Sam Smith to sing new James Bond theme song

British singer Sam Smith had vocal cord surgery this year and said he found the song difficult to sing.
British singer Sam Smith had vocal cord surgery this year and said he found the song difficult to sing. PHOTO: SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT

LONDON • After months of speculation, Sam Smith confirmed on Tuesday that he would sing the theme song for the next James Bond movie, Spectre, the first time in 50 years a British male solo artist is getting the gig.

The business of choosing the next theme song is hotly debated among fans. Bookies in Britain suspended betting this summer after someone tried to place a £15,000 (S$32,600) wageron Radiohead.

Another favourite was Ellie Goulding.

For the winning artist, the scrutiny is high and the awards can be prestigious.

The last Bond theme song, Adele’s haunting title track for 2012’s Skyfall, which evoked Shirley Bassey’s sultry theme songs, Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever, won the singer an Oscar for best original song.

Grammy winner Smith co-wrote the track, Writing’s On The Wall, with fellow Grammy winner Jimmy Napes, with whom he collaborated on his best-selling 2014 debut album In The Lonely Hour.

He said he recorded the track late last year and found it difficult to keep the project a secret.

The 23-year-old said: “It was harder than normal because everyone kind of guessed at the beginning and said it was going to be me and I had to just be really good at lying.”

Recording the track is “at the top for me... I never expected this to happen”, headded.

The last solo British male to sing a Bond theme song was Tom Jones with Thunderball in 1965.

Directed by Oscar winner Sam Mendes, Spectre is the latest and probably last of Daniel Craig’s appearances as the suave special agent. The film, out this autumn, also stars Monica Bellucci and Oscar winner Christoph Waltz.

Smith declined to say much about the song because it would give away the plot.

The singer, who had vocal cord surgery this year, described how challenging it was to perform. It “probably had something to do with” his vocal cord problems, he said.

“The song is the highest song ever. It’s so difficult for me to sing.”

Writing’s On The Wall is out on Sept 25.

“Now, hopefully me and Shirley can have a coffee,” Smith said, referring to Bassey.

REUTERS, NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2015, with the headline ''. Print Edition | Subscribe