Singer-songwriter Sam Smith, whose second studio album The Thrill of It All arrives on November 3, broke some news about his gender identity in an interview with The Sunday Times.
Smith said he doesn’t feel like a cis man, adding that he feels as much woman as he does man.
“I remember, at the beginning of my career, being called a ‘gay singer’, and I didn’t want that. I wanted to be seen as a singer first, before people spoke about my private life. And now it’s changed — I’ve changed. I realise that maybe I don’t mind that title.”
Smith’s critics have always perceived him as rather controlled and managed — straight, in his own Smith-ish way. Yet there is much more to him than his earnest on-stage persona. “I love a heel,” he announces sneakily. “I’ve got loads of heels at home.” There is a drag shop in Sydney that he loves, called House of Priscilla, and when he goes there, he raids it. “Oh my God, I just buy everything — heels, dresses. We have a great time.”
This is not new. “People don’t know this, but when I was 17, I remember becoming obsessed with Boy George and Marilyn, and all that. There was one moment in my life where I didn’t own a piece of male clothing, really. I would wear full make-up every day in school, eyelashes, leggings with Dr Martens and huge fur coats, for 2 ½ years.” Does he feel like a “cis” man? “No,” he scoffs. “I mean, I’ve got these tattoos on my fingers” — he flashes two delicately etched Venus symbols, one on each hand. “I don’t know what the title would be, but I feel just as much woman as I am man.”