In the space of a decade and some, Sam Smith has accumulated nearly every accolade the music industry can impart. It’s a dizzying – and growing – collection, which includes a fifth Grammy Award secured on Sunday (Feb. 5) in Los Angeles, scooping best pop duo/group performance for “Unholy,” featuring Kim Petras.
And, of course, No. 1s around the globe, most recently with Gloria, their latest album, which sits atop the charts in the U.K. and U.S., and its hit single “Unholy.”
Smith also scored a James Bond theme, an honour that has its own lane. Membership can’t be bought.
“I was 23, it was crazy. It was a wild experience, I never thought I’d achieve something like that at the beginning of my career. It’s incredible,” Smith told Rolling Stone Australia during a recent mid-winter getaway to Adelaide.
With “Writing’s on the Wall,” which soundtracked the 2015 film Spectre, Smith bagged a U.K. No. 1, an Oscar and a Golden Globe, and joined the ranks of the music community’s elite, Madonna, Adele, Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney and Duran Duran among them.
“It keeps giving, that whole experience. It’s amazing,” recounts Smith of a young go-getter who had a “weird blind faith. I thought, ‘I’m going to do it.’”
As film buffs argue who should crack the nod to replace Daniel Craig in the long-running British spy franchise, the question of who should helm the next Bond theme can’t be far behind.
Smith makes a good argument for their collaborator on “Who We Love,” Ed Sheeran, a man who ticks the right boxes.
“He should. He would smash one,” says Smith of Sheeran cutting a Bond theme. “I think I remember reading he said he didn’t want to or think he’d be chosen or whatever, but he’s amazing. He’d be brilliant at it.”
The Bond experience helped catapult Smith into the big leagues, and keep them there. Smith has three No. 1 albums in the U.K. (2020’s Love Goes missed out, hitting No. 2), a second leader in Australia, and a fourth top 10 in the U.S., including a No. 1 for 2017’s The Thrill Of It All.
Smith’s recollections of securing the Spectre theme is like a guidebook on getting things done. “I knew the film was coming out, and I always wanted to do it. I messaged my team, we put the feelers out first, to check is this is something they wanted us to possibly pitch for.”
Bond producer Barbara Broccoli responded with the affirmative. The pair met, Smith got the script, read it, pitched a song, and Broccoli chose it. “It was wild. I saw her recently for an anniversary of Bond. And it was so beautiful. It’s a beautiful family of people. I’m really honored to be a part of it, and I still love my song, even though it’s a bitch to sing. It’s really intense.”
Those high notes, which Smith alluded to, are so bitchy the British pop singer has been quoted in the past as saying a ball-grab was required to complete the job. “Now we can just transpose it,” Smith says with a laugh.
The British pop star returns to Australia this October and November for a string of arena dates in support of Gloria. Frontier Touring is producing the trek, which is scheduled to kick off Oct. 28 at Adelaide Entertainment Centre. Sheeran is currently on a tran-Tasman stadium tour, also promoted by Frontier Touring.