Sam Smith has opened up about family life, their dream of being a parent and the abuse they face as a queer artist in a new interview.
Speaking to Zane Lowe for Apple Music, the “Unholy” singer said that while things are going in the right direction when it comes to queer representation and acceptance, there are “realities that are quite hard to swallow”.
“There’s still backlash,” they said. “I still get things said to me on the street, even now. The weirdest thing is you can be famous right, you can be a pop star, and you still get it.
“I thought I’d become a pop star and I’d never get a bad word said to me ever again and I’d never have homophobia, I’d never experience it, if I became a star. Then it happens, and it’s still there,” they added.
— Zane Lowe (@zanelowe) November 7, 2022
Sam Smith came out as gay in 2014 and as non-binary in 2019. They have continued to experience queerphobic abuse, and have previously expressed how they feel they have lost fans due to homophobia and transphobia.
In the interview, they said their family were very supportive, but had struggled to adapt to their fame.
“My family incredible because they were petrified the minute I became famous,” Smith said.
“It wasn’t a good thing. It was a scary thing. They were scared of losing me, me changing. And people around you who want something from you, that you hear these horror stories. I think that because of Winehouse and what happened with Amy and what happened with Whitney [Houston].”
They also spoke about becoming a parent in the future, saying: “Once I’ve done all the traveling, I’d love to do that, yeah.”
When asked by Zane Lowe if they meant “with someone you love”, they clarified: “Yeah. But I can also do it alone.”
Last month, Sam Smith made chart history with their latest single “Unholy”, as they and collaborator Kim Petras became the first non-binary and trans artists to reach number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The star has also announced details of their upcoming fourth studio album Gloria, as well as a new UK and European tour, set to hit cities in 2023.
During their interview with Lowe, Smith said that while they “love making music with people”, they often endure a period of feeling low once the music is released.
“I get low every time…I almost get upset,” they said. “I’m going to sound like a drama queen but it’s like a death in a way. Because [the songs] are mine, and they belong to me and I sit with them and I love them, and imagine how people would listen to them or if people would enjoy them, then you put it out there and it doesn’t belong to you anymore. And people take it, and people are rude.”
Sam Smith says their record label were initially “confused” by their Kim Petras collaboration, Unholy.(Getty/Christopher Polk)
While the response to “Unholy” has undoubtedly been positive, given its large chart success, Smith added that initially, their record label didn’t respond too well to it.
“I sent “Unholy” to my team and everyone was like ‘what is this’? They were confused, they were like ‘what is the brand? What are you trying to do here?’”
“I said — I’m the brand. And I, just like my gender really, I am everything. I can be anything.”
Gloria is released on 27 January 2023.