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Sam Smith's biggest diva demands

Sam Smith's biggest diva demands
From BBC - November 8, 2017

Backstage at the BBC's studios in Elstree, Sam Smith is wandering around in a silk kimono and ruby red stilettos.

"Babe, I do not understand," he complains down his phone. "They are letting Fearne [Cotton] wear heels, so why ca not I wear heels?"

Do not worry, he's not gone full Mariah. It's all in aid of a sketch for his TV special, Sam Smith at the BBC, which airs on Thursday.

In real life, the singer tries his best to remain humble.

"I do not ask for puppies in my dressing room," he laughs.

"But sometimes - andI am really embarrassed about this - when they are doing my make-up before I go onstage, people do up my laces for me.

"I hate it. I feel like a diva. A diva or a three-year-old."

Still, there was a time after the phenomenal success of Smith's debut album, In The Lonely Hour, when his head was turned by fame.

He was hanging out with Beyonce and Justin Timberlake at Taylor Swift's 25th birthday party, and jetting off to Mexico for the world premiere of Spectre, the Bond film for which he wrote the Oscar-winning theme.

"I did get a bit I would not say big-headed, but I was living in that scene way too much, and I needed to be brought back down to earth," he says bashfully.

"There was one time when I wore a new pair of pants every day and threw all the old ones away. I got obsessed with wearing different pants every night.

"But that only lasted a month," he says with a huge peal of laughter. "I rewear all my pants all the time now."

Smith, it has to be said, is not the sad, fragile young man he's often portrayed to be. Yes, his emotions run close to the surface, but he's also funny, forthright and supremely ambitious.

"I want to play Wembley Stadium one day," he declares, the suggestion being it's inevitable, not some distant dream.

We speak on the day his second album, The Thrill Of It All, is released. Smith has just come back from a signing at HMV in Oxford Street, where he was not mobbed so much as sobbed.

"The stories people were telling me: Oh my God! I was trying not to cry the whole time."

"I forget sometimes just how intense the music is."

The 'dangerous' second album

Smith's second album has a lot to live up to. Its predecessor was the fastest-selling debut by a British male solo artist in US chart history; making the 25-year-old a four-time Grammy winner, with four UK number one singles and an Oscar to boot.

In interviews, he's described the new album as "dangerous" - a description that seems at odds with its accessible, soul-searching ballads. So what did he mean?

"For me, it was dangerous because I could not hear these songs on the radio," he explains. "Just because of the climate of pop music right now. I do not think my music fits that well."

He's wrong, of course. The album went silver in the space of three days, and it's comfortably winning the race to be this week's number one - on both sides of the Atlantic.

"The reception has been incredible. I am just so shocked," the star says.

Settling down in his record company's boardroom, surrounded by his own gold discs, Smith delved into the album's key tracks, revealing some of the secrets behind his latest love songs.

Too Good At Goodbyes

The album's first track is also its first single; a gospel-inspired ballad in which Smith pushes his lover away to avoid getting his heart broken.

Key lyric: "I am never gonna let you close to me / Even though you mean the most to me / 'Cause every time I open up, it hurts."

Him

Baby, You Make Me Crazy

The Thrill of It All

One Last Song

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