Grammy-winning sensation Sam Smith: Know 5 things about the British soul singer

Sam Smith posing with his awards for Best New Artist, Best Pop/Vocal Album for In The Lonely Hour and Song of the Year and Record of the Year for Stay With Me in the press room at the 57th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California on Feb 8, 201
Sam Smith posing with his awards for Best New Artist, Best Pop/Vocal Album for In The Lonely Hour and Song of the Year and Record of the Year for Stay With Me in the press room at the 57th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California on Feb 8, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

Powerhouse British crooner Adele did it in 2012 when she swept six awards, and now her compatriot has had a similar impact at the Grammys - clinching four gongs (for Best New Artist, Song Of The Year, Record Of The Year and Best Pop Vocal Album) on Monday morning (Singapore time).

Nine months ago, this 22-year-old newcomer had only just released his debut album In The Lonely Hour.

Here's five things to know about Samuel Frederick Smith, better known as Sam Smith, who went on to become the only solo artist to sell more than a million albums in both the UK and US in 2014.

1. Humble beginnings

British media reports say that Smith's first job in 2012 was at a London bar, where he cleaned toilets.

Despite his newfound fame, he has remained down to earth, disclosing in magazine FADER: "I want to see the world. I want to be rich in all the foods I've tasted and all the places I've been and all the people I've kissed. I want to be rich in every single way."

According to RollingStone, he is also planning to go back to school at the end of next year.

2. Inspired by failed romances with men

Just before the release of his debut album In The Lonely Hour in May, Smith confessed in an interview that he was gay, and that most of his songs were inspired by his failed romances with men.

Thus far, he has been pretty open about his sexuality, revealing in an interview with US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres that his decision was fuelled by a desire to "maintain the integrity of his music".

He had never been in a relationship until last December, when he started dating model Jonathan Zeizel. The pair broke up a month later.

In The Lonely Hour is about a guy whom he fell in love with in 2013, although the guy "didn't love me back". Taking a leaf out of Adele's book, Smith thanked him in his speech after receiving his Record Of The Year accolade.

3. Obsessive compulsive

Smith, who has over 1.8 million followers on his Twitter account @samsmithworld, frequently talks about his obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) on the social media platform.

He checks the taps before he leaves the house because he's afraid it'll flood the place, and he has also admitted that being famous has only made his condition worse.

4. Has celebrity blood

Smith is the third cousin to Alfie Allen, an English actor best known for playing the character Theon Greyjoy in the wildly popular HBO series Game Of Thrones.

Alfie's older sister is famous singer and actress Lily Allen.

5. Feminist who loves female singers

Having grown up in a family where his father was a house husband and mother a power banker who earned millions, Smith has said that this turned him into a "complete feminist".

He is also a huge fan of singers like Whitney Houston and Beyonce, claiming that "female voices truly make me feel".

Besides singing a duet with R&B legend Mary J Blige, Smith also performed with Taylor Swift in London during her Red Tour last year.

mklee@sph.com.sg

Sources: BBC, DailyMail, Fader, Elite Daily, People.com, RollingStone.com, Buzzfeed