Back when Sam Smith released their debut album, “In the Lonely Hour,” I was on the verge of falling in love for the first time in, well, a considerably long time.
I just didn’t know it yet.
I was also on the verge of having my heart shattered—but I didn’t know that yet either.
All I knew was this album, and the voice behind it, gave life to all the feelings I’d been trying to understand for years: loneliness, longing, hope, and the desire to be loved.
And all the feelings I’d soon be faced with: rejection, loss, desperation, and the desire to avoid heartbreak again at all costs.
Looking back, I realize it wasn’t a coincidence that it was at the midpoint between falling in love and losing that love that I was able to see Sam Smith in concert for the first and only time.
I can still remember the clarity and soul in their voice. The joy that every single person in that arena felt when they stepped on stage and began to sing. The collective breaking of hearts in the way that only a perfect song, sung with honesty, can elicit.
There’s just something about Sam Smith’s voice. It feels like peace and grief and understanding in every note, which is why I spent the last 20 minutes before I got into bed last night watching their Tiny Desk concert.
Honestly, it was the best thing I did yesterday.
Smith is joined by an 11-person choir (who should release their own album, if they haven’t already), a pianist, and a guitar player to perform four songs from their 11-year career.
The concert as a whole is a back and forth experience of melancholy and joy, but the standout to me is when they perform “Lay Me Down” (one of my all-time favorite Smith songs) as a moving duet with vocalist LaDonna Harley-Peters. Fast-forward to 10:28 to be blown away.
And the last four minutes when they perform “Unholy”? You won’t be able to stop singing along.
If you’re looking for a powerful way to start (or end) your day, watch this from beginning to end—it will break every inch of your heart open: