In a new interview with The Sunday Times, the 25-year-old Grammy winner opens up about about his forthcoming album, “The Thrill of It All,” and explains why he felt more comfortable exploring his sexuality this time around.
“Looking back on it, it was the fear of saying the wrong thing and offending,” Smith said. “I was 19 when I started writing the first album. I’d just moved to London from a village—I was literally the only gay in the village. I didn’t know what I wanted to say.”
In contrast, his new songs “show my growth, my confidence,” he said. “They show the gay guy I’ve become.”
Smith, who came out as gay in 2014 as his smash debut, “In the Lonely Hour,” was gaining momentum, opened up about his gender identity later in the interview. As it turns out, he has no affinity for labels.
“There was one moment in my life where I didn’t own a piece of male clothing, really,” he told The Sunday Times. “I would wear full make-up every day in school, eyelashes, leggings with Dr. Martens and huge fur coats, for 2.5 years.”
“I don’t know what the title would be,” he added, “but I feel just as much woman as I am man.”
He’s just as fond of exploring gender these days as he was years ago, too. “I love a heel,” he said, a point he emphasized with a cheeky Instagram post last week. “I’ve got loads of heels at home.”
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- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.