- 12:10 PM, Aug 17
Sam Smith was born Samuel Frederick Smith in the rural county of Cambridgeshire, England, on May 19, 1992. He is a third-cousin of singer Lily Allen and actor Alfie Allen. Starting performing at a very young age, Smith was placed in formal vocal training with a local jazz singer at the age of 8, after his parents heard him sing along to Whitney Houston's "My Love Is Your Love" one morning on the drive to his Catholic primary school. Much of his childhood and adolescence, thereafter, was spent in theater rehearsals. His mother, then a prominent banker in London, often asked her son to perform for friends and associates at dinner parties. From the age of 12, Smith's career was handled by six different managers, with guarantees of fame that never came to pass. When he was 16, his mother was fired from her job for "gross misconduct," after supposedly spending too much company time on his budding pop career.
Smith rose to fame after he's featured in Disclosure's 2012 hit single "Latch". The song peaked at No. 11 on the U.K. Singles Chart. He then released his debut single "Lay Me Down" in early 2013. The track was also confirmed as the lead single from his debut album. Later that year, Smith joined forces with Naughty Boy for "La La La" that eventually landed at No. 1 on U.K. Singles Chart. That October he released the "Nirvana" EP, which included an acoustic reading of "Latch", and by the end of February 2014 he was at the top of the U.K. singles chart once again with "Money on My Mind", an infectious track that inventively married his relaxed vocal with a frenetic beat. Smith's debut full-length, "In the Lonely Hour", was released in May in his home country, while fans in the U.S. would have to wait until June 17.
In a May interview with the Fader, Smith revealed that he's a gay. "It's about a guy and that's what I wanted people to know - I want to be clear that that's what it's about," he said of a song called "Leave Your Lover" that appears in his debut LP.
"I want to make it a normality because this is a non-issue. People wouldn't ask a straight person these questions. I've tried to be clever with this album, because it's also important to me that my music reaches everybody.