The music of 22-year-old Sam Smith has been celebrated in the singer’s native England for two years already—but it wasn’t until a rafter-shaking performance on Saturday Night Live this spring that the soulful crooner broke big on this side of the pond. Soon enough, his single “Stay With Me” was cracking the top 10 on the Billboard hot 100, his debut album was selling like hotcakes… and EW was publishing an article called “This is the Last Time We’ll Ever Have to Introduce You to Sam Smith.” Here, Smith himself gives a rundown of his biggest year yet.
Saturday Night Live was one of the scariest nights of my entire life. I tried to beg my managers and my team to not do SNL because I thought it was way too early. But I was so, so wrong. It was incredible and it’s broken me in America. That night, people were recognizing me a bit more. It was hours after, actually. You could feel the shift and you could feel the change physically in that moment in New York and it was amazing. It was really surreal.
Meeting Beyoncé was incredible. She said my voice is “like butter,” which was very lovely, and I said, “Thank you.” Mary J. Blige is so honest and lovely and calm. She’s like a big sister to me. You realize that when you meet these people, they are just people, you know? As a kid I thought all these people were superhumans, but it’s their talent that makes them superhuman.
I don’t feel pressure to follow up In the Lonely Hour. It’s hard to explain. I want to be a career artist. I actually like the idea of my career going in a wave. All I’m going to do is document my life and write about who I fall in love with, who I fall out of love with. I hope that’s enough. I’m not going to beat myself up about it. As long as I’m proud of the work, then I don’t care.
For more on 2014’s biggest moments, as well as the year’s Bests and Worsts, pick up this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday.