By Nick Catucci
March 28, 2014 at 04:33 PM EDT
Hoensch/Redferns via Getty Images

Fear not, Americans: It’s understandable if, like so many things in the world beyond our borders, you’re unsure of who Sam Smith is, and why he is being shown to you on television.

Smith, who will be the musical guest on Saturday Night Live this weekend (with host Louis C.K.), is a 21-year-old singer from London with a huge hit, “Money On My Mind,” in his native country, where his debut album In the Lonely Hour has just come out. But Lonely Hour won’t arrive here until mid-June, and Smith’s barely known in the U.S.—although if you’re a fan of Disclosure, you know “Latch,” their smash song featuring young Mr. Smith.

Smith’s got a tremendous voice—mournful but not at all repressed—and a taste for high-end cocktail-lounge music that skirts into hip dance-music territory. If you could lump together Morrissey, Craig David (remember him?), David Gray, and Amy Winehouse and have it make any sense at all, that sensible lump might be Sam Smith.I saw him perform at the New York stop of his American tour the other night and while he wasn’t a riveting presence, his vocals were often spellbinding.

He’s also got a Walk of Shame-themed new video, for “Stay With Me”:

You are invited to welcome Sam Smith to these shores in the comments.

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