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The 28-year-old "To Die For" singer opened up to Apple Music's Zane Lowe about their journey to self-acceptance and fully actualizing the feelings they felt since childhood. Smith said they first came out to their family as gay at age 10, but later came out as non-binary in March 2019.
By September of that year, the artist publicly announced their preferred pronouns to be "they/them."
"Look, I've always been non-binary. I've always felt the way I felt. When I changed my pronouns, things got complicated for sure," recalled Smith. "I felt a need to be presenting — all the time. It took time; it took real time."
Smith, whose latest album Love Goes drops Friday, explained that they've had to adopt a patient mentality when encountering people who mistakenly call them by "he/him" pronouns.
"I've had to just go into myself and try and deal with it in a real kind way and patience, and just know that everyone's working on this. It's going to take time," Smith said. "We're changing a language here."
Regardless of how others are catching up, however, Smith said that they feel a newfound freedom in fully actualizing their gender expression every day.
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"It sounds cliché to say it, but I feel so free. I feel so unafraid of failure, unafraid of my imperfections," they said. "... I don't feel a lot of fear at the moment, because I just feel like I could do everything wrong and it would still be okay because I've got my own back. I really have my own back, and that's a lovely feeling to feel."
Smith also opened up to Lowe about wanting to start a family in the near future, declaring that age 35 is the cutoff for when they see themselves becoming a parent. (They previously said they wanted kids by 30.)
"I want kids. I want all of it. I want to have kids. I want to be with the kids and I want to watch them grow and be with them every day. I want to be mummy," said the artist. "I'm definitely going to do that at some point, but I've still got more in me. I've still got ambition. I try and settle it down all the time and play it down, but I'm ambitious and I would still want to sing to people and do this job. It's an amazing feeling."
Jeff Spicer/Getty Sam Smith
Until they meet that 35 deadline, Smith said they'll be on the market for a significant other.
"I'm going to work my ass off until then [and] hopefully find a boyfriend — but they're absolutely nowhere to be found anywhere in London," they said. "I've been searching all over the place. Honestly, I've been on the frontline now for a good three years and it's exhausting."
"This album marks a time of experimentation and self-discovery in my life," they added. "I wrote this from the age of 26-28 and it’s been one hell of a ride. I hope the people who listen to it enjoy it and love it like I have and do."