Sam Smith is opening up about their bumpy road to self-acceptance.
Smith, who had previously come out as nonbinary and genderqueer, announced last month that they prefer to be addressed with gender-neutral pronouns: “I’ve decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM… after a lifetime of being at war with my gender I’ve decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out.”
“When I made my first album, I was a nobody and I felt free to be whoever, and express however, I wanted, but that follow-up album was different,” the 27-year-old British singer-songwriter writes in a new personal essay for Attitude. “I didn’t want to disappoint my fans, my record label, or my family. But most importantly myself. I almost put on this weird metaphorical hat each morning and would ask myself, ‘What would Sam Smith do?’”
"My suits started to feel like straitjackets and my head started to feel more and more like a prison."
— Attitude (@AttitudeMag) October 10, 2019
“As each day went on, slowly and surely, my suits started to feel like straitjackets and my head started to feel more and more like a prison,” the four-time Grammy winner adds. “It was time for me to set myself free once again.”
“I stood up and I thought: ‘Fuck this. It is time. I don’t care if I never sell another record. I can’t do this any more. I miss feeling completely free to be myself.’”
“As I became more confident and happy in my skin, the war with this ’character’ I had created was still very much a war,” Smith reveals. “And it still is to this day. But nothing good happens easily.”
Smith was also honored in London this week with Attitude’s 2019 Person of the Year Award while rocking a lacy green frock.
"I thought: 'F**k this. I don't care if I sell another record. I miss feeling completely free to be me'."@samsmith opens up in a personal essay in the Attitude Awards issue.
— Attitude (@AttitudeMag) October 11, 2019
“The last year has been a wild ride of self-realization, and has almost felt like a second coming out,” they told the crowd, crediting community trailblazers and leaders for helping them feel safe enough to express themself and share their truth.
“Thank you everyone for your kindness, and let’s live as loudly and queerly as humanly possible.”
Watch Smith’s full speech below.