In a new interview with NME, Sam Smith says he wants to be a “spokesperson” for gay rights.
“I want to be a figure in the gay community, who speaks for gay men,” Smith, who came out when he was 10, told the magazine. “I sell records in countries where gay men get killed and that’s a big thing for me, because maybe one person in that country will pick up my album, realize it’s by a gay artist, and it might change their opinion.”
The remarks come after Smith was criticized last year for saying that he was not trying to a spokesperson for the community.
“It sounds awful of me, but I’m really just trying to live my life and write music about it,” Smith told Digital Spy in September 2014. “That’s what I do. I’m not trying to heal the world. From a young age I’ve always been like this, so it’s been normal. My family and friends have made it feel normal and I’m not going to stop that now.”
Speaking to Ellen DeGeneres in December of last year, however, Smith clarified his remarks further.
“I’m a singer and a songwriter. I get upset sometimes, because I don’t talk about it too much. People say to me, ‘He doesn’t want to be a spokesperson for the gay community.’ It’s like, I do. Of course, I do,” Smith said. “But I want to be a spokesperson for everyone: Straight people, gay people, bisexual. I don’t want to be limited.”
For more from Smith, head to NME.