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Sam Smith on how therapy helps him through bad days

The Star Online logo The Star Online 21/7/2018 AGENCY

Sam Smith knows his music is melancholy and emotional, but he’s hoping his live shows will be uplifting and feel “like a fistful of love”, as he put it.

The singer, known for down-tempo hits like Stay With Me and Too Good At Goodbyes, is currently on his The Thrill of It All Tour in the United States.

How have you been prepping to get ready for this tour?

It’s very, very tough. I’m trying to really discover other joys in life instead of going out drinking and going clubbing. I’ve completely stopped drinking. I’m working out. I have my trainer on the road with me, which is amazing. I work out every day.

I’ve just had four weeks off so I’ve been eating a lot of really bad food, so I’m trying to work that off. I’m just being super, super, super healthy. Making sure I go to bed after the shows and rest my voice. It’s really looking after myself as much as I can.

The time that I’m onstage is my time to have fun and that’s my time to express and let go.

Have you cut out smoking?

Yes. The last year or so, I’m embarrassed to say that I did – I fell into the pit of smoking cigarettes. I’m battling it. I’m not smoking at all at the moment. When I have my time off in between shows I find it really difficult.

But I’m pretty certain and sure that I’ve kicked it now. I have to. It’s so bad for you. It’s just affecting my voice. It affects my mood as well.

I feel like I’m hurting myself in a way when I do it. So, I’ve stopped that.

You sing live every night. How does it feel when you see others lip sync?

In general, I find it sad. It’s different with the different artistes … I’m pretty sure some people sing a bit here and there and mime a bit during the show because they’re dancing so hard.

Then I understand that because I’m not a dancer and I don’t know how it feels.

If you’re singing for a bit of it live, then I get it. I’ve got to admit, it’s something that I find annoying, especially within pop music, because I’m someone who has never mimed. I’ve never ever mimed my entire life.

I can’t sing flat out every day, all day because my songs are very, very high and demanding for me as a male singer. It’s quite exhausting for my vocal chords.

Do you get to go to concerts? If so, who have you seen recently?

Yeah, I go to shows quite a lot. I try to see all the big pop shows. I saw Beyonce’s Lemonade stadium tour. I’m watching all of her On The Run Tour stuff online. I’m just obsessed. It’s just incredible to watch.

My dream person to see that I haven’t seen is Robyn. I just really want to see her live. I think I’d just cry the whole time.

How’s it been performing songs from your latest album now that it’s been out several months?

I look back at this album and sometimes, when I’m singing these songs, I worry because I know they are very dark. If you listen to the album it’s got quite a dark tone to it.

In The Lonely Hour, I felt that it was melancholy but there was hopefulness to the songs, because I was hoping the person I loved, loved me back.

And I think during the period of The Thrill Of It All, I really was a bit stuck and I was in a place where I just felt very confused about fame and felt that love was nowhere to be seen.

I look back on that time and sometimes I’m almost upset with how dark it was and wish I could have written a happier record. But it was honest and it was me.

I’ve already started writing quite a lot for my third record. Just wrote something today, actually, in the dressing room. It’s just feeling a little more up. Never too happy. But I’m feeling a lot more confident as a songwriter, which is really, really nice.

a person sitting in a chair with a bag of luggage © Photo: AP

Is what you’re writing now a reflection of how you feel now? Because it seems like you’re happier.

Oh, yeah, completely. I’m a lot happier now then I was. I still have my down days.

After releasing the record, I got into a really happy place and it was great, and then had a massive low a few months afterward.

I started therapy recently and I’m starting to truly understand that you can’t be happy all the time. And life is like a sea, isn’t it? Sometimes it’s calm and then sometimes it’s crazy and stormy. And you’ve just got to ride it, I guess.

I still find parts of my life really, really challenging and difficult and I get very, very sad sometimes, but I have the tools now. And I’m trying to work out the tools, how to stay happy, which is good. – AP

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