Last night I watched Sam Smith perform at Webster Hall in New York City. So far this year, I’ve seen mostly rappers, rock bands, and pop acts, and the difference between them and Sam Smith was striking from the start. Sam Smith is a vocalist. He performs with a live band who plays cleanly and well, but there’s never a moment when that voice of his isn’t the focal point. And it’s not a studio trick—Sam can sing extremely well.
“Stay With Me” has the sing-along chorus kind of like Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down,” except done by a British man with a piano and a gospel choir. It’s not the edgiest thing out right now, but there’s a classic feeling to it that gives Sam Smith the chance to not only appeal to those on the bleeding edge of cool music, but fans of, say, Adele.
Sam performs on Saturday Night Live this weekend, on March 29, so get ready for your mom to start asking you who this Sam Smith character is. With his debut album The Lonely Hour coming out on June 17 in the U.S., he’s set to get a whole lot more popular among an entirely new audience.
Hear “Stay With Me” below, and read our interview with Sam Smith here.