Sam Smith is officially back with his latest single “Too Good At Goodbyes,” but before he released his new song, he almost said goodbye to the music industry altogether.
“There was a period, when making the record, that I was in a really bad place,’” the 25-year-old singer told Sir Elton John in a new interview for Attitude magazine. “‘I got dumped, which wasn’t very nice. Writing music about that kind of thing is normally like therapy for me, but when I got dumped this time ’round I just couldn’t write for about two months… My team had to force me to get into the studio, because I almost felt as if I didn’t want to do it any more. So, there were moments on there where it got a bit intense and I started to lose myself.”
Eventually he found love for his craft again, and alas we have the first Sam Smith single since his James Bond track “Writing’s On the Wall” from 2015’s Spectre, which won Smith an Oscar — an achievement that’s left a bittersweet memory in his mind. As you may recall, in his acceptance speech at the 2016 Academy Awards, Smith said he was proud to be the first openly gay Oscar winner and referred to an interview in which Sir Ian McKellen had made the claim. As it turns out, he misinterpreted McKellen’s words and was wrong, resulting in online backlash shortly after his speech.
“It made me really sad for a few weeks afterwards, I was really upset. But my intentions were good. I met Ian afterwards and we had a laugh about it. I’m at peace with it now,” Smith explained to Sir Elton. “Basically, I just fucked up. I was so nervous… I’d read Sir Ian McKellen’s interview the day before saying that no openly gay man had ever won the Oscar for best actor, and in that moment my brain and my mouth didn’t work together. That’s nerves for you.”
Throughout their chat (held at John’s estate in the South of France), Smith and Sir Elton discussed a myriad of topics, from music and fame to coming out and gay culture. One thing Sir Elton pointed out to Smith was the friendly competition he had with Rod Stewart during their heydays, which he compared to Smith and his fellow British crooner Ed Sheeran.
“Rod and I were competitive with each other, and that’s healthy because it drives you, but we loved and supported each other, too,” he told Smith. “I think perhaps you and Ed Sheeran are the same way. You do both love each other, both admire each other and are going through the same thing as each other, at the same age… You’re the new Rod and me!”
Sam conceded, saying that he “of course” has love for Sheeran, as they help each other up. But after seeing the insane success Sheeran has had with ÷ as Smith prepares his own new material, he can’t help admitting that there’s still a competitive streak within him. “It makes you push yourself. Watching him this past year has just been incredible, but yeah, of course it makes me hungry.”
Smith has yet to reveal any album details since the release of “Too Good at Goodbyes.” Buy or download Attitude magazine to read his full interview with Sir Elton.