Sam Smith: How A Brit Ruled Soul Music (Again) (Pg. 3)

Image is so important in the music industry. Do you ever feel pressured to fit a certain physical standard?

I think if we’re going to talk about the percentage of people who are ripped, and skinny and beautiful-looking, we’re not all like that. I will take a page out of Adele’s book. She said ‘I make music for the ears not the eyes.’ I will say that too. I make my music for people to listen to—for people to hear my voice and hear what I’m saying. I’m not bothered about what I’m wearing or my weight.

It’s funny you mention Adele because you’re being called the male Adele. And there are also comparisons made between you and Ed Sheeran. Is it frustrating to be compared to your fellow British singers?

Ed is at a completely different stage in his career and so is Adele. The similarities between me and Adele, I think they’re quite lazy, actually. What I do take from it is that it must be about songwriting, the fact that we don’t twerk on stage and we stand and actually sing.

“The similarities between me and Adele, I think they’re quite lazy, actually. What I do take from it is that it must be about songwriting, the fact that we don’t twerk on stage and we stand and actually sing.”

How do you feel about the fact that singing does often mean singing and shaking your assets.

I find that quite sad. The music industry has gotten to a place where there aren’t many artists who stand and sing and play, which is what they’re supposed to be doing.

You’ve worked with Mary J. Blige. What was that like?

Unbelievable. I find it hard to be myself sometimes on a record. Working with Mary was one of the first times I was just myself. Mary J. Blige shows who she is, flaws and all, and that is so inspiring. I call Mary a friend and I call her up and I’ll text her and she’ll text me just to see how I’m doing and to have support from someone like that is truly unbelievable. I am so privileged to be part of her record.

On the album, you sing about multilayered aspects of love but the lyrics are very simply written. Was that intentional?

Yes! What I wanted to do with the record is prove to people that I have been in love before even though I haven’t been in a proper relationship. In order to do that I had to write about it in its simplest form so people understand. Lines like “Leave your lover/leave him for me.” That lyric by itself is so powerful to me. I’m on my knees begging someone to leave their partner for me and if that’s not true love, then I don’t know what is.

Your music is not disposable or trendy. How do you think you resonate with the Snapchat generation?

I think it’s going well. We have a long way to go though. This interview we’re doing right now? It will be great and it will last for probably a year or two years. But when we write, we pour our hearts into our music and tell our personal lives in music, that’s that’s timeless and will last forever. I hope one day we’ll stop picking up OK! Magazine to find out more about the famous people we admire. Instead of picking up those magazines, we’ll listen to the record.

Is there any topic that won’t make its way into a song?

Umm, no. I talk about anything. [Laughs] I really am limitless when I write music. Whether or not you hear it is a whole different story. I’m not restricted. I go into the studio and I say what I want to say and if maybe it was a little bit too honest then my team will probably say 'We want to protect you Sam, let’s not put that out.' That definitely wasn’t the case with In The Lonely Hour—for that record, the more honest, the better.

You’ll earn several Grammy nomination. Do you care what musical category the academy will place you in?

Not at all. [Laughs] I don’t even want to think about it too much because I don’t want to jinx anything but if that did happen that would be unbelievable. Being nominated for anything is truly incredible.

In VIBE’s 21-year history, there have been very few white artists on the cover. When white artists who belong on the cover are showcased, there’s always a small population of VIBE readers who feel like, 'why is there a white person on the cover when there are so many African-American acts that are out there?' So the tough question becomes: Do you think you’d be as successful if you were a black man?

I’d like to think I would be. I would just really hope that would not be an issue. I think I would. I don’t think it’s about the color of my skin but what I’m saying in my songs.

If it all came to an end tomorrow, how would you feel?

I would sit back and say well done. You truly touched people and that’s all you needed to do. Even if you touched them once, with one album, that’s enough. Better than not doing it at all.

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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

— 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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