A blog by: Thomas Williamson Domol
“Yes it’s true I’m not good at a one night stand, but I still need love ’cause I’m just a man.”- Sam Smith , “Stay With Me”
Here in the states, the concept of the “British Invasion” is nothing new. It started of course in the 1960’s with legendary bands like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Who. And it’s never by mistake, these bands made it to super stardom for a reason. Marked by songs that had staying power, and, in some cases, were the absolute definition of “sex, drugs, and rock and roll”. For some, this is quite the desirable vice. Since those days, we have entered into an era of virtuoso solo performing artists, with an emphasis on powerful vocals and range. To illustrate my point, look no further than the likes of Adele, Ed Sheeran, and the man I’m about to tell you about, Sam Smith.
Never before has an artist with such a generic name possessed a talent of this magnitude. He has enjoyed basically an overnight rise to success set into motion by his stunning feature on Disclosure’s “Latch” in 2013. Since then, he has made the rounds on the late night talk show circuit, with appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Saturday Night Live. Spoiler alert: Despite being admittedly nervous beforehand, he killed it on SNL for the NYC crowd. His latest single “Stay With Me”, is off of his debut album “In The Lonely Hour”, which releases later next month, and if this song is any indication, you may want to go out and purchase his album when you get the chance.
For me, solo artists who can incorporate strong vocals accompanied by a piano instrumental, is a cut above any open mic nighter with a guitar in his hands. Piano just adds an element of reality that few other instruments can. It has a catchy hook backed by a choir, I’m not sure where the choir hails from, or if it changes dynamically from set to set, I’m guessing it does not. On this track, Smith captures what it is like to long for someone, to pine for someone, and wish on a star that the night never ends. Everyone has been there, and Smith has been there more than once, because you can truly feel the raw, visceral emotion pouring out of every word. Don’t believe me? See for yourself… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2n8k_bdOe94
Before I get to the parts I was not too pleased with, I will note that even though I enjoy a song with ample production value, like something done by Ellie Goulding for instance, it’s nice to see when a vocalist can take the less is more approach, and really thrive. One thing I have to note which really is not in anyway an indictment on the song is that Sam Smith desperately needs to work on his stage presence. I know that he is brand new to this industry, and is still finding his way through the slings of success, but I’m afraid he does not yet realize how talented he is. He has been referred to as the male Adele, which as most people can attest, is high praise. His prowess is undeniable, and it shows on this song, but he needs to embrace it on stage. I might add that I hope that the clock runs out on “The Lonely Hour”, and that he finds that special someone, so we can see a brighter side of Sam in the future.
You will like this song. It’s perfect for belting on your drive to work, or for playing a split second after the person you wanted to stay, walks out the door. We’re talkin’ about real emotion, and if you want to get in touch with yours, give “Stay With Me” a listen.
Until next time… Let’s see where this British invasion takes us, and if you’re from the UK, thank you.