"Every day I'm having little epiphanies and changes and loving it. But all I can say is that I'm putting my heart even more out on the (expletive) line," Smith said. "I'm going even deeper. I can't believe I'm even doing it, but I'm going even deeper."
In the Lonely Hour featured emotional pop songs about love lapses and unrequited love, including song titles like "Leave Your Lover" and "I'm Not the Only One." It reached multiplatinum status in the United States and won four Grammy Awards, including song and record of the year for "Stay With Me."
As he reflects on that album, Smith says he has mixed feelings about his breakthrough project.
"There's a few songs I really (expletive) hate, but then the core of the album, songs like 'Stay With Me,' 'I'm Not the Only One' — actually all the songs except 'Money on My Mind' — I really love and I'm really proud of the classic-ness of the way they sound, because I still listen to them now and I still love them," he said. "The music I'm making at the moment, it's very much a beautiful little transition from there and it fits."
Smith co-wrote his debut album and also won an Academy Award for co-writing "Writing's on the Wall" from the James Bond film Spectre. He says there's a "few moments" on his first album "where I think to myself, 'I would have changed that. I would have done that differently.'"
Smith added that when he began to rise in the United Kingdom as a featured act on Disclosure's dance song "Latch" — originally released in late 2012 — there was some confusion about which musical direction he should take.
"As soon as 'Latch' had a lot of success in (the) U.K., my label and me had a little bit of a panic. We were like, 'Maybe we should be doing dance?' And that's what I can hear on (my first) album — there's two or three songs where I can hear the little wobble, but the rest of the album is what I set out to make from the beginning," he said.
"But I still love my album, but I'm loving my new one (expletive) more."