Sam Smith: How A Brit Ruled Soul Music (Again) (Pg. 2)

VIBE: You pursued your career when everyone else was just going through puberty. What was that like?

SAM SMITH: I had six managers from age 12 to 18 and there were a lot of false promises letdowns as a kid, which wasn’t great. It made me very strong but I’m also wary—things can disappear quickly.

Was there ever any point where you thought about giving up?

Of course! I moved to London when I was 18. I had let go of my sixth manager and I said: One more year. You’ve got one more year to do this and do well. And with Facebook, I was witnessing all my friends from school having the best time and I felt like I wasn’t living my life.

In The Lonely Hour is filled with love and grief but there’s an air of romance to it. Are you a romantic?

I’m a huge romantic. I’m old school. I don’t like putting everything on the plate immediately and I don’t like when things are easy. I like being wooed and I like wooing people.

Were you ever nervous that coming out would impact your record sales?

Of course! I thought about doing it after the album was released. But that’s not true to me and I wanted people to know where I’m coming from on the record. But my fear was that some stupid people in the world weren’t going to pick up a piece of work that I was very proud of just because of their views. I listen to Beyonce albums, Stevie Wonder albums, John Legend albums. They’re straight people talking about love yet I can still relate to their music and they can still relate to mine.

"I listen to Beyonce albums, Stevie Wonder albums, John Legend albums. They’re straight people talking about love yet I can still relate to their music and they can still relate to mine."

From what you’ve seen while touring here in America, is it easier to be a gay man in the UK?

Truthfully, it’s completely the same, which is surprising to me actually. It doesn’t seem to be an issue. I make music for everyone. Music is limitless, that’s what I like to think. Whether I’m in America or Japan, it’s all love and I hope it continues.

Aside from love being the major focus on the album, there’s also a lot of vulnerability. How comfortable are you with being vulnerable professionally and personally?

There is a power to weakness. At my shows I always say I made a pretty depressing record. But my album isn’t sad. It’s me talking about my issues and getting them out in my music so I don’t have to deal with them in my real life. It’s therapy.

How do you plan on growing and maturing and making mistakes as a man, in the public eye, without becoming Justin Bieber?

All I can do is have a good team around me. But at the same time, I want to make mistakes. I’m 22 years old. If I make mistakes, it just means I’m human.

What’s the best advice you’ve received so far in regards to your career?

It was from Lady Gaga. I was having a bad day and I was thinking, what is my place? Who am I as an artist? What do I stand for? Lady Gaga was on the Ryan Seacrest show and she said ‘I just hope that Sam stays himself and carries on being himself.’ And she’s someone I’ve looked up to my whole life and for her to say that about me was such an incredible moment. That’s all I need to do. Stop worrying and stop trying to look like a supermodel or try and sound like a certain type of artist and just be myself and enjoy it.

CLICK HERE TO READ SAM SMITH'S OPINION ON ADELE AND THE GRAMMYS.

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Bobby Shmurda Returns Home After Serving 6 Years In Prison

After serving 6 years, Bobby Shmurda is finally out. The rapper, born Ackquille Pollard, was granted a conditional release from the New York state prison, Clinton Correctional Facility, on Tuesday morning (Feb. 23) and will serve the remainder of his 7-year sentence on parole. According to reports, Shmurda “will be under community supervision in Kings County until he completes his sentence on February 23, 2026.”

In true celebrity fashion, Shmurda was brought home in a private jet this morning. Earlier this week, Migos' Quavo told Billboard that he would do the honor of picking him up upon Bobby's release. "I'm going to get my guy. I'm personally gonna go pick up Bobby Shmurda. I'm bout to go get him. I'm gonna let him show you how I'm gonna pick him up, yessir. It's gonna be big."

And that he did.

 

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In December 2014, Shmurda was arrested at New York City's Quad Studios and was charged with conspiracy to murder, criminal possession of a weapon, criminally using drug paraphernalia, and reckless endangerment follow a two-year probe by the New York Police Department. In 2016, the former Epic Records signee and his childhood friend Rowdy Rebel accepted a plea deal and were sentenced to 7 years in prison.

“They kind of did it dirty at the end of the day,” Bobby explained in a phone interview with VIBE back in 2016. “They had offered me five (years) but then they said if I take the seven, then I’ll be taking it so that they could give Rowdy seven because they were going to offer him 12. I didn’t want my bro to do 12 years because at the end of the day, we didn’t really do nothing, but they playing dirty. So I’m going to take one for the bro.”

Now that Bobby is out, he'll be spending time with family and friends and getting his head back into creating new music. Watch his FaceTime call with his mother, Leslie, down below.

Welcome back, Bobby.

Bobby Shmurda on facetime with his mom after being released from prison pic.twitter.com/YvdaBzo1Y4

— Bobby Shmurda Updates (@bodboybobby) February 23, 2021

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Fred The Godson attends the Rhymes Over Beats Hip Hop Launch at The Griffin on March 31, 2014 in New York City.
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Fat Joe, Jim Jones and Bronx Community Celebrate Fred The Godson's Street Naming On His Birthday

Today (Feb. 22), the great MC, Fred The Godson, was honored posthumously with a street naming by his Bronx community and hip-hop industry comrades. Among the dozens of those that showed love to the rapper that passed away in April 2020 due to COVID-19 were BX native Fat Joe and Harlem repper Jim Jones. The street's South Bronx location of Leggett avenue and Kelly street will now also be called Fredrick "Fred The Godson" Thomas Way.

While snow fell heavily, the crowd of supporters and the organizers stood strong and watched as the sign was unveiled to cheers of joy. The Fred The Godson Foundation worked hard to make this day happen on what would have been Fred's 36th birthday. "Shortly after Fred’s passing, the Fred The Godson Foundation was created to carry on his legacy for his children and family, and the commitment to his dreams for the Bronx," says the foundation's mission statement. "The mission is to inspire, empower and nourish individuals, children and families in underserved communities, starting with Fred’s birthplace. The foundation will foster community unity through the common pursuit of wellness, prosperity, and opportunity."

 

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Known for having one of the most celebrated flows that included a barrage of double entendres and metaphors that were rarely matched, Fred was a respected MC with enormous skills that were able to get him featured on the famed 2011 XXL 'Freshman' class magazine cover along with Meek Mill, Mac Miller (RIP) and Kendrick Lamar. Jim Jones had some heartfelt words for the one named 'Gordo' at the ceremony, "Fred inspired me to do this music, a lot all over again. There was a time I really didn't want to do no music...and Fred would say, 'Nah, you gotta get in that booth Capo.'"

 

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The Thomas family announced thank you's and love to Councilmember Rafael Salamanca Jr. of District 17 in the South Bronx, Bronx Borough President Ruban Diaz, NYPD's 41st Precinct, and the Bronx community for helping make the Frederick “Fred the Godson” Thomas Way street co-naming possible.

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Much respect to the legacy of the husband and father, Fred The Godson.

 

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Jay-Z attends 2020 Roc Nation THE BRUNCH on January 25, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
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Jay-Z Sells Half Stake Of 'Ace Of Spades' To Moët Hennessy In New Partnership

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“I’m proud to welcome the Arnault family into ours through this partnership that began with Alexandre Arnault and continued with his father Bernard Arnault and Philippe Schaus, at my home in Los Angeles," said Carter in a press release. "It is a partnership that has felt familiar the entire time. We are confident that the sheer power of the Moët Hennessy global distribution framework, its unparalleled portfolio strength and its long-established track record of excellence in developing luxury brands will give Armand de Brignac the commercial power it needs to grow and flourish even further.”

Moët Hennessy's president and CEO, Philippe Schaus shared how his company has been a long-admirer of Armand de Brignac's success in the champagne and wine categories.

“Often referred to as 'Ace of Spades,' Armand de Brignac breaks barriers and reflects contemporary luxury, while preserving the traditions of the Champagne terroirs. Today, we are incredibly proud to be partnering with them and believe that the combination of our Champagne experience and international network coupled with Shawn 'JAY-Z' Carter’s vision, the strength of the Armand de Brignac brand and quality of its range of prestige cuvées will allow us to take the business to new heights across the world.”

Watch Jay-Z's sitdown interview with CNBC's Squawk Box (which aired shortly after the published announcement) where he talks about how the deal came to fruition and his growth since entering the wine and spirits space after boycotting the champagne line, Cristal back in 2006.

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