Sam Smith has come out as gay and has spoken about his sexuality for the first time in a a cover story interview for ‘The Fader.’ The British soul singer speaks about his album, ‘In the Lonely Hour,’ and about the man who inspired it.

Sam Smith

Photo: Sam Smith

The 22-year-old music artist is achieving fame in the UK and worldwide, and has been recently seen numerous times on television in the U.S. His emotionally powerful ballad ‘Stay with Me’ has become an international hit single. On the eve of the release of his major-label debut album, Sam Smith has opened up about his sexuality and about the inspiration behind his album, ‘In the Lonely Hour.’

Right before the interview, he had premiered his music video for ‘Leave Your Lover,’ in which he is cast as a man who pines for another man.

He spoke at great length in an interview with The Fader. He said of the album, and its inspiration, “I’ve never been in a relationship before. I’ve only been in unrequited relationships where people haven’t loved me back. I guess I’m a little bit attracted to that in a bad way. ‘In the Lonely Hour’ is about a guy that I fell in love with last year, and he didn’t love me back. I think I’m over it now, but I was in a very dark place. I kept feeling lonely in the fact that I hadn’t felt love before. I’ve felt the bad things. And what’s a more powerful emotion: pain or happiness?”

He went on to say that the man knows he is the album’s inspiration. He said, “I told him about it recently, and obviously it was never going to go the way I wanted it to go, because he doesn’t love me. But it was good as a form of closure, to get it off my chest and tell him. I feel better for it.”

He added, “It feels good to have interviews like this, to chat about it and put stuff to bed. It’s all there now, and I can move on and hopefully find a guy who can love me the way I love him.”

As for his sexual identity, he said, “I’ve been treated as normal as anyone in my life; I’ve had no issues. I do know that some people have issues in life, but I haven’t, and it’s as normal as my right arm. I want to make it a normality because this is a non-issue. People wouldn’t ask a straight person these questions. I’ve tried to be clever with this album, because it’s also important to me that my music reaches everybody. I’ve made my music so that it could be about anything and everybody— whether it’s a guy, a female or a goat—and everybody can relate to that. I’m not in this industry to talk about my personal life unless it’s in a musical form.”

Sam Smith also addressed the curiosity about his sexuality, saying, “I’ve lived on this Earth, all I’ve seen are boxes. People put things in boxes; it makes it easier to digest information. People say I’m the new Adele. Why is [gender] a talking point? I’m singing, I’m making music, I’m performing my music—that’s what should be the talking point. If I come on record and start speaking about it in an interview, then mark my words, that’s your time to chip in; I’ve given you the passcode to my business and to my personal life. But I am an artist, and in inter- views, speaking like this, it’s not my idea of art; it’s just my idea of exchange, talking human to human. It shouldn’t be an issue, but it will be an issue. It’s always an issue.”

You can see the full interview and the photo spread at The Fader.

The curiosity about his personal life in general and his sexuality in particular won’t abate, but Sam Smith has made it clear that he is comfortable with her he is and he has come out on his own terms. As with any unnamed muse, speculation over the identify of the man he speaks of will increase, of course, and for some the mad search for a name will begin.

Regardless of such celebrity-watching, Sam Smith as an artist is on the rise. His coming out, as is the case these days, has the potential to inspire and to reassure others who may struggle with sexual identity as society lurches towards the acceptance that should be a given.

Sam Smith’s powerful music video, ‘Leave Your Lover,’ is below.