Sam Smith’s voice is unmistakable. Filled with soul and emotion, his talent is obvious as he hits notes high and low.
But this artist is also one of very few openly gay male artists in the mainstream pop music scene. On Friday he released his new album titled “The Thrill of It All” and it is clear that parts of it were artistic ways of exploring his sexuality through music.
In a recent interview with the Herald Sun, Smith opens up about many of the issues and challenges he faces daily, many of which come as a result of being openly gay. There is the obvious challenge of simply facing constant hate and bigotry. “I get homophobic abuse on a daily basis on social media,” Smith admitted.
But there are others as well. It can make him uncomfortable when he is asked questions about his personal life that have him “speaking for a community”. Essentially, he is “willing to answer” those questions, but he has to be careful to always say the right things because not everyone in that community thinks, feels, or believes the same way he does. “I’m going to slip up sometimes, but I’m doing my best,” he adds.
That lesson came after controversy surrounded his speech given after winning an Oscar for his theme in a James Bond movie. In this speech he implied- incorrectly- to be the first openly gay man to win an Oscar. Social media criticized him heavily for the mistake, which he later apologized for.
When fame turned dark, Sam Smith turned back inwards and took a serious look at himself during time off. This was after he had developed a skin condition that flared up and deleted all of his social media accounts. It was time to take a step back.
The new album reflects some of the changes that took place in the aftermath of the Oscars speech and lessons from his time off. Some songs are lessons, some are stories of himself, and some are about the stories of others. Either way, this album features the Sam Smith who outwardly faces the world in his same voice, but a new spirit.