Sam Smith sat down with Michelle Visage on Tuesday (Nov. 22) for a wide-ranging discussion about their non-binary identity, the meaning behind the name of their new album and more.
“I think I’ve always been non-binary, I’ve always been queer. And I always felt that way,” the singer explained on Michelle Visage’s Rule Breakers. “And when I found the words, I can’t believe how late I found the words, like 25, 26, someone told me about this thing called non-binary and I thought, ‘This is a place where I can exist.’ And it was magical. Very, very stressful and scary, but the minute I found those words and found this community, my inner peace was just still for the first time in years. It was incredible.”
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When Visage asked what advice they would give fans in the process of discovering their own identities, Smith spilled the tea on the inspiration behind their upcoming studio set Gloria, which is scheduled to be released Jan. 27 via Capitol Records.
“There’s a fighter voice in all of us and you’ve just got to look after that,” they said. “My album Gloria, I’ve called it Gloria because I’ve called that voice inside me Gloria. It’s like a voice in my head that just says, ‘You can do it’. And kids have just got to access that voice and feed it.”
Smith also teased the music’s focus on queer joy in their recent Billboard cover story in August, saying, “I think joy for me, and for a lot of queer people, is quite a dangerous place. We’re all masters of pain, and I think it’s actually a very courageous act to step into the queer joy of it all.”
Since then, Smith has landed their very first Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 single, “Unholy” featuring Kim Petras, which will be featured on the album along with the previously released “Love Me More.”
Stream Smith’s episode of Michelle Visage’s Rule Breakers on the BBC.