How did 22-year old British singer-songwriter Sam Smith feel after playing in front of his largest U.S. crowd to date at the 2014 Bonnaroo on Friday afternoon?
“I feel really weird when I come off the stage sometimes,” Smith told Billboard immediately following the set. “I feel quite emotionally drained, and that’s what I feel like right now.”
Smith’s Bonnaroo set marked one of his first shows as a true American star. The emotional performance arrived as his gut-wrenching single “Stay With Me” is breaking into the Top 10 of the Hot 100.
“I’m very honest in everything I do and I’ve poured my heart into this music,” said the singer, who was profiled in the new issue of Billboard. “It’s a very personal song to me, so when I hear 40,000 people or 10,000 people, like today, sing it back to me it’s overwhelming, because the lyrics are so personal.”
Smith also discussed what was going through his head as he looked out into the sea of people watching his Bonnaroo performance.
“What was going through my head is that I owe my manager a lot of drinks,” he said, referring to a bet he made with his manager that nobody would show up to see him perform. “Last night I panicked. I was like, ‘Why have you billed this as my first festival? Let’s start small.’ But I couldn’t have been more wrong.”
Smith’s debut album, “In the Lonely Hour,” will be released stateside on June 17 through Capitol.