” in 2012, supporting electronic duo’s entrance into the UK musical elite. After performing in Disclosure’s many shows of increasing size, Naughty Boy sought his vocal prowess for his hit, “La La La,” winner of two MOBO awards. When asked about working with Smith, Naughty Boy said he wanted to promote new artists and “it just had to be Sam because where it went from there is perfect.”
While he wouldn’t call himself perfect, Smith has described his sound as “soul music…presented to you in different ways.” When you listen to his collaborations on his EP Nirvana, his voice is both raw and smooth. As he reaches to the skies with his show stopping high notes then drops to strongest of bass tones, you can’t help but shiver and realise that this music comes from a deep, real place. In writing, he says, “I try to live my life through the music…it’s the honesty in the lyric, which gets people, and that’s what I try to do in every song.”
The BBC wasn’t the only one to recognise his honest sound. Smith has also been nominated for MTV’s Brand New for 2014, the BRIT’s Critic’s Choice Award, and the BRIT’s Single of the Year for “La La La.” It’s clear that Smith’s conquer of the music world has already begun.
What’s next, then, for this two-time winner? It’s time to start looking out for Smith’s first album, In the Lonely Hour, set to release on May 26th. In it, Smith will feature pieces from his EP as well as present us with a few new songs. He’s also looking forward to making a couple of music videos so we can now recognise both his face and his highly acknowledged voice.
Written by Brittany Burns