Since hitting the mainstream music scene in 2012, Sam Smith has crafted an exceptional career as a chart-topping singer-songwriter. In celebration of the release of their highly anticipated third studio album, "Love Goes," on Oct. 30, 2020, Wonderwall.com is taking a look at all the things you might not know (but should!) about the English music star! Keep reading for more…
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1. They're from London
Sam Smith was born in London on May 19, 1992, to Frederick Smith and Kate Cassidy. They have two sisters — Mabel and Lily Smith — and had a love for music from an early age, having been part of Youth Music Theatre UK as a child.
2. They came out as gay at 10
Sam Smith, who's long been outspoken about LGBTQ+ rights, came out when they were 10. "I'd just finished primary school, going into secondary school, and I came out to my best friend when I was 9 or 10," they told Attitude Magazine in 2017. "I was very sure of, and in, myself. When I told my mum, she said she always knew, she said she knew when I was 3, and my dad just asked if I was absolutely sure. And I was sure, even at that age, but they were incredibly supportive."
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3. They later came out as non-binary as an adult
In March 2019, while chatting with actress Jameela Jamil during an episode of her "I Weigh Interviews" Instagram show, Sam Smith came out as non-binary, though at the time still used he/him pronouns. "I am not male or female. I think I float somewhere in between," Sam said. "I've always been free in terms of thinking about sexuality, so I've just tried to change that into my thoughts on gender as well." The music star continued, "Non-binary/genderqueer is that you do not identify in a gender. You are a mixture of all different things. You are your own special creation." Six months later in September 2019, Sam announced a further identity progression. "I've decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM," Sam wrote on Instagram. "After a lifetime of being at war with my gender I've decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out."
4. They are open about living with obsessive-compulsive disorder
Sam Smith has also been open about sharing their experiences living and coping with obsessive-compulsive disorder. "I have OCD, which I've had since I've been a kid, and since I became well-known it's gotten way worse," they told Hot Press in 2020. "Because it's a control thing and — with what I do, the lack of control within my life became very intense. For me, I've been on the road and traveling around the world and touring since I was 20 years old. This is the first time that I've had to clean my clothes and look after myself as a human being! And obviously these are very privileged problems. But you know, this lack of control sends my OCD absolutely wild." They continued, "As an illness, OCD is very misunderstood. People claim to have it when they're just cleaning their rooms and they're tidy, but it's actually a little more intense."
5. They made their breakthrough in 2013
Sam Smith landed their big break after being featured on the song "Latch" by English electronic duo Disclosure. The track was released on Oct. 8, 2012, and peaked at No. 11 on the U.K. singles chart. "Latch" went two times platinum in Britain and three times platinum in the United States. An acoustic version was featured on Sam's debut studio album, "In the Lonely Hour."
6. Their music was deeply influenced by Amy Winehouse
When asked about their musical influences, Sam Smith has listed Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Beyonce as three significant inspirations. "I've always preferred female singers to men," they told Q Magazine in 2014. One artist in particular, though, left a lasting impression on the singer-songwriter: the late Amy Winehouse. "Without a question the album that changed my life would have to be Amy Winehouse's debut album, 'Frank,'" they said. "I can still remember hearing it in my dad's car when I was 11 on the way to school." They continued, "It totally blew me away. It was so honest emotionally. It reminds me that I need to try and be that honest in my own songwriting. I never got to meet her, but she'll always be an icon."
7. They are a hopeless romantic
In 2018 while chatting with Female First, Sam Smith — who dated "13 Reasons Why" actor brandon Flynn in 2017 and 2018 and was romantically linked to French furniture designer François Rocci in 2020 — admitted that they're a hopeless romantic. "I love sending flowers, leaving notes around the house and making thoughtful presents," they admitted. "I feel like I'm in a Richard Curtis film all the time. Which is bad, because I think everything should be like a movie and I get anxiety when it's not."
8. Their debut album was meant to be seen as a queer record
Sam Smith's debut album, "In the Lonely Hour," was released in 2014. While chatting with performance artist and writer ALOK as part of the Out 100 issue, Sam spoke about their desire to create music that isn't confined within the gender binary. "I had that with my first album, 'In the Lonely Hour.' I'm in a suit and in that suit, I was channeling Judy Garland. I look back on those videos of me when I was 20, and I see a feminine energy," they said. "I was singing songs about a married man I'd fallen in love with, and we did not kiss, nothing happened between us, but I was so in love with him, and I was tortured. I remember releasing the album thinking that it would be heard in that way — that it was a queer record — but it wasn't taken like that. I've realized now that people weren't understanding me."
9. They want to have children at 35
While chatting with Apple Music's Zane Lowe in October 2020, Sam Smith revealed that they want to have a family and children by 35. "I want kids. I want all of it," they said. "I want to be with the kids and I want to watch them grow and be with them every day. I want to be mummy." Sam continued, "I'm definitely going to do that at some point, but I've still got more in me. I've still got ambition. I try and settle it down all the time and play it down, but I'm ambitious and I would still want to sing to people and do this job. It's an amazing feeling."
10. If they weren't famous, they'd be a florist
Although Sam Smith is an award-winning singer-songwriter, they've contemplated a life outside of the spotlight. Sam, a flower aficionado, could see themself as a florist. "I think I want to open a flower shop, I really do. Flowers make me happy," Sam said on the "George Ezra & Friends" podcast in 2018. "A coffee shop that has a flower shop at the back. And when I have down time I'll just go and work in the florist. I think I'm going to do a florist class first. I have an idea for a logo and everything."
11. They love tuna on pizza
A peculiar preference! While chatting with Buzzfeed in 2017, Sam Smith admitted that they aren't a fan of pizza unless it has a very specific topping. "It's really weird, I know," they said of their dislike of the popular food. "The only pizza I like has seafood on it, like tuna."
12. They've got a few Grammys
The year was 2015 when Sam Smith took home an impressive four Grammy Awards their very first year being nominated. The "Stay with Me" hitmaker won best new artist, song of the year, record of the year and pop vocal album of the year. Their debut album, "In the Lonely Hour," was also just one of two albums released in 2014 to achieve platinum certification.
13. They've won an Academy Award
In 2016, Sam Smith took home the Oscar for best original song alongside frequent collaborator Jimmy Napes (pictured) for "Writing's on the Wall." The track was written for and featured in the 2015 James Bond film "Spectre." The win was historic — "Writing's on the Wall" became just the second ever Bond theme to win the Academy Award for best original song.
14. They have famous relatives
Looks like music runs in the family! Sam Smith has a familial link to a famous English singer — Lily Allen! Lily, a Grammy nominee herself, and her younger brother, "Game of Thrones" actor Alfie Allen, are Sam's third cousins.
15. They trained as a vocalist from a young age
While they've since gone on to become one of the industry's most beloved singers, Sam Smith worked hard to hone their craft first. Their voice teacher, jazz vocalist Joanna Eden, played a crucial role in helping a teenage Sam develop their artistry. "Sam seemed to have so much confidence at 9 years old, all that confidence I lacked," Joanna told VH1 in 2015. "I saw that as a beautiful, pure thing and went with it and encouraged it." She continued, "It didn't feel like a teacher-pupil relationship at all. It was really what I needed at that time in my life, to be playing with music again. It was as much a gift to me as it was to him, I think."