Success is its own reward, but it’s also a license to pursue your dreams. At least that’s how Sam Smith sees the direction they are headed on the upcoming pop-focused follow-up to the 2017 album The Thrill Of It All. During an appearance on the Zach Sang Show, Smith got excited about how the embrace of the upbeat “How Do You Sleep?” and their smash collab with Normani, “Dancing With a Stranger,” has opened the door to pursuing a long-held dream.
“I feel like I have recently shown people a side of me which I normally keep to myself or for my family and friends,” Smith told Sang of exploring their pop side. “I showed everyone it and everyone loved it. I feel like it’s almost given me permission to kinda do what I’ve always dreamed of doing but I was always scared to do, which is pop music. I love pop music so much.”
And while they love the “acoustic-y,” soulful pop they’ve made in the past, Smith said the new direction has “made me feel really good and happy” after what they described as a “very tough year” that included a hard breakup. “I think my music will always be honest in that way, but being able to dance and stuff is amazing.” The two songs we’ve heard so far were inspired by what Smith said was the “first proper relationship” they’ve ever had. “So the lyrics and the music is probably sound way more… lived-in, because I feel way more experienced when it’s coming to these feelings and when it comes to love.”
Smith also revealed that “Dancing With a Stranger” was written as “pure therapy” just three weeks after the breakup as something they could dance to, but also cry to. “I can’t write about something in the moment it has to be afterwards. It has be looking back on something for me,” Smith said about their writing process. The good news for fans is that Smith said they’ve caught the strongest, “best writing flow” of their lives over the past year in the ramp up to the as-yet-untitled album.
Check out the full interview with Sang below.