10 New Artists You Need to Know: April 2014Meet the rising stars of rock, hip-hop, EDM, country and more acts shaping your tomorrow
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Sounds Like: A house music crooner's wee small hours
For Fans Of: Disclosure, Adele, Jessie Ware
Why You Should Pay Attention: London singer Sam Smith, age 21, broke out last year with his vocal turn on "Latch" by house music duo Disclosure, and followed that by singing on Naughty Boy's "La La La," a number-one hit in the U.K. that's also charted in the States. But his actual vocal background is in classic pop and jazz, influences that come out on his debut In the Lonely Hour, which is full of somber, lovelorn pop that bridges U.K. dance music, soul, gospel, country and Sinatra-era crooner pop.
He Says: "I'd never listened to dance music before I met Disclosure. People would say "house music" and I didn't know what they were talking about. I come from listening to jazz music, and soul and pop, which are all about the lyrics and performance as much as the production… "[In the Lonely Hour] is basically about my loneliness and my feelings never experiencing what we call 'real love' ever in my life. It's for people who've loved people who don't love them back."
Hear for Yourself: The album-opening R&B-house of "Money On My Mind," where Smith's searing high-register torches an elegant beat from producers Two Inch Punch. By Jon Dolan