Just Who is ‘SNL’ Musical Guest Sam Smith?

·Writer
Just Who is ‘SNL’ Musical Guest Sam Smith?

For 39 years, "Saturday Night Live" has not only showcased some of the hottest musical talent, they frequently introduce American audiences to new acts worthy of our attention. That occurred once again last Saturday when they show hosted Sam Smith as its musical guest.

If you caught the show, you might be wondering just who is that man with the ordinary name and extraordinary voice. We're here to help you out. Here are 13 things you should know about Sam Smith.

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1. In late February, "Money on My Mind," his debut single, topped the U.K. singles chart.

2. He's 21 and hails from Bishop's Stortford, England.

He was raised in Primrose, London and participated in Youth Music Theatre UK. "One time I did six shows in one year, whilst juggling school," he told the BBC.

3. He's already won awards in the U.K.

He was nominated for a 2014 Brit Crtics' Choice Awards and made the BBC's Sound of 2012 poll, and won them both.

4. He's Lily Allen's cousin.

She tweeted out the news that he won the BBC's Sound of 2014 a day early.

https://twitter.com/lilyallen/statuses/421215922876342272

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5. When he first arrived in London, he found work in a bar.

"I used to work in a toilet in a bar," he told the BBC. "I didn't have to talk to anyone, I just had to clean up everything that happened at night -- which was horrendous. Then the bar I worked in last, which I kind of helped to manage, was in the city so there was a lot of chucking drunk people out."

6. He's had nine different managers.

And, his mother, Kate Cassidy, was sacked from her job as a highly paid bank executive for allegedly spending too much time on her son's career. In 2009, she filed suit claiming damages for her dismissal.

7. He honed his voice by singing along to Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston in his family's car.

He told the BBC that the first song he learned the words to was Franklin's version of "Say a Little Prayer." In fact, he claimed that he didn't listen to male singers until 2012.

8. He first gained exposure on a few records by other artists.

"Latch," a song by Disclosure, featuring Smith on vocals, reached No. 11 in the U.K. in October 2012. His guest appearance on Naughty Boy's "La La La" was even more successful, topping the U.K. singles chart in May 2013. He thought being a featured artist before releasing his own material was important. "The plan was to have a story," he told the BBC. "It could have been, 'here's me coming from a little village in Cambridgeshire' but no-one would listen."

9. He performed festival dates and toured with Disclosure.

10. He's critically acclaimed.

The New York Times wrote that "Nirvana," his debut EP, "shows him to be an impressively serious singer with immaculate control."

11. He was nominated for a Breaking Woodie.

He was nominated along with Bastille and Jhene Aiko for the prize at the MTVU Woodie Awards, but lost to the 1975.

12. Smith was looking forward to his "SNL" appearance.

"I'm really excited to do it; ['Saturday Night Live'] is something I watch religiously back home," he told MTV. "I'm a little bit scared, because I haven't got my album out at all, so people don't really know who I am, which I think is really quite different for 'SNL.'"

13. His debut album, "In the Lonely Hour," is due May 26 from Capitol Records.

It primarily features love songs. "I've spent my whole life listening to songs about breaking up and falling in love -- but I've never had a partner," he told the BBC. "I've never been in love with someone who has loved me back. So I wanted to write an album about unrequited love. An album for people who are lonely."

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