Samuel Frederick “Sam” Smith (born 19 May 1992) is an English singer and songwriter. He rose to fame in October 2012 when he was featured on Disclosure’s breakthrough single “Latch”, which peaked at number eleven on the UK Singles Chart. His subsequent feature—on Naughty Boy’s “La La La”—earned him his first number one single in May 2013.
In December 2013, he was nominated for the 2014 BRIT Critics’ Choice Award and the BBC’s Sound of 2014 poll, both of which he won. He released his debut studio album, In the Lonely Hour, in May 2014 on Capitol Records. The lead single, “Lay Me Down”, was released prior to “La La La”. The second single, “Money on My Mind”, became his second number one single in the UK. The album’s third single, “Stay with Me”, was an international success, reaching number one in the UK and number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, while the fourth single “I’m Not the Only One” reached the top five in both countries. The fifth single, “Like I Can”, reached number nine in the UK.
In December 2014, Smith was nominated for six Grammy Awards, and at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards in February 2015 he won four: Best New Artist, “Stay with Me” for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, and In the Lonely Hour for Best Pop Vocal Album. At the 2015 Brit Awards, he won the awards for British Breakthrough Act and Global Success.
Smith was born in London, England, the son of Frederick Smith and Kate Cassidy, a broker. He is an alumnus of Youth Music Theatre UK and starred in their 2007 production of “Oh! Carol”. Before entering the musical theatre, Smith had been in jazz bands. For a number of years he studied singing and songwriting under jazz pianist Joanna Eden. He attended St Mary’s Catholic School in Bishop’s Stortford. He was a member of the Bishop’s Stortford Junior Operatics (now Bishops Stortford Musical Theatre Society) and the Cantate Youth Choir.
In June 2014, Smith first appeared on the cover of The Fader in its 92nd issue. In August 2014, Smith’s single “Stay with Me” was named Variance Magazine’s Song of Summer. Smith performed “Stay With Me” live at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards on 24 August at The Forum in Inglewood, California. On 15 November 2014, Smith joined the charity group Band Aid 30 along with other British and Irish pop acts, recording the latest version of the track “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” at Sarm West Studios in Notting Hill, London, to raise money for the 2014 Ebola crisis in Western Africa.
In 2015, it came to light that singer Tom Petty, noting similarities between “Stay With Me” and his 1989 hit song “I Won’t Back Down”, had negotiated an out-of-court settlement with Smith in October 2014. Petty and co-composer Jeff Lynne were awarded 12.5% of the royalties from “Stay with Me”, and the names of Petty and Jeff Lynne joined James John Napier (known professionally as Jimmy Napes) in the ASCAP song credit.
At the 57th Annual Grammy Awards held on 8 February 2015 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Smith performed “Stay with Me”, and received four Grammy Awards: Best New Artist, “Stay with Me” for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, and In the Lonely Hour for Best Pop Vocal Album. At the 2015 Brit Awards held at the The O2 Arena in London on 25 February, Smith performed “Lay Me Down”, and won the Brit Awards for British Breakthrough Act, and Global Success.
In March 2015, “Lay Me Down” was re-released as the sixth single from the album, peaking at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 (Smith’s third US top 10 single). The same month, Smith recorded another version of the song, featuring John Legend, for the British charity telethon Comic Relief, which reached number one in the UK. At the 2015 Billboard Music Awards on 17 May, Smith received three Billboard Awards: Top Male Artist, Top New Artist, and Top Radio Songs Artist. Smith features in Disclosure’s single “Omen” which was released on 27 July 2015.