For his current Rolling Stone cover story, Sam Smith gave hours of interviews, both on his home turf in London and in Atlanta as he prepared to launch his first arena tour, giving us so much material that we couldn’t possibly print it all. Smith, 22, who is nominated for six Grammys this weekend, opened up about everything from his cross earrings to listening to Lana Del Rey in the bath. Here are 22 highlights:
1. He wasn’t afraid to speak up for equality at his Catholic school.
“From what I can remember, they believe that you can be homosexual, but you just can’t practice it, which is ridiculous,” he says. “I would just say, ‘I am proof that it’s genetic. It has to be, because it wasn’t a choice.’ And that’s it. That’s my only argument, you know? You love who you love, and I can’t help that I like guys.”
2. He’s not sure he ever wants to get married.
“My views on marriage actually don’t come from what’s going on in the gay community. They actually come from my mom and dad splitting up,” Smith admits. “I’m a bit unsure as to whether I want to [get married]. I don’t understand why you have to wear a wedding ring to warn people off. You should be able to be faithful to that person without anything on your body to show that you are with someone. You know what I mean? [But] I’m a 22-year-old boy, I have no idea what I want yet. In terms of marriage, I change my mind every week. I’ve changed my mind every week on what my type is. I change it all the time. But it depends on the person I’ve met. If I fall in love with someone who really wants to get married, then I think I’d do that for them.”
3. He’s planning to go back to school.
“I want to go back to school for two months towards the end of next year, because I did film for [my] A-level [secondary school], and I just want to learn more about film and directing so that I can start directing my own shit. I think I’m going to go to New York.” Smith says he’ll go to NYU “if they’ll have me” or otherwise “do a crash course with a director. It’d be interesting. I’m just very intrigued by that world.”
4. He hasn’t forgotten his days as a barback.
“Working in a bar for three years, I will always be so respectful of the people working behind the bar. People treat you like shit,” he says. “Especially in the financial [district]. Rich men would just treat Tiffany [Smith’s best friend, with whom he’s lived for four years] like a piece of meat. And well, me, they just had no time.”
5. He thought fame would make him less lonely.
“Me and Gaga were talking about this, actually: I always thought I was going to fit into this world. Growing up, being the only gay guy in my school and in this small village, my mom used to always say to me, ‘You’re going to find your people, Sam. You’ll find your group of people.’ And I thought if I would become really well known, then I’d find my group of people. But they’re not my group of people. There’s amazing people, but still, I’m still in search of my people.