Two years ago, Sam Smith was working as a bartender in London. This weekend, he'll be the musical guest on "Saturday Night Live." You could call it a meteoric rise, though the way the 21-year-old singer describes his career, it's been anything but.
"I had my first manager when I was 12, went through some ups and downs, and a lot of false promises and as making music all through school, so, in a way, I feel like I've been doing this for a long time," he said. "But it all kind of kicked off two years ago, after I'd moved to London and was working in a bar ... I just met the right people."
Those people included songwriter Jimmy Napes, with whom he wrote "Lay Me Down," a song that serves as the debut single off his upcoming album In The Lonely Hour, and, of course, Guy and Howard Lawrence, the duo known as Disclosure, who featured him on their hit "Latch" ... and essentially kicked Smith's career into overdrive.
"Disclosure heard 'Lay Me Down,' and [after that] it was like a domino effect," Smith explained. "We wrote 'Latch' together, and then Naught Boy heard 'Latch' and we wrote 'La La La' together, and then I had a number-one single in the UK about five weeks ago."
Based on the success of "Latch" and "La La La," Smith played a handful of well-received shows here in the states, which lead to his current run of sold-out North American dates. And while his soulful, supple voice has earned him plenty of acclaim, he'll reach critical mass this weekend, when he takes the stage on "SNL."
And he's accomplished all of this without an album: In The Lonely Hour is just out in the UK this week, a fact that isn't lost on him as he prepares for his network TV debut ... though he has no doubts that he'll be ready; after all, he's been working towards this moment his entire life.
"I'm really excited to do it; ['Saturday Night Live'] is something I watch religiously back home," he said. "I'm a little bit scared, because I haven't got my album out at all, so people don't really know who I am, which I think is really quite different for 'SNL.'
"You'd have to ask them about that though," he added with a smile. "I have no idea."